Consequences of Incorrectly Managing Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste that is mismanaged not only poses a serious threat to the environment and human health but to the integrity of your company. Maintaining a hazardous waste management program can be a challenging process that includes many strict timelines and safety requirements, ultimately with significant consequences if not carried out properly. Today, we’ll review some of the inevitable consequences of improperly managing hazardous waste streams.

Employee Illness, Injury, or Fatality

There are so many potential risks caused by the mishandling of hazardous waste that can cause injury, illness, or even death to employees that are exposed. Spills, fires, explosions, exposure to toxic chemicals, and caustic reactions are all very possible risks that can occur.

Make sure employees are trained specifically to handle hazardous waste and ensure they have the information needed to help reduce the likelihood of an accident. While it may seem easy to forego a step or two, do not take any shortcuts when storing and handling hazardous waste materials. Accidents are possible with even the most well-trained staff, so be proactive about necessary precautions to try and prevent this as much as possible.

Environmental Exposure

Organizations that don’t manage their waste properly can very quickly become a threat to their local communities, harming animals, humans, and the environment. Even with regulations in place, mismanagement of hazardous waste and non-environmentally friendly practices can ultimately lead to pollution, leachate, and contamination. This is obviously terrible for the environment, but it’s also bad for your company’s reputation. Make sure employees are well-trained about the proper disposal of hazardous materials and follow the regulations accordingly to avoid environmental exposure.

Failed Inspections

Inspection Checklist for Managing Hazardous WasteA company that mismanages hazardous waste materials is breaking compliance, which will ultimately lead to failed inspections by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and other government organizations.

Failed inspections are extremely disruptive to workflow, costly due to legal fees and fines, and can negatively impact a company’s hard-earned reputation in one fell swoop. If there are repeated incidents of failed hazardous waste inspections, they can ultimately cause shutdowns and even imprisonment in more severe cases.

Unnecessary Expenses

Managing hazardous waste incorrectly can be expensive. Very expensive.

If you violate disposal or handling regulations, you can expect to receive large civil penalties, the amount of which depends on the state your company operates in – often they will run upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

If employees or community members are injured due to mismanaged waste, insurance premiums will go up, not to mention the devastating blow of legal expenses coupled with managing reputation damage, which can run in the millions of dollars.

The bottom line: find solutions before processes turn into problems and save your company a lot of resources, money, and stress.

Company Disorganization

Consider the downward spiral that hazardous waste mismanagement can cause for a company: if no one is handling waste properly (or at all), issues will go unresolved and continue to build up until it becomes a true problem. At this point, paperwork and tracking become overwhelming and it’s turned into a reactive situation as opposed to proactive planning.

There should be employees directly involved in your company’s hazardous waste management program who are trained to coordinate, transport, and dispose of waste. By assigning specific individuals to each part of the procedure, you are helping ensure that nothing involving protocol slips through the cracks.

Contact Our Waste Management Experts

It’s imperative that companies understand their obligations when it comes to managing hazardous waste and implementing proper disposal procedures. Don’t let hazardous waste go mismanaged – reach out to our team at MLI Environmental today to let the experts help you.