HAZMAT program streamlines, improves operations

The 412th Civil Engineer Group Environmental Branch Hazardous Materials Improve Team are: (left to right) Shawn Hyde, D. Malama Chock, Jeanette Van Norden, Jennifer Weber and Larry Echaves. The team has been responsible for improving HAZMAT processes that saved the U.S. Air Force time and money.

The 412th Civil Engineer Group Environmental Management Branch Hazardous Materials Improvement Team is working to improve management processes to provide better and quicker support to Edwards Air Force Base, Calif.

“The HAZMAT Program has been working hard to reduce the amount and overall potential hazards of HAZMAT used on Edwards through coordinating with the base HAZMARTs and shops at the cradle of their HAZMAT procurement,” said Jeanette Van Norden, 412th CEV HAZMAT Improvement Team member. “The HAZMARTs are the location that the majority of the shops on the base obtain their HAZMAT. The HAZMAT Program Manager and the Environmental Compliance Team provide the HAZMARTs with training to ensure they are given the proper tools for managing the HAZMAT that comes through their areas.” 

The Edwards AFB HAZMAT Program is tasked with tracking all HAZMAT to ensure environment protection measures are followed and to ensure personnel health and safety. The HAZMAT Improvement Team has worked to reduce time managing certain materials, namely which HAZMAT is exempted from tracking and reporting. These exempted HAZMAT are those materials used by a typical consumer.

“Recently the HAZMAT program has provided guidance on what HAZMAT is exempted from tracking and reporting based on the caveat that it is used as a typical consumer would use the product both in frequency, quantities and duration,” Van Norden said. “This exemption guidance has reduced the time spent managing these materials.”

By exempting certain items, the team members said it will help reduce the volume of authorization requests and will expedite the material review and authorization process. These items were listed in the Consumer Product Exemption Letter distributed this past April.

The team also worked on developing training guides to address excess materials and minimum order requirements. Correcting minimum order requirements will help reduce overall wasted excess materials. The team identified more than 4,600 items for HAZMAT Excess Reutilization. The items had an associated cost of more than $150,000, while only 167 of the items were non-expired. The team then coordinated with other HAZMAT teams on base to redistribute the excess materials to reduce new purchases and waste.

“Through continued guidance and training efforts with the help of the HAZMARTs, Edwards will be responsible for decreasing the overall amounts of HAZMAT used and increasing the use of green products to perform the same processes,” Van Norden said.

Van Norden added the ultimate goal of the team is to ensure Edwards stays compliant with current HAZMAT standards as well as to eventually reduce hazardous waste.

“The Edwards Air Force Base Environmental Management Hazardous Material Program is responsible for ensuring all HAZMAT on Edwards is tracked to protect the environment, to ensure personnel health and safety and for environmental compliance reporting requirements,” Van Norden said. “Reduction in HAZMAT will directly equate to the reduction of hazardous waste produced at Edwards and will lead to a cleaner environment for all.”

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