Effective waste management is an important factor in protecting your contracting firm against potential citations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). At Cotney Construction Law, our Birmingham construction lawyers recommend that all contracts have a plan of action for dealing with the waste that will inevitably be produced by construction and demolition. Waste can be valuable since many types of waste are recyclable or reusable, but if you are negligent when handling these materials, you could find yourself paying instead of profiting.
In this two-part article, a Birmingham construction lawyer, will take a close look at the prevalence of common materials on the project site. By understanding the value, or lack thereof, of the excess materials on your project site, you can do a better job of managing waste. Remember, whenever your firm is targeted by OSHA or another government agency for issues related to your project site, consult a lawyer.
Local Priorities and Economic Trends as Predictors
According to the Whole Building Design Guide, a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS), “Constituent proportions of materials culled and sorted in the construction and demolition waste stream shows a high degree of correlation with local priorities and economic trends at a given time.”
In other words, the waste being produced during your project is largely indicative of the existing infrastructure and construction in the area. For example, masonry waste is extremely common in communities that were built up in the 19th century while wood waste is common in newer, suburban neighborhoods.
To get an even better understanding of the types of waste being produced by the construction industry, the prevalence of common materials was calculated for a two-year period in which 20,000 tons of construction and demolition waste were analyzed. Ferrous and non-ferrous metal, cardboard and paper, plastic, wood, concrete, gravel and aggregate, window glass, carpeting, disposal as refuse, drywall, and asphalt roofing were all significant contributors to the amount of waste being produced on project sites. We will discuss this in-depth in part two.
Various Waste Classifications
In addition to the materials mentioned above, many leftover materials are also classified as “destined for other facilities” because they potentially have value in secondary markets. These include:
- Land Clearing Debris
- Non-Ferrous Materials (Copper, Brass, Stainless Steel)
- Plumbing Fixtures
The phrase “usually destined for reuse” includes:
And lastly, “nuisance materials” encompass various types of waste that require specific handling protocols for proper disposal or diversion. Some examples of nuisance materials include:
- Sheet Plastic
Remember, it’s important to have an effective waste management plan to avoid a worker accidentally being harmed by waste materials or inappropriately disposing of waste. For assistance with compliance management and worker’s compensation claims, consult a Birmingham Construction attorney.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.