Navigating The Code In A High-Tech Environment – Tools To Enhance Code Compliance.
Frisch, Elizabeth (TNRCC)
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Facility engineers and technicians as well as environmental, industrial health, and safety professionals are required to navigate through a multitude of rules and regulations in order to maintain compliance with city, state, and federal law. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) are the primary regulatory agencies from which the majority of our compliance standards originate. As professionals working in high technology industries, we gain comfort in these areas and operate under comprehensive environmental, health, and safety (EHS) programs. Often though, we can overlook the additional standards development bodies that on a day-to-day level, impact the operations of our facilities as much as, and in some cases more than any OSHA or EPA regulation. Organizations, like the International Conference of Building Officials (ICBO), the Building Officials and Code Administrators (BOCA), the Southern Building Code Congress International (SBCCI), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have created broad-reaching standards that affect every aspect of the construction, operation, maintenance and modification of hi-tech facilities. We commonly refer to the standards as “codes”. Typically, any area of the facility can be covered by the Uniform Building Code (UBC), Uniform Fire Code (UFC), Uniform Mechanical Code (UMC), and the National Electric Code (NEC). Some sites may be subject to different requirements than listed above depending on the area of the country such as the SBCCI, NFPA, and BOCA. Maneuvering through the multitude of codes can be confusing as well as intimidating. Knowing when changes in operation or in the type or quantity of chemicals used, triggers additional code requirements is challenging. This presentation is focused on the requirements affecting hi-tech facilities that use or produce hazardous materials and is designed to give the participant an overall understanding of codes that apply in all phases of design, construction, retrofit, and operation. We will review each of the codes and identify the “hot” sections that will typically be used by facility and EHS professionals. These sections will be discussed in further detail to allow personnel to recognize issues with occupancy classifications, HPM limits on storage and handling, fire suppression, ventilation, and life safety alarm and monitoring requirements. Finally, the presentation will help companies develop strategies for compliance to address new project and renovation requirements and reduce liabilities.