Site characterization is the development of processes that can change site conditions (in mines, tunnels, structures etc) and make them more productive. This includes its hydrologic and engineering properties and an examination of its temporal and spatial properties.
Also known as site assessment and investigation, this process is also used to eliminate failures which can be prevented with an understanding of site conditions. In addition, it is also use to reduce contamination that can harm workers and prevent vandalism that can hurt business. It is also quite useful in emergency situations when it comes to reducing dangerous levels of biological hazards.
The procedures that are set in place include:
- Compilation of a site map
- Prepping the site for required activities
- Designating and establishing work zones
- Creating a buddy system and maintaining it
- Creating and enforcing decontamination methods for employees and equipment
- Creating and maintaining security measures
- Setting up communication networks
- Enforcing safe work practices on and off site.
The geospatial methods that are involved in this procedure are designed to improve how the efficiency of a site. It does this by:
- Determining areas where contaminations will be concentrated
- Providing an estimate of the contamination extent and uncertain areas,
- Preventing duplicate information by encouraging sample spacing
- Providing a complete picture of contaminated areas along with their impact on a site.
- Refining background information via spatial variability
- Protocols involved in site characterization and monitoring
An effective and budget friendly site characterization program should have clear-cut objectives. This includes sampling methods, logistics and data management that can support findings. In addition, the procedure should also be designed to increase the amount of valuable data without compromising time and financial issues.
If time and money are not taken into account during a site characterization, chances of it failing are high. Here are some queries that should be answered beforehand to prevent this:
- How long does the procedure and system need to be maintained?
- What are the different variables involved in the procedure?
- How long will monitoring take?
- How is the data going to be managed and stored?
- How should the collected data be examined and interpreted?
- What can happen if the system is not monitored regularly?
The answers to these questions can help site supervisors maintain site integrity and prevent contaminations. In case of accidental spread of hazardous materials, all workers should be evacuated from the affected area and all operations should be shut down.
This can be made easier if work sites are controlled with the establishment of zones. This way all employees will be protected from potential hazards in case of emergencies and contaminants can also be contained to specific areas.
To mitigate risk all waste sites that are hazardous to the environment and to the general populace should be divided into several zones. This will fulfill operational and safety concerns. The areas should be divided into:
- CRZ or the Contamination Reduction Zone
- The contaminated area or the space where the contamination takes place
- The support zone or areas where workers should not be exposed to hazardous conditions.
HAZWOPER 8-Hour Annual Refresher Plus GHS Hazardous Communication
As a worker on a hazardous waste site you have the right to a safe workplace. Supervisors have a duty to ensure this and this includes providing them with the necessary personal protective equipment they need to prevent health concerns.
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This also includes construction workers who remove dangerous materials from sites or are exposed to other health hazards on site. The course comprises of 9 hours of instruction and topics pertaining to hazardous waste operations and responses. This includes site characterizations, hazard recognition, PPE, medical requirements of affected workers, decontamination procedures and emergency procedures.
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