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Region 1: EPA New England

Checklist for Public Works Facilities

Complying with Environmental, Fire, and Health & Safety Regulations

This checklist is designed to help public works facilities achieve and maintain compliance with environmental and other requirements. The requirements listed here are based on federal environmental and health and safety regulations, as well as nationally recognized fire codes. This checklist is provided solely as a preliminary source of information on environmental and other regulations in order to help identify issues which may need further attention. It does not constitute legal advice and should not substitute for review of actual state and federal regulations.

General Walk-Through of the Facility
Vehicle Maintenance Operations

General Walk-Through of the Facility


  • Waste materials abandoned on the property or picked up are identified, stored according to hazard, and disposed of properly.

  • Drums of materials and wastes outside of the building are stored on an impervious surface and have secondary containment (e.g., berms). Roofs are advisable. Drums are empty and clean.

  • Road salt is stored in a shed so that storm water cannot wash it into a water body or contaminate ground water.

  • Leaking vehicles are not stored outdoors.

  • If you fuel vehicles on-site, you may have to equip your pumps with vapor recovery devices (check with your state environmental agency for specific requirements).

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  • Employees have been trained in the use of fire extinguishers.

  • Aisles and emergency exits are clear, and exit signs are posted over doors.

  • Smoking is prohibited near volatile fluids.

  • Electrical receptacles have no open grounds or reverse polarity.

  • Circuits are labeled and the circuit box is closed. Access to the circuit box is clear within 5-10 feet.

  • Electrical outlets have cover plates. No wires are frayed, damaged, or taped off.

  • Wiring is enclosed in Electrical Metallic Tubing or rigid metal pipe.

  • There is adequate central ventilation and adequate local ventilation for carbon monoxide from tailpipe exhaust systems.

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Materials & Waste Storage & Management (including oils, solvents, antifreeze and gasoline)

  • Drums, tanks and other containers are labeled with the name of the material they hold (for example, waste oil) and the type of hazard they present (e.g., flammable).

  • Waste containers are labeled with the date when contents were first added.

  • Lids are tight-fitting and sealed, and bungs are closed.

  • Waste storage area is labeled.

  • There are no leaks or excessive spillage in chemical or waste storage areas, including around solvent sinks, pumps, pipes, hoses, and valves.

  • Flammable (flashpoint <140°F) materials are stored in an area (such as an air-tight metal cabinet) approved by the local fire department.

  • Flammable and hazardous liquids are stored in containers that are either approved by the U.S. Department of Transportation or by the State Fire Marshall, or listed and labeled by the National Registration and Testing Laboratory (UL-listed).

  • Waste containers are stored on an impervious surface and have secondary containment.

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  • Floor drains are connected to the sewer (with approval from sewer authority) or equipped with an approved tight tank which is pumped regularly by a licensed hauler.

  • There are no cracks in the floor that would allow spills to penetrate.

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General Equipment

  • Underground storage tanks and above-ground storage tanks are permitted by the appropriate state agency or local fire department.

  • A spill prevention (SPCC) plan has been prepared and is on file at facilities that store over 660 gallons of petroleum in any one above ground tank, or over 1320 aggregate, where a spill could reach water.

  • Waste oil furnaces are permitted by appropriate state agency or local fire departments (as required).

  • Lifts have operable safety locks; are tested and serviced monthly.

  • Wheel grinders have properly adjusted tongue guards and work rests.

  • Placard overhead storage with approved load limits and install guard rails.

  • Electrical cords are intact and have grounding prongs.

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Health & Safety

  • The shop has written contingency plans for fire prevention, emergencies, and spill control, posted near phones and potential sources of spills.

  • Spill control materials are available on-site.

  • Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) are available for all chemicals.

  • Eyewash and showers providing 15 minutes of continuous flush are available in areas where acids and bases are used.

  • Employees are trained in chemical hazard, safety, and emergency preparedness.

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Vehicle Maintenance Operations

Vehicle Fluids

  • Drained waste fluids such as waste oil, antifreeze, and solvents are stored in separate drums or tanks.

  • Waste oil is removed by a licensed transporter or burned on-site in an approved heater.

  • Oil filters are punctured and hot drained over a waste oil drum for the required amount of time, and then recycled or disposed of properly.

  • Oily shop rags are placed in sealed, labeled metal containers and laundered by a licensed facility.

  • Oily absorbents are handled as oily waste, not thrown in the trash.

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Solvent Parts Cleaning

  • Lid of solvent parts cleaner is closed.

  • A licensed transporter picks up and recycles solvents or disposes of solvents as hazardous waste.

  • Parts cleaner is labeled with material name and hazard type.

  • If flammable solvent (flashpoint <140°F, <200°F in R.I.) is used, the parts cleaner has a fusible link that locks shut in the case of fire.

  • Parts cleaner filters are handled as a hazardous waste.

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Battery & Tire Storage

  • Batteries are stored in a single layer on pallets of shelving with a non-corrosive base, and are properly recycled.

  • Tires stored outside are covered and properly disposed of.

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