The Puerto Rico Department of Labor has required of employers certain strict requirements since last March 2020 as informed of on their website:
Both our firms, CHES Services Corp. and IEMES, PSC, are not only properly registered as required locally with an autocertification but have maintained compliance with the different versions of our internal COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan (ECP) since April 2020.
By adjusting and keeping our employees informed (including but not limited to following statistics published by Puerto Rico's COVID Citizen Task Force) and integrated in decision-making of their involvement in diverse projects, we have been able to stay healthy and occupied with diverse tasks. Our team has assisted several clients in implementing their controls and identifying alternatives for safer coexistence with this biological threat.
Recently, OSHA published further guidelines and recommendations to assist employers in providing a safe and healthful workplace. The published document “Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace” also outlines existing safety and health standards.
The year 2020 was challenging enough for us all but we are hereby announcing improvements to our team and internal procedures. Our team is excited to build upon that and get started on this promising new year.
In appreciation to our client´s conribution to our firms, here´s a video that summarizes the efforts and views onto 2021.
Team contributions and recognitions in 2020
Our firm's backbone, which is our knowledgeable and respectable staff, has and continued their involvement in different professional organizations. From student chapter leadership to international organization board positions, our team is not only charged with representing professional groups but has also been recognized by some of them.
Eng. Fernando L. Rodríguez Ocasio, PE
2019-2020 Distinguished Colleague ("Colegiado Distinguido") and Dedication of 2020 Assembly of the Environmental Engineers Institute in PR (IIAM, in Spanish)
Eng. Hanna Rodríguez Morales, PE
Voted President of the Environmental Engineers Institute in PR (IIAM, in Spanish) over the 2020-2021 Term
Eng. Carmen M. Figueroa Santiago, PE
Named President of the Risks, Emergency, and Disaster Management Commission at the Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors (CIAPR, in Spanish)
Dedication of 2020 "Décimas" Contest of CIAPR
Ms. Figueroa´s dedication is read at 38:25 and her acceptance speech runs as of the 2:30:30 time mark.
Our team invites you to participate in this event led by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) by expanding your knowledge and sharing information related to Falls in Construction. Visit the following links for additional information, posters, videos, and more on this topic (in Spanish and English):
Our firms, CHES Services Corp. and IEMES, PSC have officially filed their autocertification as is required by the local, Puerto Rico Department of Labor (PRDOL). This is a local requirement to not only develop but to also implement employer-specific and site-specific COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan (ECP).
Our office team, having ample experience with similar plans and programs, has been formalizing internal protocols since the beginning of the island-wide lockdown. We have summarized it for the benefit of our clients and suppliers in the image below.
Additionally, our team continues to support clients in development and implementation of such COVID ECPs providing resilient ideas, alternatives, and putting our professional network to the test for their benefit.
We remind you all to consider disinfectants listed by the US EPA as effective against the COVID-19 virus: https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-coronavirus-covid-19
The team will continue to provide services as governmental executive orders provide as well as COVID cases' statistics permit.
La Ing. Carmen Figueroa y la Ing. Hanna Rodríguez, como representates líderes de la Comisión para el Manejo de Riesgos, Emergencias y Desastres (CMRED) del Colegio de Ingenieros y Agrimensores de PR (CIAPR), presentaron a la comunidad en la Feria de Salud del CIAPR. Esta actividad es organizada por el Capítulo de Bayamón y el Club de Esposos y Esposas del CIAPR.
Las ingenieras, líderes también de nuestro equipo de trabajo, dedicaron unos minutos interactivos a reiterar la importancia de la planificación familiar en casos de emergencias incluyendo casos por los cuales hemos pasado en la isla como temporales atmosféricos, terremotos y aumento en preocupación en relación a enfermedades infecciosas como micoplasma, influenza y COVID-19.
On March 15th, 2019, Puerto Rico's Professional College of Chemists celebrated their Annual Spring Conference. A concurrent section dedicated to Solid Waste Management on the island was prepared, where agency representatives as well as representatives from the consulting sector presented their version of Puerto Rico's waste management situation.
Among the speakers, Mr. Fernando L. Rodríguez, PE, President of our company as well as of the SWANA Caribbean-PR Chapter, presented an educated third-party perspective on the Solid Waste Industry. Among other important topics, such as Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR), the session provided the audience well-rounded perspectives on the issues our island is currently facing.
The main focus of Mr. Rodríguez was not only to continue educating and promoting an Integrated Solid Waste Management System-type of decision-making but also to contrast the so-called "waste management crisis" as it stood prior and after the 2017 Hurricane Season.
Conclusions he presented to the audience involved the call to move to truly promoting waste reduction as well as the following actions as part of a post landfill-era. Actions such as:
The IEMES, PSC (CHES) team experienced the rippling effect from the weather systems that developed in the Caribbean Region last year’s hurricane season. Aside from the necessary business shut down with very limited communication with our team and clients for a couple of weeks, the team experienced external logistical frustrations as our clients begun requesting a wide variety of services needed to attend the aftermath of the hurricanes.
At the time, our lead project engineers, Carmen and Hanna, had help from three (3) amazing ladies that exposed their maturity and professional side in the worst of times. Aurimar Rodríguez (as accountant, administrator & part-time field worker), Natalia Marrero and Rebeca Cintrón (both as Environmental Engineering Interns at the time) were essential to starting up and maintain our services after the hardest hit to our island, Hurricane Maria, came through.
The administrative team was able to accomodate amenities for them to begin working as promptly as possible by initially equipping an external facility used as an office and storage, located closer to their residences; and, to the best of our ability, providing meals and other provisions throughout the day and for them to take back home. It was all possible thanks to a strong team effort strengthened by each of the members’ enviable psychological health and strength, as well as good safety culture, sincere trust, and respect.
Some examples of services provided during this period include:
On behalf of the administrative team, we appreciate our client’s patience during this time but most of all, their trust in our presence and quality of services.
Lastly, but not less important, our sincere appreciation to the team members that pulled through during those difficult months, regardless of their personal complications and responsibilities. Our office continues to provide the quality services our clients deserves to this day thanks to your professional contribution.
On August 11th, 2018, the Psychology Association of PR (PAPR) held their Second Career Development Congress attended by Hanna Rodríguez, PE, SC. A number of insightful presentations and workshops were provided by Psychologists, Counselors, Authors, and more.
The expertise in your area of study will not necessarily give you job security or be conclusive about your professional life. It is not enough to have diplomas; it is necessary to know how to communicate in order to advance professionally.
Presenters provided innovative ways of thinking, debating, communicating, and publishing. All by providing real and current examples such as the publication of books like Aceptad@ an inspiring paperback by Dr. Nelissa Domínguez who, as a working professional in her field, is able to provide students with a pathway towards their future in higher education.
s part of a workshop on discovering and developing new opportunities in the psychology field, Dr. Zahira González (Past President of PAPR), participants used the worksheet below to brainstorm about solutions to a particular problem or opportunity. In the case of Ms. Rodríguez along with psychology students (Karla M. Torres and Yiriann Ayala), resolved upon the importance of creating dedicated Communications, Education and Marketing Programs along with Recycling or Waste Management Plans within organizations to improve their effectiveness.
This was perceived and received by participants in this Congress as an opportunity to continue evaluating this topic in an interdisciplinary way. The IEMES, PSC staff is eager to see this topic be discussed in such a way and is available for any partnership opportunity to do so.
As a continuation of the Hurricane Disaster Infrastructure Resilience and Planning Workshop carried out by American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) through a grant program from the United Engineering Foundation (UEF), Eng. Hanna Rodríguez from the IEMES, PSC team was invited and participated as a speaker last July 25-26, 2018. Eng. Carmen M. Figueroa from IEMES, PSC participated in the first workshop in Houston Texas in March of this year; follow this link to read more about her experience.
For this second workshop, Eng. Rodríguez was part of a group of professionals, primarily engineers with the goal of finalizing details for a white paper and framework documents to be available to the engineering community on resiliency. Different engineering disciplines and related professions will be able to utilize such framework as a guide for taking into consideration in resilient design going forth.
As also members and leaders of the PR Professional College of Engineers and Land Surveyors (CIAPR, per its Spanish acronym), Eng. Rodríguez and Ms. Ruth Lailany Trujillo Rodríguez, PLS, PPL were invited to speak on behalf of the island. LS Trujillo provided perspectives on the importance of geospatial knowledge of utilities and critical infrastructures, while Eng. Rodríguez provided an overview of the waste management industry in PR and the USVI, both before and after the 2017 Hurricane Season.
The group, a large part of which were academic engineering professionals, a series of proposed goals for the engineering community were developed and will be documented in the resulting reports. All goals were documented in addition to corresponding sets of progressive steps or tasks to achieve said resiliency goals. Important discussions regarding design of resilient infrastructure and the extent of an engineer's responsibility in developing a resilient community were part of this one and a half-day workshop.
Fernando L. Rodríguez, PE, SC