Prevention key to workplace safety

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

A Northeast college once brought in John V. Carvalho III, president and CEO of Apollo Safety, in the middle of the night after a minor toxic gas leak forced evacuation of a building. More

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Prevention key to workplace safety

PBN PHOTO/BRIAN MCDONALD
TAKING MEASURES: Apollo Safety President and CEO John Carvalho III, center, leads a training session at the Fall River company. He is pictured above with technician Joseph Bettencourt, left, and John Carvalho IV.

By Patricia Daddona
PBN Staff Writer

Posted 1/27/14

A Northeast college once brought in John V. Carvalho III, president and CEO of Apollo Safety, in the middle of the night after a minor toxic gas leak forced evacuation of a building.

Carvalho, who decades after starting the business still personally trains his staff, got there, evaluated the situation, and gave occupants the green light to re-enter the building. The incident at the school, which Carvalho declined to identify, led to a standing contract to oversee maintenance for the college’s emergency systems.

“One of the major reasons we have these contracts is, [clients] want to stay out of the news,” Carvalho said.

Founded in 1995, Apollo Safety is run by a small staff of 16 that supplies the tools needed for work in a hazardous environment, repairs gas-monitoring instrumentation and performs as a gas-detection-service team to ensure compliance with federal regulations regarding the safety of everything from carbon monoxide to toxic chemicals.

Workers travel where they are needed, testing, calibrating and doing preventative maintenance on equipment and systems on sites that include firefighting organizations like the Providence Fire Department, pharmaceutical companies like Novartis, and universities like Harvard, Yale and Boston University, Carvalho said.

For the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth, for example, Apollo Safety integrated a carbon monoxide detection system with the fire alarm system, and routinely tests the equipment and the communication between systems, the owner said.

“We keep the system out of alarm and up and running with a preventative approach,” he said.

In 1993, a newly developed Occupational Safety and Health Administration rule set the standard for what would be required in regulating dangerous emissions in confined areas that include sewer manholes, tanks, wells, vats and outdoor excavation areas.

The OSHA rules prescribe which levels and thresholds of a gas or chemical trigger alerts, he said.

Since then, OSHA and other federal requirements for gas-detection devices and procedures have commanded Apollo safety’s attention. When he started the company in 1995, “there was no expertise in the field except from the manufacturer,” Carvalho said.

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