In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon (Macondo) oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Montara oil spill off the coast of Western Australia, ISO Technical Committee (TC) 67, which focuses on oil and gas issues, has developed an action plan to combat oil spill disasters. Published this past March, the action plan addresses many safety and health facets. Of particular interest is the TC’s proposal to develop an EHS management system standard devoted to this industry.
In the early 1990s, ISO/TC 67 developed a robust integrated EHS management system model. The TC suspended its development activities on the standard in anticipation of the publication of ISO 14001 in 1996 and the development of BS8800 in the UK. Read More
It has been a while since I’ve posted. The summer has been full, working on developing the 360 Risk Management Check-Up™, a high-level diagnostic to measure the EHS/S and risk management function in organizations. Associated with this work, I have been conducting research on the evolution of organizational risk management and growing attention on non-financial risk management (NFRM).
Organizational risk management (RM) concepts and practices have been evolving from a singular focus on financial risk to a more broad focus on enterprise-wide and non-financial risks. Approaches such as enterprise risk management, strategic risk management, value risk management, etc. have been evolving into what is being called NFRM. Read More
An ever-present challenge in EHS/S management is the implementation of EMSs and EHSMSs in small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME). There are numerous ways that large organizations address this challenge with their smaller and lower-risk locations.
ISO recently published a document that provides guidance to SMEs with a phased approach to implementing ISO 14001. The full title of this document is 14005:2010 “Environmental management systems – Guidelines for the phased implementation of an environmental management system, including the use of environmental performance evaluation.”
The current issue of ISO Focus (February 2011) is dedicated to a wide range of security-related issues and highlights the ISO 28000 series on security risk management.
ISO 28000 was published in 2007 and provides guidance on security management. Its framework follows the ISO 14001 framework closely. 28000 is the core of the family, providing a specification management system standard. ISO 28004 provides implementation guidance in specific areas, such as 28005 (Electronic Port Clearance) and 20858 (Ships and Marine Technology). Read More
A robust study of corporate sustainability practices as been conducted by Cowan et al. The authors correctly indicate that there is a void in standardized approaches in this area, with many companies relying on guidance or criteria set forth by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), in ISO standards such as 14001, and in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. They also observe that numerous names and labels are used to describe sustainability in companies such as Sustainability Programs, Corporate and/or Social Responsibility Reports, and Global Citizen Reports.
The authors identified nine components of sustainability programs common to the 130 companies they examined. These were grouped into three areas: Resource Management (Solid Waste, Water Conservation); Energy Management (Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy, GHG Emission Reduction, Energy Efficient Construction, e.g., LEED); and Product Sustainability (Product Transportation, Supply Chain Audit, Product Stewardship, Life-Cycle Program). Read More
“What gets measured, gets done” is a popular saying in performance improvement circles. There is more though. Yes, true as this is, measurement—and I’ll go a step further here and say auditing—is just part of the “gets done” piece. When crafted within a context of breakthrough performance, EHS auditing and the audit function in an EHS department can be a catalyst for accelerated performance improvement and EHS integration. EHS auditing is commonly viewed as a necessary evil or burden to satisfy regulatory and legal requirements. Within this context, the results are predictable. There is little if any enthusiasm; there is a struggle; and there can be challenges with inter-rater reliability.
When EHS auditing is formulated through an organizational learning and systems thinking lens—supported by an integrated EHS management system structure—the function shifts from being summative to formative, as program evaluation professionals would say. There is a shift toward action research that fosters partnership in solving EHS challenges. Audits are viewed as opportunities to see things not previously apparent. Casual links and patterns are distinguished in a way that people can see their roles in the “organizational systems” and see possibilities to alter the system and their roles.
Organizational culture is complex, and according to many experts, not well understood. EHS professionals often think about culture in terms of safety. Yet, while safety is clearly important, the topic of culture is all-encompassing.
An area that I continue to explore is how EHS departments and their professionals can impact overall organizational culture. Said another way, how can you build and leverage your EHS culture?
I recently heard Professor Ed Schein of MIT, regarded as an organizational culture pioneer, speak. The title of his lecture was, “From Managing Organizational Culture to Leading Multicultural Teams.” He discussed the ways in which his thoughts on organizational culture have evolved over the past several decades and reviewed some of the material in the soon-to-be-released 4th edition of his landmark book, Organizational Culture and Leadership.