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
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.”
“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.