Environmental regulations often require permit(s) that in turn require record-keeping and often reporting to the issuing agencies. These obligations are part of doing business. In contrast, businesses that fail to obtain to meet permit conditions have an unfair business advantage. The same goes for skirting permit and/or environmental regulatory requirements. In our book, non-compliance is never worth the risk but countless time businesses make the news and not in a favorable way due to ill-advised decisions. Often we find that conditions that lead to regulatory citations are due to pressure upon manages and rank-and-file alike to focus on production at the expense of compliance. Our advice is to take hard look at your business culture and determine whether there are conditions that could lead to mistakes in judgement – and fix them.
On the other hand, the best methods for managing an environmental management system include meeting reporting timelines, competently maintaining records related to permit conditions and also, having a robust, dynamic and effective management system in place. Key elements in keeping your management system responsive and capable include:
- having competent people administering the management system and/or program elements;
- visible and consistent management support;
- consequences for failing to meet goals and objectives;
- Effective, concise and up-to-date documents that identify policy and procedure;
- periodic internal review of the System with an eye on continual improvement
There are just some important elements. Most of all, make sure that your management system elements are tailored to your specific business and goals and objectives. Avoid cookie-cutter EHS documents that too often have gaps, errors and omissions.