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Many safety and health managers in recent years have had environmental responsibilities added to their job duties. As a result, these professionals also must convince management and employees that complying with environmental regulations not only is the right thing to do, but can help keep their company out of hot water.

To promote compliance in your company, take steps outlined Monday by Edwin P. Granberry, FAIC, CES, BCFE, president of Granberry & Associates of Winter Park, Fla., during a session of the American Society of Safety Engineers'' Professional Development Conference and Exposition at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. The seven steps:

  • Develop a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS). Development of the EMS plan should include all departments in your company, such as legal, plant engineering and human resources.
  • Promote high levels of EMS plan awareness to employees. "That''s where the public relations people come in," Granberry said. He knows of some plants where the public knows more about the facility''s EMS than its workers.
  • Standardize operating procedures. This will help remove confusion when implementing the EMS plan among departments.
  • Improve employee training programs. This is the most important step that an EHS professional can take to promote compliance, Granberry said.
  • Conduct root-cause analyses when an accident occurs. Use future root-cause analyses to develop reports, findings and recommendations.
  • Modify the company''s current environmental policy. An outdated policy will only hurt efforts to ensure compliance.
  • Encourage management support. "Gone are the days when EHS professionals are the only ones to take the rap" when a company is cited and faces possible prosecution, Granberry said. Courts recognize that the chain of command starts at the top, he added, so top management needs to realize that they can be just as liable for any violations.

by Todd Nighswonger