risk management

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    Are your management system documents out of control? Are your management system documents out of control?

    Are your management system documents out of control?

Are your management system documents out of control?

At last there’s a 21st C solution! Long gone are the “typing pool” days of the 70’s and 80’s. The 90’s heralded the age of the “E document”, predominantly Microsoft Word and Excel. There was a shift away from the massive archives of printed materials that waste paper and create a fire hazard. But this leap forward came with a downside. We all know that the enhanced ability to create, modify and transmit documents quickly has encouraged excessive documentation coupled with the ongoing challenge of controlling and keeping them up to date. What typically happens? People access an earlier, superseded version Records are inadvertently deleted or lost There are too many forms to fill in and registers to update People have difficultly finding a particular document People print documents or copy the “controlled” version onto their desktop Any of this sound familiar? This year, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), […]

  • Envisioning a clean water future
    Envisioning a clean water future Envisioning a clean water future

    Envisioning a clean water future

  • Envisioning a clean water future Envisioning a clean water future

    Envisioning a clean water future

Envisioning a clean water future

  There have been large improvements in the quality of the world’s water resources over the last 25 years. Since 1990, 2.1 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation. The UN estimate that 91% of the global population uses an improved drinking water source, compared to 76% in 1990.1 That’s the good news. Now for the challenges. Agricultural and coastal development and inadequate sanitation near river catchments still cause significant amounts of sediments, nitrogen, phosphorus and pesticides to be washed into the world’s seas. Nitrate concentrations continue to climb and recently the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) reported 169 coastal dead zones across the globe with only 13 recovering and 415 coastal areas suffering a reduction in dissolved oxygen.2  The association with coral bleaching and polluted run off is well known.3 In 2012, 288 million tons of plastic were manufactured globally and 8 million tonnes of this was dumped […]

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    The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk

    The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk

The U-Factors: a new way to think about risk

JULY 2015 UPDATE The Final Draft International Standard (FDIS) of the Environmental Management Systems Standard, ISO14001:2015, was released on the 2nd July 2015. All requirements are now finalised and the rules allow for only editorial adjustments from now on. There are a number of changes to note between the Draft International Standard (DIS) and the FDIS. Of relevance to this original article, written last December, is the change in the definition of “risk” and the use of the words “threat” and “opportunity”. In the DIS, risk is defined as “the effect of uncertainty on objectives” but the FDIS omits the words “on objectives” from the definition. This has the effect of broadening the concept of uncertainty to cover all types of issues, not just those associated with objectives. The word “threat” was confusing and has been removed from many clauses. Instead the FDIS includes a new definition – “risks and […]

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    Are you managing your supply chain? Are you managing your supply chain?

    Are you managing your supply chain?

Are you managing your supply chain?

While presenting a series of one day courses on behalf of SAI Global entitled “Preparing for the transition to ISO14001:2015″ I became aware that one of the concepts in the Draft Standard is new to many people. Its the taking of a “life cycle perspective”.  So, what does this mean? A life cycle is defined in the Draft Standard as the consecutive and interlinked stages of a product system, from raw material acquisition or generation from natural resources to end-of-life treatment. Life cycle assessment has been around since the 1990’s and is often called the “cradle-to-grave” approach for assessing industrial systems. “Cradle-to-grave” begins with the gathering of raw materials from the earth to create the product and ends at the point when all materials are returned to the earth. LCA enables the estimation of the cumulative environmental impacts resulting from all stages in the product life cycle, often including impacts […]

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    What makes effective training? What makes effective training?

    What makes effective training?

What makes effective training?

Deciding how much and what type of environmental training to conduct in your workplace can be a daunting task. Here are 5 tips to guide you through the maze. 1. Focus on high risk Refer to the site’s Aspect Register or Risk Register to establish the workplace tasks that may cause a significant environmental impact. Determine the roles or job function of people commonly undertaking those tasks. There should be written procedures that outline the steps to take and the operating criteria that must be in place. These can form the basis of the training program. 2. Make the training measurable Develop competency criteria for each of the high risks tasks that may cause a significant impact. Ask “What should any person be able to do before they are allowed to work without supervision? What do they need to know? What level of language, literacy, and numeracy is required for […]

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    What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you

    What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you

What the revised ISO14001 will mean for you

The international standard for Environmental Management Systems will soon enter the last stage of its 3 year review.  The new standard will be released in early 2015. For those interested in the timing and degree of change, the committee draft provides a good indication of key concepts emerging in the revision. The new version is intended to maintain and improve the basic principles and existing requirements of ISO14001:2004.  It is likely that the new elements and requirements, summarised below, will bolt on fairly easily to any ISO14001 based system. However the new clause numbers and structure could pose more of a challenge.  It is based on a new high level structure for Management System Standards, different from the “plan-do-check-act” principle that management system practitioners are familiar with. Changes we are likely to see include: Specific responsibilities for people in leadership roles to promote environmental management within the organisation. A new […]

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    A view from the inside A view from the inside

    A view from the inside

A view from the inside

Successful audits are a win-win for the community and for businesses wanting to prove to themselves and others that they do what they say they do . By examining a business from the inside out an auditor confirms that the company is meeting the expectations of all interested parties. Let’s think of the analogy of clothing. When garments are viewed from the outside in there may be a glossy brand image, attractive packaging, convenience features.  Only when the clothes are turned inside out do the seams, patterns and structure become visible and understood. What you see is the other side of the same thing. The garment hasn’t been deconstructed – just viewed in a different light, in all its reality, worts and all. The strengths and positives are seen and admired – the reinforced seams and new, unfaded materials and the creative effort gone into its design. But a closer […]

Get ready for risk based licensing

Failure to develop and implement an Environmental Management System (EMS) at each site could become a costly exercise in 2014 as the NSW EPA progresses towards its risk based licencing system. The EPA will change the calculation of licence administration fees by introducing an Environmental Management Category – either A, B, C, D or E. The Category will act as a multiplier to the fee, resulting in either an increase, decrease (or no change). For example any sites classified as “E” will have their fee doubled, those classed as an “A” will be recognised as having the highest level of performance and receive a 5% reduction. New approach under the Protection of the Environment Operations (General) Amendment (Licensing Fees) Regulation 2013 Each licence will be allocated an overall risk level of 1, 2 or 3. A higher risk level may result in more intensive monitoring and reporting obligations on the […]

Are we exposed to too much lead?

Lead is a highly potent nerve toxin that has been known for decades to have devastating effects on human health and wildlife as well as strong links with violent crime. While the phase out of lead in petrol has been an outstanding success globally, there is still a long way to go.  Technical innovation, stricter controls of industrial emissions, a ban on certain imports and exports together with the enforcement of more stringent air quality standards are required to protect people in all towns and cities. Whether you and your family are exposed to too much lead depends largely on what job you do and where you happen to live. Like other heavy metals, lead is hazardous to animals and dangerous to humans as it accumulates in soil, livestock, fish, mammal, human tissue and blood. At all levels of exposure it can cause adverse and often irreversible health impacts to […]

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    Two ways to avoid digital misinformation Two ways to avoid digital misinformation

    Two ways to avoid digital misinformation

Two ways to avoid digital misinformation

With today’s appetite for rapid and instant communication, the media have developed a tendency to rush information out quickly without subjecting it to proper editorial oversight and scrutiny. In NSW last month an anti-coal campaigner using only a laptop and mobile phone was able to issue a bogus media release stating that the ANZ bank had reversed a AU$1.2bn loan to Whitehaven Coal.  The result was that $314 million was temporarily wiped off the value of the company. While the activist’s ability to draw attention to the climate change issue has been applauded as commendable in some quarters, I suggest that fraudulent behaviour only serves to discredit the reputation and cause that the perpetrator is trying to promote. In the words of Plato “whoever is detected in a shameful fraud is ever after not believed even if they speak the truth”. There have been instances where deliberate misuse of the […]

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