MANAGING YOUR EH&S RISKS THROUGH AUDITING IS LIKE GOING FOR YOUR ANNUAL PHYSICAL – First in a series of 5 Reply

What do you think when you hear the word “Audit”? How about “Annual Physical”?

Run, Hide, Panic, Ouch, …No Problem!

On the way to my annual physical, I was thinking about the similarities to having an audit. It is normal to feel a certain amount of stress when preparing for, or participating in, any type of audit, even one of your personal health. Yet, we still have to have our “check-ups”.  Why? One reason is so that we can identify and address smaller issues before they become bigger concerns.

By definition, an audit is “a systematic and independent examination.” The types of audits and reasons to conduct one are varied, but the value of having one can make a significant difference toward risk management and continual improvement of your Environmental, Health and Safety (EH&S) programs and systems.

What if we look at undergoing an audit much like we would an annual physical examination? Like your annual physical, EH&S audits should be scheduled periodically and some level of review should be conducted at least annually.

The audit should be more than the review of a checklist for compliance…it should diagnose the overall health of your EH&S program by checking:

For Annual Physical, Doctor may: For EH&S Audit, Auditor may:
Check vitals to confirm within normal ranges:   weight, blood pressure, bloodwork Check key performance indicators, review metrics, compliance and conformance status
Confirm any medications continue to be at effective doses Review systems, procedures, training for effectiveness
Review any issues or concerns Identify areas of actual or potential non-compliance and/or system concerns
Confirm ongoing healthy diet and exercise activities occurring Corrective and Preventive actions
Discuss Preventive Measures to Avoid Future Problems Identify and benchmark against latest best practices

Some other considerations to include:

  • Are basic metrics telling the true story of the health of your EH&S programs and systems, like tracking chemical usage and storage, energy usage, water usage, air emissions, incidents …is it accurate, effective and helping you maintain compliance and demonstrate improvements? Should you consider a more efficient way to track and communicate information to your team?
  • Are corrective action plans still timely and effective? Should you change your approach? Maybe the issue you were trying to fix is all set and now you need to refocus. How do you ensure that your team has found the root cause of the issue and has not just applied a band-aid that is only a temporarily fix? Does your 25-year old wastewater treatment system really have the capacity to handle the new process being relocated from New Jersey?
  • Are there any issues that you have been ignoring that you need to prioritize? Are you sure you don’t need that air permit in order for your company to grow?
  • Are there potential non-compliance issues brewing throughout your EH&S system, but you are so wrapped up in it you can’t see them? Has training become ineffective and reports been going in just a little bit late?
  • Are there new methods, technologies, or Best Management Practices that if you take the time to implement now would reduce risks in the future? Are you a “team of one” or has your team become isolated and doesn’t have the opportunity to share Best Management Practices?

Just as having routine “check-ups” take courage because you may hear things which result in changes to your life routines, it also takes leadership to examine your EH&S programs and systems. In the end, however, seeking feedback and looking for opportunities to improve will be beneficial for your company, your career, and your peace of mind.

Annual physicals help you reduce health risks and put you on a path for a better quality of life. An EH&S audit program directly supports risk management by providing an organization with data to prevent financial loss and reduce an organization’s EH&S risks.

Ideally, just as we hope our physical goes smoothly, there are times when we have to visit the doctor before we face a larger health issue. Similarly, an organization should also be prepared for an audit at any time; often through a combination of internal and external efforts to ensure processes continue to run smoothly. These efforts can come from many individuals and places, and it can be difficult to ensure accuracy, timeliness, and completeness of ongoing efforts. Consider a system like the EHS-Dashboard™ to store actionable information and organize findings. Completing proactive EH&S audits can ensure the effectiveness and efficiency of operations, the reliability and integrity of operational information, and compliance with laws and regulations. These factors can have a direct relationship to an organization’s financial performance and ability to meet its overall strategic goals.

Annual physicals often lead to referrals to specialists to focused areas of concern. Over the next few month’s CAPACCIO will provide eBlasts on different types of audits relating to focused issues to include ISO 14001:2015, process safety, wastewater treatment evaluations, and air permit assessments.

This won’t hurt a bit….

For more information, contact Lucy Servidio, CHMM, TURP, at 508-970-0033 ext. 114 or lservidio@capaccio.com or Colleen Walsh, CHMM, at 508-970-0033 ext. 139 or cwalsh@capaccio.com.

U.S. Withdraws from Historic Paris Agreement – Industry’s Reaction Reply

As of June 1, 2017, the United States will be withdrawing from the historic 2015 Paris Agreement.

To refresh your memory, the Paris Agreement is a global climate compact in which almost 200 countries agreed upon the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, and the actions to make this a reality. Actions from the agreement would keep the planet from warming by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – a scientifically agreed upon threshold that would safeguard future generations against the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

This Agreement is a global effort, shaped by bold climate actions from each participating country. It is also shaped by commitments from the more stable members of the Agreement to provide climate finance assistance to poorer countries in the Agreement to support their transitions to renewable energy. All countries involved understand that climate change is an issue that transcends borders, and that efforts to combat climate change need to as well.

While President Trump announced yesterday that the United States will begin the years-long process to officially withdraw from the Paris Agreement, the business community is staying on course to combat climate change. Industry leaders from Facebook, GE, Apple, Tesla, and Microsoft, to name just a few, have outwardly expressed their disappointment with this decision, and plan to commit even more stringently to their climate change mitigation efforts.

A similar reaction has also been seen from state and local governments. Mayor Marty Walsh stated that Boston is still committed to, and even accelerating, its 2015 carbon neutrality goals. Governor Charlie Baker has stated that Massachusetts plans to focus on exceeding the state level goals of the Paris Agreement, and to continue economic growth from clean energy innovation. Governor Jerry Brown of California has similarly stated that California remains committed to the Paris agreement and is working with other states who are making the same commitment.

It’s not every day that industry, business, state and local governments, and the scientific community so urgently respond to a federal government action – but today seems to be that day – and the innovative and expedited responses from each of these sectors is more encouraging than ever.

To talk about what you and your company can do to join efforts to combat climate change, or for more information on this topic, contact Cristina Mendoza at cmendoza@capaccio.com

Join CAPACCIO on April 7 for the AIM Sustainability Roundtable featuring science based targets Reply

Shared from the March 4, 2017 AIM email

Join Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc. (CAPACCIO) at AIM’s Sustainability Roundtable on April 7 for “Science-Based Targets and Scope 3 Emissions: Tackling Greenhouse Gases & Global Warming.” This event will solicit  a lively discussion about the case for addressing greenhouse gas emissions with your company’s sustainability efforts. The program will include ample opportunity for participants to network, share best practices, potential challenges, and lessons learned with industry experts and peers from leading companies in the region.

Cristina Mendoza, Environmental Scientist and Sustainability Consultant at CAPACCIO, will tee up the case studies and discussion surrounding this topic. Ms. Mendoza has been leading the sustainability technical services at CAPACCIO, which has remained steadfast in its mission of “Helping Industry and the Environment Prosper” by  helping our clients develop a strategy for integrated sustainability throughout their organizations.

Although setting environmental targets at a corporate level is a company-wide, resource-intensive effort, many are embracing it to not only support their sustainability programs, but to realize major efficiencies and cost savings. Leading companies in sustainability are even taking this task a step further, specifically focusing on Greenhouse Gases (GHG’s) by committing to the Science Based Targets (SBT*) initiative. SBT* has the goal to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (2DS) compared to pre-industrial temperatures.

By participating in this initiative, companies are ensuring that their set emissions targets are scientifically-supported as effective in making a difference in the fight against global climate change.  It is a growing trend to commit to SBT’s, already embraced by CocaCola , Dell, Walmart, and many others.

The AIM Sustainability Roundtable on Friday, April 7, will focus on the calculations involved in setting SBTs and feature live discussions of the challenges and methods to overcome those challenges, related to calculating Scope 3 emissions.

The AIM sustainability roundtable group is led by Johanna Jobin, Director Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability at Biogen and is facilitated by subject matter experts including  Environmental Scientist and Sustainability Consultant, Cristina Mendoza, of Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc., Matt Gardner, Managing Partner of Sustainserv, Inc. and Dr. Wayne Bates of Tighe & Bond.

*SBT is a joint initiative of Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), World Resource Institute (WRI), and World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Date: April 7 | 8-11:00 AM
Location: Shire, 200 Shire Way, Lexington, MA 02421
Cost: Free to AIM members / Non-Members $100.00.

Registration is required for security purposes.

REGISTER here. Participation is limited to people who maintain direct responsibility for sustainability at their companies. Questions? Please contact Gloria Fischer, gfischer@aimnet.org, 617.262.1180 or Cristina Mendoza at CAPACCIO at 508-970-0033 ext. 128 or cmendoza@capaccio.com.

Kristine Lesso joins CAPACCIO as Senior EH&S Contributor Reply

Kristine Lesso, CSP, ISO 14001 Lead Auditor, Six Sigma Black Belt, recently joined Capaccio Environmental Engineering, Inc.’s team as Senior EH&S Contributor. Ms. Lesso has more than 25 years of experience assisting global manufacturing companies in a wide variety of high level EH&S areas including providing corporate-level strategic EH&S planning and sustainability strategy for global manufacturing companies. Ms. Lesso has particular expertise developing and deploying a systematic road mapping process and is fully versed in ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 management systems. She specializes in gaining organizational alignment to set strategic direction and in developing tailored EH&S programs, platforms and dashboards in support of this strategy. She has proven results implementing global programs with visibility, transparency, and accountability while fostering an environment of dignity and respect for all employees.

Prior to joining CAPACCIO, Ms. Lesso held senior level positions in private industry.  Most recently, she was the Senior Director of Corporate Environmental, Health and Safety at a high tech firm where she supported 90 manufacturing facilities globally with over 150,000 employees. Her broad breadth and depth of EH&S experience also includes EH&S auditing, major source air permitting projects, RCRA, EPCRA, emergency planning and response, hazard and risk assessments, accident/injury reporting systems, CDP reporting, and product content restrictions. She also has expertise in industrial wastewater permitting and capital planning at the corporate level for abatement/ treatment systems, and has provided extensive data/metrics analysis and use in strategic EH&S planning and program implementation.

Ms. Lesso holds a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, a Master of Science in Environmental Studies from Louisiana State University, and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Corporate Sustainability from Furman University.

Ms. Lesso may be reached at klesso@capaccio.com, or by phone at 508-970-0033 ext. 120 or cell at 774-249-3216. Please join us in welcoming Kristine!