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We are looking at our significant environmental aspects for our company (a Utility with many environmental aspects; we use the term activities because people get confused when talking about aspects). One area we seem to be revisiting is the format in documenting and communicating the aspects.
Do any of your consultants come across a format that identifies, documents and defines what the aspects are in a well-structured format?
We are looking at providing a lifecycle within an activity/aspect. For example: Construction is an activity and we have defined a number of standard phases: plan, design, construction, operations, decommission.
Not sure if this is something they have come across but a couple of examples would be great.
– Gerry Koreman, Environmental Audit Coordinator – Manitoba Hydro
The approach I like to use is to implement an automotive-style, TS16949-compliant Failure Modes Effects Analysis (FMEA) methodology for the actual risk assessment process. This requires an understanding of process flows and impacts of the activity. As a 3-factor analysis (occurrence, detection, severity), it allows for recording any risk mitigation activities you may have undertaken as continual improvement. This is significant, in that it allows for the reduction of an aspect / activity from “significant” to being simply a controlled, identified risk/aspect. The total impact of a risk/aspect is determined by the product of all 3 factors (occurrence x detection x severity), and so by implementing very effective detection methods you can demonstrate control…or mitigation…of the risk/aspect.
As far as communicating to others, selecting the appropriate columns from the FMEA document is a snap, and virtually self-evident. All the registrars with whom I work readily recognize and accept this approach for all manners of risk analysis.
FMEA as a risk management tool has been in use within the automotive industry for many years, and is well accepted in the Aerospace, Medical Device, and other fields as well. Adapting it to use in Environmental Management requires a little bit of interpretation, but as a process it is very effective. The BRC does offer training in the concepts and process if you feel that you’d like to look into it further.
I hope this is helpful to you and your team!
– Ted Uffen, BRC Consultant
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