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I have been reviewing the multitude of EHSmanagement systems and program examples on the web. It seems everyone has created a new "best practice". This does little for a group who is trying to determine which is best for them.

I would love to see some thoughts on how other corporations have instituted EHS management systems. At this time, I am leaning towards recomending following both ISO 14000 and OSHA VPP. I am not sure how they will mesh, but I know the OSHAS 18000 will not fly in this facility. Besides, I believe the employee involvement and the mentor program to be vital.


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Is this just a means for management to say they are doing something? To really do something need management to set goals and show commitment - set up a group for implementing plan towards goals. Start with understanding the risks and then management set priorities for reducing risk - workforce help set priorities e.g. by suggestions, so involved and need to see that what they say counts. Implemented through the group at first until becomes part of daily routine and constant dialogue with the workforce. Management must reinforce that EHS is an important priority. Its not a one off thing. I am very cynical about these ISO systems. Dont know VPP but just looked it up - principle looks good. I'm just a cynical safety consultant!
I can't disagree with you. But this is just what these systems are about. I would say the most important feature is the auditing requirement the periodically looks at whether you are actually implementing a safety culture or just filling out forms and paying lip service.

All of these systems have the same goal in mind...effective HS&E management. The difference is in how theyy approach it and how they measure it. For instance, VPP has a very largte employee participation factor while OSHAS 18000 has less employee involvement required. Also, some of the programs have a more organized support network such as the VPPA for the VPP.

I am sure there are countless other differentiation. I am hoping to hear from some safety pros that have dealt with multiple types and have some war stories to share.

Thanks for the comment!

Dear Jack

I think that what I meant was that a) none of these systems will specify goals, these will come from management e.g. safety targets. Why not specify goals first (with some workforce involvement) and engage the workforce (and management) in deciding which systems of these would be applicable and useful (with management saying that it is an important thing to do). Then they are already being brought on board and they realise then that it is important and what the issues are (e.g. it is a system that has to be maintained, just as the good culture and motivation has to be maintained). After all it will affect them in the end. So, what I mean is to just have a paper based system in itself wont do anything.

I do think such formal systems have value, but not if you are the only person interested and putting it together. Anyway you need some companies to give you some feedback and I cant help you there but if you google the different systems you might find some of the feedback you are looking for. e.g. you could use "implementing EHS systems" and then you get statements from companies about what they are doing

Your concern is valid - there are many "EHS Management Systems" available, but what makes the most sense for your company? It is important to first define what you want to accomplish and why. If your company is seeking certification, then ISO 14001 (Environmental) or OSHA VPP might be appropriate. On the other hand, if you only want a management system model that makes sense for your application, then you might look to ANSI Z10 for Occupational Health and Safety Managaement Systems, for example. The ANSI standard addresses employee involvement and mentoring and is performance oriented.

ISO 14001 and OSHA VPP do not mesh seamlessly. OSHAs 18001 and ANSI Z10 are more like 14001 in their management systems aspects, but they have different approaches as well. 14001, for example, is fairly prescriptive in aspects and impacts of significant environmental risks, whereas ANSI Z10 only looks for a formal risk assessment process - you can decide how to approach risk assessment.

Unless they are going for ISO 14001 certification or VPP STAR status, we see many companies taking the essence of ANSI Z10 or similiar models, taking the best of each and applying it to whatever makes the most sense for their application.
Jack, we are a VPP Star site and also Certified ISO 9001. We had a different person managing each program. VPP came first, then ISO. The guy that was handling our VPP program retired and his responsiblities were transfered to the guy that coordinates our ISO program. We have had several discussions about marrying the two programs because of the simularities.

VPP has made a world of difference at our site, but we have done a lot of hiring in the last 3 years and don't have much investment from the newer employees. I am hoping that with a new coordinator we will have a renewed interest and get some of the new employees involved. And if each of our VPP Element Teams have to go through their element line by line and tie ISO in, that may be the freshing that we need.

Well Jack, ISO 14000 & 14001 are almost standard practice now! I'm surprised these people are so far behind the times. Are they a large coporation or a small one? What kind of facility are you talking about? What kind of industry are they in? OSHA VPP is also becoming rather universal.

Employee Involvement can be taken a step further to include a behavior-based safety program. Have you considered such a program?

Also, in answer to Linda's view of ISO I would have to say that ISO OHSAS18001is really an OHSMS or Occupational Health & Safety Management System. Actually 18001 is a great system for getting the whole system to work together as a well-oiled machine! The ANSI Z10 standard is VERY COMPLEX with a lot of side processes and the OHSAS 18001 is far leaner and less apt to bogg down the whole process.

Jack it sounds like a behavior-based Safety System, creating a Safety Culture, and getting management buy-in should be your first priorities. These folks are behind the 8-ball already!
If your company has implemented ISO 14000, the new OSHAS 18000 Standard correlates to the ISO 14000 and is relatively easy to implement by expanding the system already in place; therefore, having an integrated system. You can make these systems as simple or as complex as your company's own procedures and identified risk. You can also add as much employee involvement as needed by simply incorporating it into the processes. The requirements are rather vague on how they are to be implemented and I have learned from experience that they can be taylored to the individual company's needs.


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