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Environmental Management Systems Training Course (Text Only)

Introduction to EMS 101

Module 1, Scene 1

Environmental Management Systems (EMS) 101


Scene Note: The opening scene shows a generic industrial facility with EMS 101 as the title. The words Welcome to EMS 101 then scroll across. The text reads, this course is designed to provide an overview of environmental management systems (EMS) and how they can support environmental improvements in a variety of settings. This course consists of the following four modules:

Enter the Facility and Begin the Course

Module 1, Scene 2

Scene Note: The plant manager, Clyde, stands inside the facility by a door and a chalkboard.

Welcome to Industrious Industries. I'm Clyde, the plant manager. Industrious Industries is a medium-sized company that manufactures widgets. Today we are hosting a meeting between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our state environmental agency (SEA), a community representative, and Industrious Industries. We are going to talk about Environmental Management Systems (EMS). This chalkboard has some information about our company and the purpose of the meeting.

Module 1, Scene 3

The chalkboard reads:

This course takes place at Industrious Industries, a medium-sized manufacturing facility, with a generally strong compliance record. In the last year, the state and EPA identified several compliance violations at the facility. The corporate headquarters of Industrious Industries endorsed this plant's proposal to implement an EMS to improve the facility's overall compliance and environmental performance. The plant is hosting a meeting to share EMS information with EPA, the state, and local environmental representatives. The following representatives are attending the meeting:

Module 1, Scene 4

The chalkboard reads:

  1. Terry, Industrious Industries Corporate Environmental Representative
  2. Andrew, EPA Regional Representative
  3. Nancy, State Environmental Agency (SEA) Representative
  4. John, Citizen's Group Representative
  5. Clyde, Industrious Industries Plant Manager

Module 1, Scene 5

Well, everyone else is already in the meeting room; let's go inside.

Module 1, Scene 6

The chalkboard reads:

Module 1

Module 1, Scene 7

Scene Note: The scene shows the meeting room for Industrious Industries. The meeting room contains a large conference room table with 5 chairs and a chalkboard. The representatives are seated around the table.

I'm Clyde, the plant manager for Industrious Industries. I am responsible for production at this plant, as well as environmental compliance. I lead EMS efforts at this plant.

Module 1, Scene 8

I'm Terry. I also work for Industrious Industries at our Headquarters location. I am responsible for environmental management across our company. Today, I'll be providing some information on EMS and why we chose to implement an EMS at this plant.

Module 1, Scene 9

I'm Andrew. I work for the EPA Regional office. I work with Nancy to help monitor compliance with regulations at facilities in this state.

Module 1, Scene 10

I'm Nancy. I work for your state environmental agency (SEA). Last year, I identified some minor compliance violations at this plant. Our agency has initiated some EMS efforts, so I'm happy to see that Industrious Industries is promoting this concept.

Module 1, Scene 11

I'm John. I work for the local chapter of Save the Environment. We interact with all of the facilities in the area to help them find better ways to protect the environment. Clyde was nice enough to invite me to this meeting so that I can learn more about EMS.

Module 1, Scene 12

Welcome to Industrious Industries. As you know, today we will be learning more about EMS. Our instructor will be Terry, who manages EMS and compliance efforts for Industrious Industries. Also, Nancy and Andrew will share some information about EMS, and EPA and the state's involvement in EMS. As this is an exploratory meeting, let's keep things informal and interactive. Terry, are we ready to get started?

Module 1, Scene 13

Thanks Clyde. I'm really happy to be here to share some information on EMS with all of you. I'm sure this will be a productive meeting. First, let's talk about what constitutes an EMS.

The chalkboard reads:

Click Here to go to module 2.

Top of Page

Module 2, Scene 1

Scene Note: Clyde and the other representatives are still seated at the conference room table in the meeting room of the facility.

The chalkboard reads:

Module 2
What is an EMS?

Module 2, Scene 2

Why don't we start with a little information on Industrious Industries and how we have traditionally managed environmental protection?

Module 2, Scene 3

Sure. Historically, Industrious Industries has focused on regulatory compliance approaches that allow the plant to meet its production schedule and comply with the law. Running into any compliance issues is bad for our reputation and also can impact our production schedule and business goals. Over time, we've also implemented some pollution prevention initiatives, but not in a systematic manner.

Module 2, Scene 4

That's right. Most recently, we have seen that environmental management and business practices are truly interrelated and we've focused on integrating environmental management into our business in a more systematic manner using EMS. EMS provides a framework for managing our environmental efforts in a systematic way that integrates with our overall business goals.

Module 2, Scene 5

I've heard that there are various models and standards for EMS. Which one does Industrious Industries use?

Module 2, Scene 6

There are several models that can be used to develop, implement and maintain an EMS. Industrious Industries uses the model described by the ISO 14001 Standard, which was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and builds on an approach developed many years ago by quality experts. It focuses on continual improvement through an ongoing cycle of actions called the Plan-Do-Check-Act or continual improvement cycle. We'll talk briefly about each of these components to explain the key steps that comprise an EMS.

Module 2, Scene 7

Chalkboard shows: "Plan, Do, Check, Act" diagram. The "Plan, Do, Check, Act" diagram is a circular image with arrows directing the viewer clockwise through the continual improvement cycle. Around the circle are five main boxes beginning at the 1o'clock position with the Environmental Policy, then onto 3 o'clock to the Planing phase, six o'clock is the Implementation phase, 9 o'clock is the is the Checking and Corrective Action phase, and then the Management Review phase located at 11 o'clock. The Management Review feeds back into the Planning phase to achieve changes required to attain and maintain the desired level of system effectiveness.

Module 2, Scene 8

Please note that EPA does not endorse any particular EMS model. However, EPA generally supports the implementation of all EMS models that promote sustained compliance, pollution prevention, community involvement, and continual improvement. We will provide additional information on EPA and state perspectives on EMS in Module 3.

Module 2, Scene 9

That's right. EPA supports the implementation of EMS, but does not mandate the manner in which we choose to implement it. At Industrious Industries we use the model previously illustrated on the chalkboard. I'll be talking about each of the components of this model in the remaining parts of this Module.

Module 2, Scene 10

An EMS begins with a strong ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY. This policy describes the company's approach to managing its environmental affairs and reflects its commitment to protecting human health and the environment. Commitment to the environmental policy must originate from, and be strongly supported by, top management. A recent study showed that companies showing the greatest environmental improvements have very strong upper management commitment. Our corporate president, Ms. Isabel Industrious, has pledged her complete support to our EMS. The environmental policy establishes a framework for environmental leadership and acts as a contract between the personnel of the organization and company stakeholders. Industrious Industries' environmental policy is shown on the chalkboard

Scene Note: (click the > button ).

Module 2, Scene 11

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Environmental Policy

Industrious Industries is committed to

  1. Maintaining compliance with all environmental laws and regulations,
  2. Implementing pollution prevention projects and programs where practical,
  3. Improving our environmental performance over time by setting and achieving objectives and targets, and
  4. Communicating with the public regarding our plans and progress in environmental management.

Module 2, Scene 12

Developing the environmental policy helps to lay the groundwork for the EMS PLANNING phase. In addition to the environmental policy, successful EMS implementation also requires:

  1. Ensuring that management is prepared to provide active support,
  2. Forming a multi-disciplinary EMS implementation team, and
  3. Holding a facility kick-off meeting to prepare everyone to implement the EMS.

Module 2, Scene 13

During this stage, we also developed the scope and budget for the EMS. It's important to define the scope of the EMS up front. Generally, the scope will be the facility's entire operation. However, for large companies or facilities, a specific production operation, production line, or support activity may have its own EMS.

Module 2, Scene 14

That's right. In addition, at this point it's important that management provides the resources needed for implementation. Now let's talk in more detail about the Plan-Do-Check-Act elements of an EMS. These phases, or steps, are the means used to achieve the environmental policy commitments we just discussed.

Module 2, Scene 15

The first Plan-Do-Check-Act step we'll discuss is PLANNING. The PLANNING phase is critical to all subsequent phases because it identifies what an organization does that can impact the environment. During this phase, the facility evaluates all activities that it conducts and products and services that it provides to identify environmental aspects associated with facility operations and potential environmental impacts. These terms are defined on the chalkboard.

Module 2, Scene 16

The Chalkboard expands and reads:


Environmental aspect - an element of an organization's activities, products, or services that can interact with the environment.

Environmental impact - any change to the environment, whether adverse or beneficial, wholly or partially resulting from an organization's activities, products, or services.

(Source: ISO 14001 Standard).

Module 2, Scene 17

Can you be more specific? Those definitions sound complicated.

Module 2, Scene 18

You're right, John. Aspects and impacts are a hard concept to grasp. Clyde, why don't we take a quick walk to the production line and perhaps I can explain these terms more clearly.

Module 2, Scene 19

Scene Note: The five representatives are now in an industrial plating shop within Industrious Industries. There are four dip tanks along the shop floor and the second dip tank in the process has spilled material around it on the shop floor. There is a steel arm overhead moving a widget through the plating process. An Industrious Industries employee is overseeing the process.

Do you see any activities here that have the potential to interact with the environment?

Module 2, Scene 20

Scene Note: A yellow flashing arrow appears and points at the Industrious Industries employee.

Well, yes. That worker is adding some sort of chemical to the tank over there. Does that mean chemical use is an environmental aspect?

Module 2, Scene 21

Scene Note: A yellow flashing arrow appears and points at the last of the four dip tanks.

Right. Also, that tank is being heated and the heating process, along with the chemical reactions taking place in the tank, are creating air emissions that we must control. The process of heating the material in the tank causes air emissions, which are an environmental aspect. Degradation of air quality would be an environmental impact.

Module 2, Scene 22

Now you are getting the idea.

Module 2, Scene 23

Scene Note: A yellow flashing arrow appears and points at the second dip tank, which has spilled material on the floor around it.

It also looks like there are some drips and spills from one of the tanks. Therefore, drips and spills must be environmental aspects.

Module 2, Scene 24

Yes, they are. If we don't collect and treat those properly, they can impact the soil and groundwater under the plant. Soil and groundwater contamination are environmental impacts. Spills and associated contamination were a big problem at older Industrious Industries plants. At this plant, we have control systems to prevent spills and minimize the impact that could be associated with any spills that do occur. We train workers specifically to help prevent spills and drips and provide equipment and containment to help prevent or reduce the "environmental impact" if a spill does occur.

Module 2, Scene 25

Scene Note: A yellow flashing arrow appears and points at the waste drum located at the end of the four dip tanks.

I see a drum collecting some hazardous waste at the end of the line. Is the generation of hazardous waste an aspect or an impact?

Module 2, Scene 26

Waste generation is an environmental aspect of a variety of activities. An impact associated with hazardous waste generation would be the potential for waste to be mismanaged and impact the environment through releases to air, soil, or groundwater. Another potential impact is the use of landfill space.

Module 2, Scene 27

Well, I hope that our tour has helped you understand the concept of aspects and impacts a little better. If you get confused as you begin to evaluate all of the aspects and impacts at Industrious Industries, you might want to think of an aspect as a potential cause and the impact as the actual effect of an operation or activity here at Industrious Industries. Well, let's go back to our meeting.

Module 2, Scene 28

Scene Note: The five representatives have returned to the meeting room and are seated back around the conference table.

To summarize, examples of environmental aspects are chemical use, energy use, use of natural resources, solid or hazardous waste generation, wastewater generation, noise, and water use. One more note. Environmental impacts can be positive or negative. We focus on reducing negative impacts and increasing positive ones. To read more about aspects and impacts for Industrious Industries, click here.

Scene Note: A table opens if the user selects to click. The table shows examples of Industrial Industries aspects and impacts.

Aspects Impacts
Chrome emission to atmosphere Degradation of air quality
Cyanide emissions for plating tank Worker exposure to cyanide
Generation of wastewater Water contamination
Water use Depletion of natural resources

Module 2, Scene 29

Wow, now that I think about it, this facility has a lot of aspects and impacts. How do you focus your efforts?

Module 2, Scene 30

Well, we first decide if we can control the aspect. For an EMS, we only focus on those aspects that we can control. For example, we can't control everything about how raw materials are made, but we do have control over who we purchase from, which materials we use, and how we manage those materials during our production process. So we focus on those things we can control. We also do not always have control over how electricity is generated at the power plant from which we purchase electricity, but we can exercise some control over how much electricity we use. After we identify environmental aspects we can control, we rank them using a predetermined set of criteria. Each company or facility must develop criteria that are important to achieving its specific environmental and business goals and meeting its environmental policy commitments.

Module 2, Scene 31

Once all of the environmental aspects are ranked according to the predetermined ranking criteria, the facility identifies a cut-off point to decide which environmental aspects will be considered important to the organization. The aspects that are determined to be important are called significant environmental aspects; these are the aspects that rank highest against the facility's specific criteria. Establishing these priorities allows management to focus the organization's resources on priority areas. Addressing significant environmental aspects will be discussed later as part of establishing objectives and targets.

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Some examples of ranking criteria that I have seen used at various types of facilities include those listed on the chalkboard.

Module 2, Scene 33

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Potential Ranking Criteria

Module 2, Scene 34

Thanks, Nancy; those are good examples. Another component of the PLANNING phase is identifying Legal and Other Requirements. For this part of planning, a facility should develop a specific procedure that describes how the facility will identify legal and other requirements that apply to its operations.

Module 2, Scene 35

At this facility, our Legal and Other Requirements Procedure describes how we gather information, analyze it, and identify the requirements that apply to our operations. Like other EMS procedures, it describes the who, what, where, when, why, and how for this activity. For this facility, our operations are regulated primarily under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Clean Air Act (CAA), and the Clean Water Act (CWA). We have also identified several other requirements that we voluntarily implement. For example, we are adhering to the company's policy to implement pollution prevention, improve environmental performance through objectives and targets, and communicate with the public on our environmental management progress.

Module 2, Scene 36

Thank you for that great overview of your legal and other requirements. I think you have your work cut out for you. What's next?

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Now that you have an understanding of our legal and other requirements, we will examine our aspects and impacts to identify specific objectives and targets. Check out the definitions on the chalkboard.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:


An overall environmental goal driven by the ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY that an organization sets out to achieve. An objective should be quantifiable, where practical.


A detailed performance requirement, applicable to all or part of the organization, that arises from the environmental objectives. Targets also should be quantifiable, whenever practical, and should support achievement of the environmental objectives.

Module 2, Scene 39

Objectives and targets are linked directly to specific aspects and impacts. Environmental objectives represent specific goals that are set, whereas targets provide quantitative or qualitative indicators of environmental performance against established goals. The point is that objectives and targets are designed to decrease negative aspects and impacts or increase positive impacts. In other words, objectives and associated targets are established to measure progress.

Module 2, Scene 40

Objectives and targets sound kind of similar. Can you give an example of an objective and a target?

Module 2, Scene 41

Sure. This plant currently generates hazardous waste from various processes used in the plating lines. We plan to reduce hazardous waste generation at the plant; this is an objective. The quantifiable target for that is to reduce hazardous waste generation by 10 percent by the year 2005, using hazardous waste generation in 2003 as a baseline. When you set objectives and targets, it is important to make sure that you have the ability to track and measure your performance; that is, you need to be able to measure progress. Then, during other stages of the EMS process, you can report on progress toward achieving the objectives and targets you set.

Module 2, Scene 42

To ensure that the company's aspects and impacts are clearly defined and that its objectives and targets can be met, it's useful to involve plant personnel that may be impacted by any changes. In addition, management must support the environmental policy and be willing to invest money and resources to achieve objectives and targets. Resources may be required to support training for facility personnel, the purchase of new equipment, time for meetings, and hiring outside consultants. Ultimately, management is responsible for providing adequate resources and being involved in the development, review, and approval of objectives and targets. Management personnel should appoint an EMS coordinator. The EMS coordinator is the specific management representative responsible for ensuring that the EMS is established, implemented, and maintained in accordance with facility-specific requirements.

Module 2, Scene 43

For our plant, I'm the EMS coordinator. The EMS objectives and targets Terry discussed are documented in our Environmental Management Program.

Module 2, Scene 44

That's right. The Environmental Management Program documents the actions required to implement and achieve objectives and targets. Other EMS models may use a different name for this document.

Module 2, Scene 45

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Environmental Management Program

An action plan that describes EMS objectives and targets; the program plan describes how the organization will translate its environmental goals and policy commitments into concrete actions to achieve environmental objectives and targets. It should describe: (1) responsibilities, (2) means, and (3) time frames.

In other words, the program should specify who will do what, how they will do it, and by when they will do it.

Module 2, Scene 46

One of the most important parts of achieving objectives and targets is for management to identify and designate a "champion" who is responsible for ensuring their achievement.

Module 2, Scene 47

For this plant, I'm the champion (in addition to being the coordinator). I know the facility and its environmental issues, work with the plant personnel, and see the benefit of implementing an EMS here. Also, Terry has made it very clear to me that implementation of the EMS is part of my job responsibility.

Module 2, Scene 48

Now that we've reviewed the PLANNING phase, let's talk about the IMPLEMENTATION phase. During this step, we do the things that we planned. Implementation includes a number of activities as shown on the chalkboard.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:


Module 2, Scene 50

Well, the first activity includes defining a management structure and associated roles and responsibilities for the EMS. We found that the groundwork for this activity was laid during the planning phase, when we developed environmental management programs designed to achieve objectives and targets.

Module 2, Scene 51

That's right, the steps build on, and support, each other. For the EMS, roles and responsibilities should be defined, documented, and communicated at all levels to facilitate effective implementation. To ensure that EMS roles are established and associated activities take place, job-specific EMS responsibilities should become a part of each individual's job description. Incentives also can be used - for example, some facilities provide incentives for employees to meet EMS requirements, through reward and recognition programs.

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Training is another key activity for implementation. Because EMS concepts are new to many employees and impact their daily activities, we can't expect success unless we teach them about our EMS and what they can and must do to support it.

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At this plant, we found that there are essentially two types of training needed. First, we developed an awareness training course to raise the level of awareness of all personnel about the content of our EMS, the company's environmental policy, our significant environmental aspects, objectives and targets, and the environmental commitments of management. The other type of training is job specific.

Module 2, Scene 54

Job-specific training is tailored to job types to ensure that workers understand the significant environmental aspects of their job functions and the potential impacts of not following EMS instructions. The training also reviews the benefits of improved environmental performance. For example, such training may include instruction on how to manage hazardous waste properly. Where EMS objectives and targets require changes to equipment or operations, workers also need to be trained regarding the changes required in how they perform their jobs.

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Another important element of the IMPLEMENTATION step is communication. This includes both internal and external communication to support continual improvement with respect to environmental protection. Internal communication focuses on communication within the plant and within our company. Communication channels must be created to ensure that the personnel that need information at any level and function will receive that information in a reasonable time frame. Personnel must also be able to forward suggestions and concerns about the EMS to those management personnel that can appropriately address such issues. It is quite helpful to allow all personnel the authority to identify system nonconformance or regulatory noncompliance and report such issues to the person responsible for managing the corrective and preventive action process. This helps to foster continual improvement. Of course, this only works well if employee suggestions and comments are appreciated and rewarded.

Module 2, Scene 56

The chalkboard shows some activities associated with internal communication at this plant and at other Industrious Industries facilities.

Module 2, Scene 57

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Examples of Internal Communication

Module 2, Scene 58

At this plant, we also have identified our external stakeholders and have implemented regular communication with them regarding our EMS. This group includes customers, vendors, suppliers, neighbors, and regulators. More importantly we have a procedure to receive and document external concerns and ensure an appropriate response in a timely manner. Here are some of the ways we

communicate with our external stakeholders:

Module 2, Scene 59

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Examples of External Communication

Module 2, Scene 60

Even before we implemented our EMS we were communicating externally.

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That's great. It also shows that this plant, like most other organizations, already has some of the elements of an EMS in place. The EMS simply helped to bring all of the elements together.

Module 2, Scene 62

Another activity associated with the IMPLEMENTATION step is documentation; this falls into two categories: (1) documentation that describes the EMS, and (2) other documentation related to the EMS.

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I believe that the first item includes your EMS manual, which describes the core elements of your EMS and provides direction to related documentation like management procedures, work instructions, and forms. The chalkboard shows examples of EMS documentation.

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The chalkboard expands and shows a pyramid of different levels of EMS documentation:

EMS Documentation Pyramid

Level I - Policy; system description
Level II - Operational and management procedures
Level III - Work instructions or standard procedures
Level IV - Plans and reference documents
Level V - Records

Module 2, Scene 65

Scene Note: The chalkboard continues to show the pyramid

Part of document management includes identifying each EMS document and its document retention period. Five levels of EMS documentation typically constitute the hierarchy. As you move down the pyramid, the level of detail and number of pages generally increase. Level I documents record leadership's stated intent and approach to environmental management. Level II documents define specific activities used by the organization and specifically identify the who, what, when, where, why, and how for these activities. Level III documents include detailed work instructions or checklists used by each group of the organization. Level IV documents are supporting information that typically includes example forms, labels, logs, and drawings. Level V includes the records which provide a written history of EMS performance and actions completed.

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That's right. The first level of EMS documentation includes the environmental policy and an overall description of the EMS. Subsequent levels include procedures and activity-specific documentation that support the EMS, including work instructions, emergency preparedness and response plans, training plans, and media-specific compliance plans.

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Because documentation is so important, we have a specific EMS Document Control procedure. At this point, examples of documents we manage as a part of our EMS is shown on the chalkboard.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:

EMS documents that should be controlled under the EMS Document Control Procedure are:

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For the EMS, we also developed and described the means and controls we use to make sure that EMS documentation is up to date and readily available to all employees. Our EMS Document Control Procedure describes how we manage our EMS documentation. It describes how documents are periodically reviewed and revised and how obsolete documents are promptly removed from all points of issue and use.

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The chalkboards expands and reads:

The EMS Document Control Procedure should address how EMS documents will be:

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Now let's talk about operational controls. Operational controls ensure that operations and activities do not exceed specified conditions or performance standards, or violate applicable regulations such as discharge limitations. Operational controls are used to support the EMS and can be physical controls, engineering controls, or administrative controls. The need for an operational control is based on the significant aspects and legal requirements identified earlier.

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For aspects that need to be controlled, we review whether existing physical controls (for example, berms, walls, and roofs), engineering controls (for example, alarms, level indicators, and gauges), and administrative controls (procedures and inspections) are sufficient. If they are not, we must develop an operational control. For example, we have developed operational controls on our plating lines regarding chemical use, production methods, and temperature control to support both high quality production and our EMS objectives and targets. These operational controls help ensure that specified conditions and performance standards are met.

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For example, at this plant we have an Operational Control Procedure that describes how our wastewater treatment plant will be operated to ensure compliance with Clean Water Act permit requirements regarding discharges to surface water from our facility.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:

Examples of activities that may require operational controls include:

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One of the goals should be to keep operational control procedures simple, focusing on the "who, what, where, when, how, and why" of getting the job done to meet both facility production and EMS requirements.

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Just as a note, for EPA's National Environmental Performance Track program, facilities must have operation and maintenance programs for equipment and operations that relate to legal and regulatory compliance and associated significant environmental aspects. We will talk more about this program later.

Module 2, Scene 77

Thanks Andrew. The last item under IMPLEMENTATION is emergency preparedness and response. Of course, this activity is critical whether you have an EMS or not. Industrious Industries facilities already have strong programs in this area (1) to comply with applicable environmental laws and corporate policy and (2) most importantly, to protect our personnel and those who live around our plant.

Module 2, Scene 78

Right. At this plant, we built on existing procedures and plans to develop our Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan for the EMS. One area we had to improve was the process for identifying the potential for emergencies and accidents. Typically, we had complied with applicable legal requirements. However, for our EMS we wanted to be more proactive and identify potential hazards that were not strictly regulated.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:

Items that should be addressed in the Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) program include:

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At Industrious Industries, we make sure that our EPR plans address relevant environmental regulations and the requirements of the EMS. This is helping us consolidate our EPR efforts so we have less documents and clear direction regarding what we need to do in the event of an emergency. This is sometimes referred to as integrated contingency planning. Important EPR items include identifying the potential for problems, testing the EPR plan annually, and updating the EPR plan, as necessary. The third step of the EMS cycle is CHECKING AND CORRECTIVE ACTION.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:

Checking and Corrective Action

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Now let's discuss the third step of the EMS cycle, CHECKING AND CORRECTIVE ACTION. Checking evaluates how we are doing and corrective action responds to any issues we identify. Questions we ask include: Are we doing what we said we would do? If not, why? Are we making progress toward our objectives and targets? Do we need to make any adjustments? If we properly set up the tracking mechanisms during our PLANNING and IMPLEMENTATION steps, checking simply represents making sure that everything is being done and evaluating results. This is where it all starts to tie together.

Module 2, Scene 83

The first item under the CHECKING AND CORRECTIVE ACTION phase is monitoring and measurement. This means that we track specific parameters that help us:

  1. Document that we are implementing the EMS,
  2. Determine if we are meeting our objectives and targets,
  3. Achieve operational control,
  4. Calibrate monitoring equipment, and
  5. Ensure compliance.

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Remember, for this first round we are focusing on what was significant during the initial PLANNING phase.

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To help illustrate the concept of monitoring and measurement, examples of items that we measure and monitor at this Industrious Industries plant are shown on the board.

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The chalkboard expands and reads:

Example monitoring and measurement items:

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How do you track all of that?

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Well, at Industrious Industries we use databases to track production data. We have modified some of these to track items such as those shown above. Employees either use a computer terminal at their work-station or complete daily or weekly logs that are then provided to our administrative personnel for data entry. It's a good amount of work, but it supports our production quality program as well as the EMS. Our production quality has improved at plants that implement monitoring and measurement efforts related to the EMS or related to quality improvement programs.

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Terry, who looks at all of that data?

Module 2, Scene 90

Well, our plant supervisors and managers use it for a variety of purposes, including determining if we are in conformance with the EMS. We also use it to plan for chemical and raw material purchasing, staffing, and similar items.

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Also, we post key data on our bulletin board to show how well we are doing; sharing information with staff helps us keep moving in a positive direction. The chalkboard shows an example of an EMS tracking chart for one of our production lines. The chart shows water use normalized per square foot of parts plated. We normalize most data we track to account for changes in our production levels.

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The chalkboard expands and shows a combination bar and line chart, titled:

Water Use Normalized Per Square Foot of Parts Plated

Scene Note: The chart shows gallons of water use in 1,000-gallons on the Y-axis. The second Y-axis shows production in 100 square foot plated. Months are shown on the X-axis. The trend of the line generally shows water use in production decreasing over time.

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This next chart shows our caustic soda use normalized to production.

Module 2, Scene 94

The chalkboard expands and shows a combination bar and line chart, titled:

Caustic Soda Use Per Square Foot Plated.

Scene Note: The chart shows caustic use in tons on the Y-axis, influient in million gallons on the second Y-axis, and months on the X-axis.

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We also track and try to reduce the number of rejected parts because hazardous waste is tripled when we generate reject parts.

Module 2, Scene 96

What do you mean hazardous waste generation is tripled when you generate a reject part?

Module 2, Scene 97

Well, we first generate waste to plate the part. Then we generate waste when we strip the part using toxic chemicals to remove the poor quality plating. Then we have to plate the part again and this generates more waste. So you can see that quality and the environment are interrelated.

Module 2, Scene 98


This brings us to our next EMS activity: non-conformance, checking, and preventive action. Despite our best efforts, non-conformance occasionally will occur and must be addressed. The chalkboard shows a definition of non-conformance.

Module 2, Scene 99

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Non-conformance -

When facility practices do not meet applicable EMS criteria or when EMS implementation is not consistent with the procedures described in the EMS.

Module 2, Scene 100

Can you give some examples of EMS non-conformance?

Module 2, Scene 101

Sure. The chalkboard shows some examples that we've run into at Industrious Industries.

Module 2, Scene 102

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Examples of non-conformance include:

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When problems occur, we try to identify the root cause of the problem to ensure that corrective and preventive action will be effective. The root cause is the reason WHY something is in non-conformance. For example, if a work instruction is not followed, it may be because there is a new worker that did not receive proper training. In that case, the work instruction is not the root cause of the problem, our training program is.

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Procedures should be established to define the responsibility and authority for handling and investigating non-conformance. Efforts are then implemented (1) to mitigate any impacts caused by the non-conformance and (2) to initiate corrective and preventive action. Reoccurrence of a non-conformance is prevented through implementation of operational controls, training, monitoring and measurement, and management review.

Module 2, Scene 105

The CHECKING AND CORRECTIVE ACTION phase also includes records. As we discussed earlier, records are one level of EMS documentation. Records are objective evidence that prove EMS activities have been performed or that desired results have been achieved.

Module 2, Scene 106

Are records the same as procedures?

Module 2, Scene 107

No. Procedures are prescriptive and tell you what to do; records are objective and provide evidence of the results of following a procedure. For example, we have an Operational Control Procedure for our wastewater treatment plant. It states what we will do when we treat wastewater and how we will do it. The wastewater treatment system log sheets and our database document that the procedure is followed and track our results; this comprises the record for that procedure.

Module 2, Scene 108

Basically, records document that you are doing what you said you would do within your EMS, including: training, setting of objectives and targets, identifying legal and other requirements, implementing operational controls, and following EMS system-level procedures. When you audit the EMS, records are one type of documentation that will be reviewed.

Module 2, Scene 109

Right. Records provide a means of tracking the history of our EMS progress. Because they are part of the EMS and will be audited, EMS records must be kept in good order and should be readily retrievable. That is one reason that records are addressed in the EMS Document Control Procedure we discussed earlier. This brings us to the last item under CHECKING AND CORRECTIVE ACTION, EMS Audits.

Module 2, Scene 110

EMS audits check that the EMS system is implemented as planned. EMS audits are conducted internally or by outside parties to make sure the system is working or to support criteria related to certifications or participation in voluntary programs. For example, the EPA National Environmental Performance Track program expects members to conduct EMS auditing and prepare annual reports that document progress towards meeting EMS objectives and targets. Also, EPA conducts site visits at selected member facilities in the program to help maintain program credibility.

Module 2, Scene 111

I have seen some companies advertise that they are ISO registered. What does that mean?

Module 2, Scene 112

Well, for facilities that choose to implement an EMS that conforms to the ISO 14001 Standard, there is a formal registration they can receive. EMS auditors working for an organization that is accredited by ISO's Registrar Accreditation Board (RAB) will audit the facility's EMS to document that the EMS is implemented in conformance with the requirements of the standard. Once a facility passes such an audit, the facility can claim that it is an ISO 14001 registered organization. The registration may help you compete with other companies in your industry. For example, most of the large automakers require that their suppliers are ISO 14001 registered.

Module 2, Scene 113

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Management Review

Module 2, Scene 114

Well, the next step in the EMS cycle is MANAGEMENT REVIEW. This is where people like me come back into the picture. It is good to have a management review procedure to ensure that top management periodically meets to evaluate the EMS. Management needs to ensure that the system is implemented as planned and that it is producing the expected results. Management reviews are one key to continual improvement and help ensure that the EMS will continue to meet the organization's needs over time.

Module 2, Scene 115

What types of things do you consider during your MANAGEMENT REVIEW?

Module 2, Scene 116

Some examples are provided on the chalkboard.

Module 2, Scene 117

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Management Review

Examples of information considered during management review:

Module 2, Scene 118

The MANAGEMENT REVIEW phase not only considers where things stand, but makes sure that resources are available to make them better. Here we begin to look forward and start to plan our improvements. This returns us to the PLANNING phase of the EMS cycle. In closing, I'd like to reemphasize our commitment to EMS. Also, we've been happy to see EPA is endorsing the use of EMS. I thought perhaps our guests could discuss EPA's EMS perspective. Andrew, would you like to lead that discussion?

Module 2, Scene 119


Module 2, Scene 120

Scene Note: The chalkboard says: Click Here to go to Module 2 Quiz

Module 2 - What is an EMS? - Quiz

1. Which of the following is not a major component of an EMS?

  1. Planning
  2. Implementation
  3. Management Review
  4. Checking and Corrective Action
  5. Responding to Notices of Violation

Answer: E. Responding to Notices of Violation

Responding to notices of violation is a subset of corrective action under the broader heading of "checking and corrective action."

2. An environmental policy:

  1. Must be supported by top management
  2. Establishes a framework for environmental leadership
  3. Acts as a contract between personnel of the organization and company stakeholders
  4. Is the first step in implementing an EMS
  5. All of the above

Answer: E. All of the above

3. An EMS should include provisions designed to:

  1. Achieve compliance with legal and other requirements
  2. Promote pollution prevention
  3. Communicate with affected stakeholders
  4. B and C
  5. All of the above

Answer: E. All of the above

An EMS should include a policy that supports pollution prevention as well as procedures for complying with legal and other requirements and communicating with internal and external stakeholders such as suppliers, vendors, the community, and personnel from regulatory agencies.

4. Please complete the following statement: The generation of hazardous waste is (an):

  1. Environmental impact
  2. Environmental aspect
  3. Both of the above
  4. Neither of the above

Answer: B. Environmental aspect

The generation of a hazardous waste is an environmental aspect. Any release of a hazardous waste, such as a release to soil, would be an environmental impact.

5. Which of the following is not true about EMS objectives and targets?

  1. Facility personnel should strive to make targets quantifiable, but this approach is not always necessary for objectives
  2. Targets are detailed performance requirements that are designed to support the achievement of objectives
  3. An EMS should include systems to track and measure progress against objectives and targets

Answer: B. Facility personnel should strive to make targets quantifiable, but this approach is not necessary for objectives

Facility personnel should strive to make both EMS objectives and targets quantifiable, where practical, and should develop systems in the EMS to enable facility personnel to track and measure progress against objectives and targets.

6. An environmental management program is not:

  1. An action plan that describes EMS objectives and targets
  2. A statement of the organization's environmental policy
  3. A document that describes how organizations will translate environmental goals and commitments into action
  4. A document that includes responsibilities, means, and time frames

Answer: B. A statement of the organization's environmental policy

An environmental management program is a component of the EMS Planning phase; a statement of environmental policy should be developed before the EMS Planning phase.

7. True or false - Training staff is not necessary for successful implementation of an EMS.

  1. True
  2. False

Answer: B. False

EMS concepts likely will be new to many employees and will impact their day-to-day activities. An EMS will not be successful unless staff are trained on why the EMS is being implemented and what they can do to help.

8. Which of the following is likely least important to discuss during the Management Review phase of an EMS?

  1. Results of an EMS Audit
  2. Environmental aspects and impacts
  3. Strategies for managing regulators during inspections
  4. Actual or potential changes to legal requirements

Answer: C. Strategies for managing regulators during inspections

Because an EMS is designed to include proactive approaches to managing environmental obligations, a management review of an EMS should focus on proactive, EMS-related items. Reactive approaches (such as strategies for managing regulators during inspections) should be of less importance to facility management during the EMS management review.

Proceed to Module 3

Top of Page

Module 3, Scene 1

Scene Note: The five representatives are sitting at the conference room table in the meeting room at the facility.

The chalkboard reads:

Module 3
EPA's Perspective on EMS

Module 3, Scene 2

Okay, let's talk about EPA's perspective on EMS. Generally speaking, EPA believes that an effectively designed and operated EMS is advantageous to businesses and can play a role at facilities that are regulated by a number of statutes (for example, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, also known as RCRA, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act). Because EMS is a proactive approach to environmental management, it can create an environment that supports regulators and the regulated community working together efficiently and effectively. The chalkboard shows an explanation of EMS that I like.

Module 3, Scene 3

The chalkboard reads:

An EMS serves the organization and its mission. Implementing EMS is a process, not an end result. It's the people and their actions, not their words and aspirations. Improvement rests on changing attitudes and behaviors to want to, not have to.

Module 3, Scene 4

If a company has an EMS, does that ensure it will be in compliance with all environmental laws?

Module 3, Scene 5

That's a good question John. While there are no guarantees of 100 percent compliance

with environmental regulations, EPA believes that a well-run EMS can improve a facility's environmental performance. Strong initial implementation and a commitment to sustaining EMS efforts are important to EMS success, including sustained compliance and continual environmental improvement.

Module 3, Scene 6

It seems to me that many systems could be called an EMS. Does EPA have a more specific idea about what type of EMS a facility should implement?

Module 3, Scene 7

There are many approaches to EMS. At a minimum, all facilities must have some method for addressing environmental requirements and achieving compliance. In the past, facilities often had a number of media-specific systems or programs in place, each focusing on complying with specific laws (for example, the Clean Air Act). Also, facilities often relied on reactive systems that responded to problems as they occurred. In contrast, an EMS employs a proactive and holistic approach that deals with all environmental obligations in a systematic manner. EPA encourages the use of recognized environmental management frameworks, such as the ISO 14001, as a basis for designing and implementing an EMS.

Module 3, Scene 8


EPA supports and promotes the development and use of any EMS that helps the organization achieve its environmental obligations and improve its long-term environmental performance. While we don't require or endorse a specific EMS standard, we are familiar with a number of models that could be used (e.g., the EXIT EPA symbol.)

In addition, EPA has developed EMS templates and tools for a number of industry sectors, for small businesses, and for federal facilities, like Army bases. Learn more about different models and templates.

Module 3, Scene 9

As we discussed earlier, perhaps the most well recognized and formalized EMS approach is the ISO 14001 Standard for EMS. However, EPA supports any Plan-Do-Check-Act approach that can help to improve environmental performance.

Module 3, Scene 10

That's right. EPA's position on EMS is documented in a May 2002 Position Statement on EMS. The EPA Administrator signed this position statement, which includes the following principles of continual improvement:

Module 3, Scene 11

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Module 3, Scene 12

What about EPA? You are telling facilities and other organizations that EMS is a good idea. Are you doing anything to implement EMS within EPA itself?

Module 3, Scene 13

As a matter of fact, we are. EPA has developed its own Policy on EMS that includes a number of internal commitments as shown on the chalkboard:

Module 3, Scene 14

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Module 3, Scene 15

I'm glad to hear EPA is also implementing EMS. Where can I learn more about EPA tools and resources to support EMS?

Module 3, Scene 16

The main EPA EMS Web Page, is a good starting point. It links to a range of documents and sites where tools and resources are available.

In addition, it links to EPA's Innovation Strategy, which includes EMS as a key innovation action item. Finally, EPA is developing various guidance documents and policy statements that encourage users to integrate an EMS into their permitting and compliance efforts. For example, in April 2004 EPA released a Strategy for Determining the Role of Environmental Management Systems in Regulatory Programs. The strategy addresses how EPA may consider EMSs in permits and regulations.

Module 3, Scene 17

In addition, EPA is implementing voluntary recognition programs, such as the EPA National Environmental Performance Track Program. The program's criteria require the implementation of EMS. The program provides recognition and some regulatory flexibility for members that are in good standing with the criteria of the program.

Module 3, Scene 18

Can you tell us a little more about the Innovations Strategy and the National Environmental Performance Track Program you just mentioned?

Module 3, Scene 19

Sure. The purpose of EPA's Innovation Strategy is to address the need for a broader set of tools than EPA has relied upon in the past. This broader set of tools will help EPA address increasingly complex and interrelated environmental challenges, including those that focus on protecting our air, water, and land and finding ways to achieve environmentally sustainable growth. Expanding the use of EMS is one of EPA's 14 Key Actions associated with the Innovation Strategy.

Module 3, Scene 20

EPA's National Environmental Performance Track Program, was designed to recognize and reward good environmental performers. This program offers recognition and regulatory incentives to organizations with good compliance records and EMSs that focus on sustained compliance, pollution prevention, community involvement, and continual improvement in environmental performance.

Module 3, Scene 21

In addition, EPA headquarters offices and EPA regions have developed and tested EMS templates, or guidance documents, for specific government and industry sectors, for example:

local governments, metal finishing, colleges and universities, and other sectors.

Module 3, Scene 22

Why would there be specific guidance documents and sector initiatives? Are there different standards for EMS for each industry?

Module 3, Scene 23

That's a good question. The EMS standards are not specific to any industry or group. However, each industry or group has particular compliance, waste management, and other environmental challenges and regulations that must be addressed. Therefore, the tailored guides include information that is more specific to each group's needs.

Module 3, Scene 24

We have found these sector specific materials to be very useful. You can learn more about EPA's EMS sector initiatives by visiting EPA Sectors Strategies Division Web Site. EPA also promotes EMS through several voluntary partnership programs and by encouraging the consideration of EMS approaches when addressing compliance issues. EPA policy and guidance documents on EMS provide more information on how EMS approaches can be integrated into such efforts. A good source for general information and for links to other EPA and non-EPA programs is the main EPA EMS Web Site.


Module 3, Scene 25

How is EPA's EMS effort organized?

Module 3, Scene 26

Well, different offices focus on EMS efforts that support their programs and efforts. The EPA Office of Water has focused on EMS initiatives with local governments and has launched a national Public Entity EMS Resource (PEER) Center to provide on-line EMS resource information and assistance to public entities. In addition to a National PEER Center, eight local Resource Centers have been established.

Module 3, Scene 27

EPA's Office of Solid Waste, OSW (renamed Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery, ORCR, on January 18, 2009) encourages the widespread adoption of successful, high quality EMSs at facilities regulated under RCRA. ORCR also works to ensure that, at a minimum, the RCRA permitting program is constructed in a manner that allows for, and facilitates, EMS implementation with an emphasis on continual pollution prevention, improved environmental performance, and regulatory compliance.

Module 3, Scene 28

ORCR is working with the EPA Regions and States to use EMS as a tool in voluntary programs and to conduct pilot programs for potential changes in permitting programs that allow EMS-based changes to be made. Finally, ORCR is sharing EMS information with its Regional and state partners and developing appropriate assistance programs. If you would like more information about ORCR EMS efforts, you can read the following EPA Fact Sheet (PDF) (2 pp, 973K, About PDF)

Module 3, Scene 29

That sounds good. But I am more involved at the local level. What is going on in the EPA Regions and States?

Module 3, Scene 30

Your local branches of the EPA, called Regions, also are implementing EMS initiatives. You can learn more about efforts in your area by visiting the EPA Regional Web Pages.

EPA Regional Offices and State programs are implementing EMS efforts that focus internally on their own organizations and externally on the communities in which they are located and the facilities that they regulate.

Module 3, Scene 31

You can also refer to EPA Regional and Other EMS Assistance Programs Exit EPA for EPA-related EMS programs and links to some EPA Regional EMS Programs. Other examples include the Design for the Environment EMS Implementation Guide, efforts by the Office of the Small Business Ombudsman, and the work of Compliance Assistance Centers. Links to all of these are available on the EPA EMS Web Site.

Module 3, Scene 32

Wow. There is a lot going on.

Module 3, Scene 33

There sure is. Also, you should note that the specific programs and opportunities for your business and area also depend on your state. Nancy, perhaps you can talk about state efforts related to EMS.

Module 3, Scene 34

Sure. A good number of states have voluntary EMS programs, provide EMS technical assistance, or provide EMS training opportunities. For example, the Texas EMS Program provides incentives for regulated entities that adopt and implement a results-based EMS. To receive incentives, regulated entities must have an EMS approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) either through a TCEQ audit or through an approved third party audit. The state also provides technical assistance and training support.

Module 3, Scene 35

I also know that the California EPA has an EMS and Sustainability Program Exit EPA which includes a focus on pilot projects and other efforts that will help determine if EMS increases public health and environmental protection, and provides better public information than existing regulatory requirements.

Module 3, Scene 36

Yes. Texas and California are just two examples. I certainly can't cover each state during this meeting. However, I would like to stress that many states are supporting EMS efforts. You can check with your EPA Regional or state environmental agency web sites or call these entities to learn more about specific incentives, assistance, and programs in each state.

Module 3, Scene 37

The chalkboard reads:

Click Here to go to Module 3 Quiz

Module 3, EPA's Perspective on EMS - Quiz

1. True or False: - EPA has developed EMS templates or guidance documents for specific industrial sectors:

  1. True
  2. False

Answer: A. True

EPA has developed EMS templates or guidance documents for industrial sectors such as local governments, the metal finishing industry, and colleges and universities. Additional information about sector-specific EMS materials prepared by EPA can be found on the EPA Sector Strategies Division Web Site.

2. Which of the following entities has developed specific EMS policies and programs?

A. EPA Headquarters

  1. EPA Regions
  2. State Environmental Agencies
  3. All of the above

Answer: D. All of the above

Depending upon the region of the county in which you are located, there may be multiple EMS policies or programs that apply in your area. Interested parties should check with the appropriate EPA Regional office or state environmental agency for more information.

3. Which of the following is an EPA voluntary program that encourages the use of EMS and provides recognition to participants in the program?

  1. National Environmental Performance Track Program
  2. EMS and Sustainability Program
  3. EPA's Innovation Strategy

Answer: A. National Environmental Performance Track Program

The National Environmental Performance Track Program encourages the use of EMS and provides recognition and some regulatory flexibility for participants that are in good standing relative to the criteria for the program. The EMS and Sustainability Program is a program that has been implemented in the state of California to determine the impact of EMS implementation on public health and environmental protection and the effectiveness of communication efforts toward stakeholders. EPA's Innovation Strategy is a comparatively broader effort that is designed to encourage innovative methods of solving environmental problems, of which EMS initiatives are one part.

Proceed to Module 4

Top of Page

Module 4, Scene 1

The chalkboard reads:

Module 4
Benefits and Challenges of EMS

Module 4, Scene 2

We have covered a lot of information today. We learned about EMS and EPA's perspective on EMS. It's important to remember that the specific design and implementation of an EMS is different in each and every organization. The effectiveness of the system is highly dependent upon an organization's commitment to establish and maintain an effective system. I thought we could end our meeting by reviewing some benefits and challenges associated with EMS.

Module 4, Scene 3

Potential benefits of EMS are summarized on the chalkboard.

Module 4, Scene 4

The chalkboard expands and reads:

An EMS may help you:

Module 4, Scene 5

However, developing and implementing an EMS may involve some costs and pose challenges, including those shown on the chalkboard.

Module 4, Scene 6

The chalkboards expands and reads:

Potential costs and challenges associated with EMS:

Module 4, Scene 7

Those are good examples of benefits and challenges. EPA also has some materials explaining the business case for EMS (for example, EMS Business Advantage (PDF) (8 pp, 435K, About PDF)

Module 4, Scene 8

Well, I've been looking into that and there are lots of resources. For example, part of the EXIT EPA SYMBOL University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill EMS Study effort includes maintaining a national database of EMS implementation. This effort included collecting data on EMS implementation for a number of years and has resulted in the preparation of a report that documents results of EMS implementation in regards to helping facilities improve environmental performance. You can also learn more about EMS efforts by visiting web sites, such as those that were listed in Module 3. For example, information on the results of implementation of EMS at local governments is included on the EPA Office of Water EMS Web Page.

Module 4, Scene 9

Well, I wish we had more time to go into case studies, but we need to wrap up this meeting. I strongly encourage you to check the resources we've listed and search for more resources regarding EMS benefits, challenges, and results. Based on all that you have heard today, do you have any questions or comments?

Module 4, Scene 10

Based on our discussions today, I can see that EPA and some states strongly support EMS. Do you think that EPA or the states eventually will require facilities to have an EMS?

Module 4, Scene 11

Generally speaking, EPA supports the idea of voluntary EMS. EPA supports and promotes the development and use of any EMS that helps an organization achieve its environmental obligations and improve its long-term environmental performance. However, EPA does not require EMS implementation.

Module 4, Scene 12

On a more business-driven note, some major corporations are requiring that their suppliers implement EMS, or even obtain ISO 14001 registration. At Industrious Industries, we are focusing on implementing an EMS to remain competitive and improve our environmental performance.

Module 4, Scene 13

Recently, we have been approached by companies that sell EMS software. Is a software system necessary to implement a functioning EMS?

Module 4, Scene 14

Well, some of those software packages can be helpful in implementing an EMS, but they may not be necessary or appropriate for all facilities. The chalkboard shows some things you may want to consider when considering EMS software purchases or development.

Module 4, Scene 15

The chalkboard expands and reads:

Module 4, Scene 16

Industrious Industries has found that a well-designed software package can help us with our EMS efforts. However, the tool is only as good as the data it incorporates and the manner in which it is maintained and used. In addition, you should make sure that the software has all of the features you want for your particular EMS. That's why Industrious Industries generally develops its own simple tracking sheets or modifies databases we already use for production to incorporate EMS parameters and measurement and monitoring.

Module 4, Scene 17


Those are good points. I would recommend that you do thorough research before committing to any large purchase of an EMS software package. Depending on the size of the business and scope of the EMS, a fancy software package may not be necessary. You should get through the PLANNING phase of your EMS before making decisions about what your particular needs are.

Module 4, Scene 18

Who at Industrious Industries or any other business is responsible for making the EMS happen and who is going to do the activities like aspects and impacts assessment and ranking, procedure writing, and everything else to keep the cycle of continual improvement progressing?

Module 4, Scene 19

John, that is a critical question. The people leading and managing EMS implementation can vary at each business. However, one factor is the same at every organization that implements EMS - in order for a business to have a successful EMS, each employee must be involved. This may sound like an exaggeration, but an EMS is a cultural shift within an organization. It takes resources, time, education, and involvement to succeed.

Module 4, Scene 20

That's right. Here at Industrious Industries, I am a corporate environmental manager. My job includes making sure that facilities are in compliance with the law. In addition, I am responsible for implementing EMS at our plants. I work with the right people at each plant to develop the core EMS team. But all employees are involved in some way. Finally, I meet quarterly with the President and Board of Industrious Industries to report on EMS progress and resulting benefits. The involvement of corporate leadership, the EMS team, and indeed the entire company are critical to establishing a fully functioning, high-quality EMS.

Module 4, Scene 21

Well, thanks for coming to our plant to learn more about EMS. I hope all of you will continue to research EMS and consider ways that you can apply these concepts to environmental management.

Module 4 - Benefits and Challenges of EMS - Quiz

1. True or False: A complex software system and/or databases will always be required for the effective implementation of an EMS.

  1. True
  2. False

Answer: B. False

Depending upon the size and complexity of a facility's operations, software or databases may not be necessary to implement a fully-functioning EMS. However, such tools may be useful as part of the process of implementing an EMS.

2. Which of the following may not be required to develop an EMS:

  1. Commitment of senior management
  2. Major rewriting of facility or corporate business plans
  3. Long-term commitment to an EMS program
  4. Internal resources, including staff time and provision of training

Answer: B. Major rewriting of facility or corporate business plans

Although items such as senior management commitment and use of internal resources are necessary for an effective EMS, typically major restructuring of existing business plans is not.

This is the end of the course.

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