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Environmental Compliance: 7 Ways to Create a More Sustainable Job Site

Environmental compliance represented by secured oil storage containers.

Environmental compliance is becoming increasingly critical in high-hazard industries worldwide, and companies must ensure their teams follow all applicable regulations to foster a safe environment for workers and surrounding communities. However, ESG and sustainability-focused programs are relatively new considerations for many businesses.

This article discusses seven strategies these companies might consider to jumpstart their green-friendly initiatives.

What Is Environmental Compliance?

Environmental compliance is meeting laws and regulations designed to help safeguard the environment. The practice requires companies to:

  • Clean up existing contaminations on job sites.
  • Establish policies and programs to promote ongoing compliance.
  • Conduct due diligence to avoid violating regulations.

It requires companies to understand what laws apply to their property and activities based on their geographic location and what regulatory bodies oversee their operations.

7 Strategies to Improve Environmental Compliance on Job Sites

1. Identify the Relevant Regulations

Compliance begins with evaluating each existing and prospective property and facility. Their physical location and type will significantly influence compliance rules, as specific global regions are often subject to stricter requirements than others, as are specific industries, such as:

  • Mining
  • Chemical
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and Gas

Companies must be aware of the variables that impact their compliance requirements and ensure they employ the correct experts who can help find and meet the necessary rules and regulations.

2. Train the Entire Team

Every onsite worker can unintentionally create an unsafe situation without proper instruction, making it imperative for management to develop a companywide training program.

Successful training programs might include the following vital elements:

  • Ongoing and evolving training. Management should hold compliance and workplace safety training regularly and update these programs to address environmental hazards and prepare for new projects.
  • Inclusion. Companies should ensure that all workers take part in these training programs to acquire comprehensive knowledge of procedures to foster a safer and more sustainable job site.
  • Continuous improvement. Safety teams should review the program’s effectiveness throughout the year to identify areas for improvement.

Ongoing learning opportunities that reflect current conditions are crucial to preserving job site safety and protecting the lives and well-being of workers.

3. Assess Equipment

Using the right equipment is an integral step in environmental compliance. It includes all instruments workers use during any task and equipment or gear they bring to worksites.

It is critical that safety teams test and inspect this equipment regularly and not assume that all instruments are in perfect working order simply because they are new or hardly used. Routine equipment testing will aid in finding malfunctions that might become an environmental danger.

4. Review and Study Previous Incidents

While all companies should strive to avoid environmental mishaps, accidents are almost always inevitable. However, those incidents can help companies prevent similar issues in the future.

Management should consider taking the following steps to use earlier accidents as a mirror to foresee and prevent future ones:

  • Analyze incidents and near-misses. Identify and review every incident and near-miss to understand the factors involved in each instance.
  • Find root causes. Next, review those factors and determine the potential causes of each instance.
  • Develop prevention strategies. Use the root causes to identify ways to prevent the instances from happening again.
  • Update the training program. As discussed earlier, management should use its findings to revise the environmental compliance training program.

These steps should help companies find future hazards better, allowing them to enhance workplace safety plans.

5. Execute an Environmental Compliance Plan

Companies should not wait for a regulatory body to intervene before proactively developing and executing a plan, as they can often save substantial time and money by getting ahead of potential compliance issues.

The complexity of that plan might depend on the company’s size. They might need an in-house, full-time compliance officer responsible for developing and executing the plan. On the other hand, they may hire an experienced third-party solutions provider to help carry out initiatives.

6. Set up a Risk Management Process

Any ESG or sustainability compliance should involve more than simply adhering to all current regulations. Regulatory bodies often change and update these rules as new situations arise, requiring companies to review regulations to always remain aware of any changes.

Maintaining awareness and adapting to changing rules requires taking specific steps to establish a risk management process. Those steps might include the following:

  • Foster a culture of transparency where management communicates potential environmental hazards and mitigation strategies to all employees.
  • Create contingency plans and communicate them to onsite workers.
  • Seek help on policy infrastructure to minimize worksite environmental risks.
  • Conduct a SWOT analysis to find and address potential environmental concerns.

Regulations change as situations do, meaning current rules may not address new potential dangers and require updates. Management should always consider this when developing workplace protocols for environmental compliance.

7. Create the Proper Communication Channels

Companies should continually assess all potential risk factors and communicate them to all job site workers. Management might also consider preparing and disseminating written documents that outline these risks. To further improve communication between all parties, companies might consider the following tactics:

  • Plan better. Clarify company goals through logical thinking and well-planned and organized messaging.
  • Stress positivity. Create an environment for the positive and productive exchange of ideas.
  • Encourage interaction.Promote two-way dialogues and take employee concerns and suggestions into consideration.
  • Be clear. Remove obstacles that hinder the communication process by offering concise messaging that clearly defines expectations.

Poor communication can result in accidents, non-compliance, and environmental dangers to surrounding communities. However, companies can avoid communication breakdowns by fostering open and transparent communication.

Proper Compliance Requires the Best Risk Management Solutions

Ensuring environmental compliance is a critical factor in pursuing a sustainable and eco-friendly future. By following the steps above, companies can establish a culture of environmental stewardship and pave the way for future generations to enjoy a healthier coexistence with our planet.

However, fully leveraging these steps and fulfilling your obligations requires partnering with a third-party industry expert who can guide you through the current compliance process and help you prepare for future ones. As such, consider working with us to configure an ESG solution that meets your current needs but can adapt as your situation changes.

Contact us today to learn more.

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