Implementation of an effective system of environmental management

Length: 911 words

At the first stage in implementing a system of environmental management UK COAL defined responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities for environmental management across the company. These the company defined for those aspects of the WELBECK’s activities, products or services that affect or potentially affect the environment as well as for the development and implementation of the system. The main starting point for this was that all employees had environmental responsibilities, not just those whose functions are solely environmental in nature (Blair 90).

Job descriptions and performance appraisals explicitly addressed environmental responsibilities. Considering a system of environmental management of the company, the specific responsibilities include responsibility for implementation and maintenance of the management system. This includes the management of documentation and records. Managers are reporting on the performance of the system, identify environmental aspects and impacts. Managers also identify, implement and verify corrective actions, implement and monitor management controls such as training, environmental procedures and emergency response procedures.

The definition of responsibilities, accountabilities and authorities is considered at three main levels within WELBECK. At first, at senior management and board level, then at middle manager level and at employee level. Besides, the environmental manager (or system manager) have specific

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responsibilities allocated as part of this process. In UK COAL, senior management (for example, the board, CEO and general managers) is responsible for defining the strategic approach for the company and for ensuring that this approach is implemented.

Considering environmental management, this starts with the definition of the environmental policy and the objectives and targets. Senior management is responsible for the supply of suitable resources. It also ensures that the system of environmental management is effectively implemented. This comprises the allocation of resources for system maintenance and improvement as well as for achieving the defined objectives and targets. Besides, senior management needs to review the performance of the company in achieving the environmental policy and environmental objectives and targets.

The second issue to be important is the risk when the environmental manager becomes the ‘doer’ as well as the manager. In UK COAL, the environmental manager becomes responsible for issues that really should be the responsibility of line managers or other individuals within the company. This is because meeting environmental requirements is often not considered an integral part of other managers’ responsibilities. That is, environmental management is considered as a low priority, to be addressed once all other issues have been addressed.

As a result, line managers do not accept full responsibility for environmental management within their activities. As a result the environmental manager is taking on additional work in order to ensure the system continues to work. Therefore the overall performance of the system is dependent on the performance of a single individual. In this case the system can fail when this responsible individual leaves the position. Operational control Operational control includes the development and implementation of procedures. Operational control is used for those activities that have, or potentially have, significant environmental effects.

Procedures define the why how activities and operations are carried out. This ensures that adverse environmental impacts are minimised and that the WELBECK’s environmental policy and environmental objectives and targets are achieved. The adoption of these procedures provided a degree of confidence that identified environmental impacts could be properly managed all the time. At first, managers identify those activities and operations that are associated with significant environmental impacts. It is important to ensure that the activities and operations are within the scope of the company’s control.

These activities are identified as part of the initial environmental review. Procedures (Ekins 45): • give a brief description of the goal of the procedure; • show how the activity is to be carried out; • identify the safeguards or control measures to be adopted; • describe in details what is to be done in the event of an accident or a deviation from some conditions; • give operating criteria such as specifying emission limits or giving the range of operating conditions; • give reference to other information necessary to conduct the activity;

• define reporting requirements, verification requirements and corrective action requirements; • proposes monitoring requirements that include specifications for the calibration of monitoring equipment; and • give routine maintenance requirements (for instance, cleaning of elements) and requirements for major overhauls of equipment. It is not enough to simply write a procedure and then require that the procedure be followed by employees (Burton 123). Those employees who implement the procedure are involved in its development. This ensures that the procedure reflects running work practices and activities.

This also gives a chance to report any changes that may be required to existing practices and activities. Including employees in procedure development means to involve them in the broader development and implementation of the management system. This is extremely useful in helping to create employee ownership of the system. Besides, having involved employees and operators in the development of procedures gives an opportunity to use and record knowledge that could otherwise be lost to the company. Documentation Documentation is required in UK COAL to explain how mines work.

That is, documentation gives information to the employees and provides guidance on specific aspects of the company’s operations, products, activities and services. The documentation includes guidelines for the implementation of the management system, reference materials, for example, environmental policy, copies of regulations, standards and licences, registers of environmental effects, objectives and targets, monitoring records and performance reports, position descriptions, procedures and company charts. In other words, the documentation provides a road map to the system and how the system works.

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