Magazine article Security Management

Establishing an Environmental Excellence Program

Magazine article Security Management

Establishing an Environmental Excellence Program

Article excerpt

In 1990, senior management at Texas Instruments (TI) in Johnson City, Tennessee, decided that the time and labor needed to manage its environmental compliance program were too high. In response, TI set up an internal improvement team to develop an environmental excellence program that would reduce cost by reducing risk - all the while maintaining full compliance with regulations.

Over the next two years, the improvement team worked with the facility's security manager to create the environmental excellence program. By the end of 1992, solid waste produced by the plant per year was slashed in half, falling from nearly two million pounds to one million pounds. Waste water contaminant levels at the plant fell from nearly twenty pounds in discharges per year to less than five pounds and air emissions decreased from about 40,000 pounds a year to almost nothing.

The program's success can be attributed to a multistep program that was implemented over time and included gaining senior management support, assembling an environmental safety team, communicating the program to employees, identifying risk and responding to emergencies, monitoring for improvements and changes, and rewarding employees for supporting the program.

Management support. Winning senior management's support is easiest when program benefits to the bottom line are made clear. The presenter - usually but not necessarily the security manager - should be prepared to show evidence of the cost of non-compliance, accidents, and environmental exposures. This evidence would include the cost of workers' compensation paid to employees as well as the cost of reporting and resolving cases, preparing OSHA 200 reports that record yearly accident totals, and paying insurance premium increases tied to the company's accident or risk rate. Also relevant are the cost of reporting and cleaning up spills, accident investigations and corrections, and the cost of lost production (which is usually eight to thirty times the cost of the accident). The security manager should also discuss the cost of maintaining a hazardous materials team and supplies, investing in safety training time and materials, and obtaining environmental permits.

Once the program is established, these costs should decrease over time. For example, at TI, the company reduced the amount of chemicals on site to a point that a spill team was no longer needed. In addition, the company initially had thirty employees trained in hazardous material management, but by reducing the amount of waste produced, TI decreased this number to three.

Teamwork. The security manager should take the initiative in forming an environmental security team that includes human resource managers, anyone in a safety or environmental job, and production managers. Potential team members should be told the advantages of such a program to their particular job or department. For example, human resource and safety personnel could be shown how the result could be fewer accidents and fewer workers' compensation claims. Production managers could be attracted to the program by the promised reduction in time spent labeling or maintaining an inventory of hazardous materials.

The next step is a general meeting to discuss the plan in detail. The security manager should assume the role of coordinator and the responsibility of assigning duties to team members. Duties should correlate to a person's regular job. That is, if an operator at a manufacturing plant is responsible for cleaning oxides off a solder machine, then that person should be in charge of collecting data about the amount scraped off the machine. Likewise, if someone in human resources currently tracks accidents and workers' compensation costs, then that employee should continue to compile that data.

For companies with production areas, the security manager should help assign employees within the area to report incidents to the supervisor, to help analyze environmental problems, and to update data and charts. …

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