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EMS COMPLIANCE AUDITING

My old boss once told me that he lay awake nights worrying about environmental hazards, employee and customer safety, and health risks. This would have been believable if it had not been coming from a man who learned to read balance sheets from the bottom up when he was still a toddler.

Cause For Concern

Today my old boss has real cause for concern. The Bata case and others have shown that environment concerns rank ahead of profits. Failure to adequately address environmental concerns can result in personal non-reimbursable fines and jail terms for Directors and Officers.

A progressive and professional manager, my old boss established an environmental policy approved by his Board of Directors. It was distributed to all employees and posted on the notice boards. The environmental officer reports to him directly and submits an environmental report at every board meeting. The report is recorded in the minutes and signed afterwards.

So why is he sleepless? Perhaps his investors, insurers, lenders, landlords and other stakeholders should be sleepless too. His concern is not unique to owner managed businesses (OMB). Corporately managed businesses have the same concerns. A Phase 1 Independent Environmental Compliance Audit may be the solution to his troubles.

The value of independent financial audits has long been accepted by management. Independent environmental audits can provide a similar degree of assurance. Compliance auditing differs in that it focuses on preventing environmental problems, or containing them if they are intrinsic to the company's operations. Compliance can be measured against the Best Available Technology (BAT), company standards, or EPA regulations.

Unlike financial audits, a good result on an independent environment audit can be communicated in a meaningful way to all employees. This reinforces the commitment to environmental policy.

Cost Effective Solutions

My old boss also believed in only buying what he needed and paying for what he received. He would not have felt that investigating prior occupants of a site would motivate his employees to prevent future environmental catastrophes or help them meet current standards. He would probably insist on a Phase 1 audit, but with no historical search until such time as he was ready to develop or sell the property. Perhaps we could call this a Phase ) Compliance Audit. It is part of the Environmental Management System (EMS).

Bankers are becoming more aware of the need for compliance audits when lines of credit are renewed. Account managers are now calling for independent environment compliance audits of high risk clients. At an approximate cost of $2,000, the Phase 0 audit is an economical way to satisfy these requirements.

 
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Walters Forensic Engineering | 277 Wellington Street West, Suite 800 | Toronto, ON M5V 3H2
Information contact: engineering@waltersforensic.com