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Determining the Significant Aspects EPA Regions 9 & 10 and The Federal Network for Sustainability.

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Presentation on theme: "Determining the Significant Aspects EPA Regions 9 & 10 and The Federal Network for Sustainability."— Presentation transcript:

1 Determining the Significant Aspects EPA Regions 9 & 10 and The Federal Network for Sustainability

2 2 Objectives After this discussion, you should : Describe the importance of significant environmental aspects for your EMS. Describe factors to consider in evaluating the significance of environmental aspects and impacts.

3 3 Overview Definition EMS Requirements Risk Assessment Decision Matrices

4 4 Definition A significant environmental aspect is an environmental aspect that has or can have a significant environmental impact. Significance could be tied to: –Environmental concerns –Natural resource concerns –Regulatory or legal exposure –Business or mission concerns –Concerns of interested parties

5 5 EMS Requirements ISO uses “significant” aspects and impacts as the basis for developing objectives and preparing programs. The facility determines which aspects and impacts are “significant.” The EMS must address all significant aspects.

6 6 Considerations for Determining Significance Legal and other requirement Toxicity Consequence / Magnitude Risk / Likelihood Sustainable Others

7 7 Several Methods for Determining Significance Risk Assessment Decision Matrices Significance Set by Management

8 8 Risk Assessment Risk assessment is a tool used by managers to provide information for decision making. Risk assessment may be formal or informal, but it is always there.

9 9 Risk Management Risk management addresses unacceptable risk. Residual risk is the unidentified risk plus any acceptable, identified risk remaining after risk management.

10 10 Characterizing Risk Exposure - How big of a problem is it? –Global, regional, local? Severity - How bad will it get? Probability - How likely is it to occur? –Daily, weekly, monthly, annually, in emergencies, only when a certain event happens, when a new project starts?

11 11 Risk Assessment Estimate exposure, severity, and probability for each aspect Prepare relative rank for each aspect Compare ranking to determine significance

12 12 Not real data. Scale of 1 to 5 used with 1 being low and 5 high. Numbers were multiplied to give totals. No weighting factors used. Risk Assessment Example Aspect Exposure Severity Probability Total Vehicle exhaust Hazardous waste Food waste

13 13 Decision Matrices A decision matrix is a tool used to quantify a risk assessment Identify key criteria Determine relative ranking Evaluate significance

14 14 Key Criteria for Significance Environmental impact Health & safety Regulatory or Executive Order requirement Cost Mission impact Environmental policy commitments Community impact

15 15 Decision Matrix Example National data. Scale of 1 to 5 used with 1 being low and 5 high. Numbers were added to give totals. No weighting factors used. Aspect Env.Imp H&S Cost of Change Mission Comm. Total Vehicle exhaust Hazardous waste Food waste

16 16 Significance May Be Defined by Management Environmental Goals Management Priorities

17 17 Determining Significance Risk Assessment and Decision Matrices are only suggestions Refer to your agency’s risk management procedures Establish a procedure and stick with it Make a list of significant aspects and the impacts associated with them

18 18 Where Do Significant Aspects Fit in Your EMS? EMS manages your significant aspects, impacts Objectives and targets for your significant aspects shall be considered Employees need to be aware of significant environmental aspects of their jobs Organizations shall consider processes for external communication of significant aspects and document decision Organization shall have procedures to monitor operations & activities that can have signif. impact(s)

19 19 Summary Significant aspects are defined based on facility-specific criteria A formal procedure is used to evaluate significance Preparing a list of significant aspects is a big part of an EMS

20 20 Exercise 4: Determining significant Aspects Potential factors –severity –probability/frequency –risk (environmental/ health/financial) –toxicity –external concerns –ability to control/ influence/investigate –duration –regulatory concern Use reproducible methodology; e.g., rank using a formula containing factors the organization considers important

21 21 Examples of Factor Ratings Severity 5 Catastrophic 4 High 3 Moderate 2 Low 1 Slight 0 Positive Impact Regulatory Importance 5 Current violation 4 Non-compliance, past 3 yrs 3 Non-compliance, past 5 yrs 2 In compliance 1 Below regulatory cut-off 0 Unregulated

22 22 Examples of Factor Ratings Probability 5 Certainty 4 Likely 3 So/So 2 Unlikely 1 Very unlikely Potential for Increased Control 5 High, with cost savings 4 High at low cost 3 Moderate 2 Low 1 Low and very costly

23 23 Example of Rating Scheme Significance = (Severity + RI + Prob) Control


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