Emergency managers are increasingly asked to “do more with less”. Reduced staffing levels and heightened personnel responsibilities due to budget constraints create enterprise-wide challenges for environment, health and safety professionals. The mandate of managing and maintaining multiple emergency response plans and ensuring regulatory compliance and site specific accuracy can be a continual uphill battle. An enterprise-wide response planning system can remove the uncertainties and challenges associated with managing multiple response plans, streamline the update process, and simplify plan reviews, ensuring a consistent path toward compliance.
An enterprise-wide response plan system can address regulatory compliance and consistency in company-wide planning standards. For companies with numerous facilities, advanced systems offer advantageous response plan management opportunities while improving the overall planning system framework and the accuracy of site-specific emergency response plans.
Defining planning objectives, budget limits, and information technology (IT) system criteria will assist in determining which enterprise-wide planning system aligns with company requirements. Below are key questions that may help determine if an enterprise-wide planning system is right for your company:
- Do you have more than one facility that is governed by regulatory requirements?
- Are your facilities required to comply with multiple agency requirements?
- Is there repetitive information in multiple plans at multiple facilities?
- Does your employee turnover rate create inaccuracies in your response plan?
- How effectively do you handle contact information updates and verification? How often does this occur?
- How often do you print updated plan copies for distribution, and what costs are involved?
- Do you have multiple versions of plans, leading to “version confusion”?
- Are your existing plans user-friendly or cumbersome?
- Do your personnel need better access to your existing plans?
- Do local responders have access to your most up-to-date emergency response plan?
- Are your plans updated quarterly or annually, and how do you integrate new regulatory requirements?
- Have you recently gone through a merger or acquisition?
- How much time is dedicated to maintaining, updating, and distributing your plans?
- How often are you audited and would you be ready if an auditor appeared tomorrow?
- Do audits result in fines or violations?
- Can you use your existing plan to expedite training?
- Do you have an accurate record of changes and revisions?
- Are you able to comply with frequently evolving regulatory requirements across your various facilities?
Corporate-level managers may have substantial input regarding long-term environmental, health and safety goals and associated budgeting. However, EHS personnel and those who manage site-specific response plans often determine the success or failure of the program and are responsible for regulatory compliance. A company-wide response planning system should ease the day-to-day challenges associated with managing and maintaining multiple response plans and site-specific regulatory audits, yet seamlessly integrate and interface with established company policies and cultures.
In addition to simplifying the administrative duties of managing multiple response plans, an enterprise-wide response planning system should:
- Support the ability to execute company approved response strategies across multiple locations/facilities
- Easily incorporate company growth and facility acquisitions
- Enable site-specific details while not compromising company directives
- Facilitate the ability to update corporate planning elements across multiple locations, without compromising site-specific details and response challenges
- Be easily updated with minimal dedicated staff
- Become an easily accessible, yet secured, shared tool for internal and external responders
- Allow for streamlined regulatory compliance audits
- Automate and optimize response planning training and exercise activities
- Reduce non-compliance issues on a company-wide scale
- Automate regulatory governance with electronic submissions
An enterprise-wide response planning system enables EHS departments to spend more time on preparedness planning and maximizing response efforts versus plan maintenance, documentation, compliance, and reporting. The result is a more streamlined company emergency management program that reduces administrative efforts, non-compliance fines, and ineffective responses.
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