Environmental Management System

The Virtuoso of Vanguard…An EMS Symphony in Five Movements

Vanguard’s Environmental Management System (EMS) features three $25,000,000 intellectual properties unique to the field of regulatory compliance management, assuring that each client meets the Government’s mandate for site-specific compliance. With precision due diligence as the starting point, Vanguard pursues its mission of Destination Total Compliance, determining which laws require compliance and which ones don’t. These one-of-a-kind technologies, therefore, position Vanguard’s team of EHS professionals to satisfy and manage regulatory compliance requirements for any zip code or postal code in the USA and Canada respectively.

MOVEMENT 1. The Compliance Gap Analysis. Precision due diligence begins with the meat and substance of Vanguard’s EMS technology, namely the Compliance Gap Analysis (CGA). The CGA screens the client’s facility against the Government’s compliance benchmarks, be it regulatory agencies in the United States or Canada.

It is important to understand that a major disconnect exists between industry executives and the government’s regulatory compliance laws. From the government’s perspective, virtually all the laws – 93% in fact(!) – are based on three regulatory benchmarks:

  • Chemical Hazards;
  • Thresholds (typically expressed in pounds (U.S.) or kilograms (Canada)); and
  • Regulatory Mandates, rules that govern how a company’s compliance must be satisfied.

However, far too many people throughout Industry think in terms of the other 7%...those things that can only be seen by the naked eye. The exact science of regulatory compliance is such that nobody can see a threshold, a carcinogen, or the toxicity of a chemical hazard, etc. Yet, it is often the case that those same industry executives – as intelligent as they are – choose to tackle its own mountain of EHS compliance laws through the illogical methodology of visual audits as the stand-alone screening process for its compliance needs, thereby failing to recognize 93% of the laws imposed upon them by the Government.

This disconnect is likely to leave compliance officers with a false sense of security, while positioning their chief officers as the proverbial “canary in a coal mine.” As a result of such faulty logic, those same industry executives don’t discover their company is out of compliance until the very day an enforcement inspector comes on the scene.

Vanguard covers 100% of the client’s compliance…the 93% category by the Compliance Gap Analysis, to screen for those laws driven by chemical hazards, thresholds and regulatory mandates; plus…the 7% category, for those safety and health hazards that can actually be seen. So, Vanguard’s approach to precision due diligence identifies compliance gaps from the outset yet eliminates those laws that need not become a part of the client’s Compliance Action Plan. This saves the client much time and money by drawing attention to only those laws requiring compliance. Essentially, Vanguard shrinks the client’s compliance challenges down to actual size. This defines the scope and magnitude of the client’s compliance responsibilities with accuracy, making Vanguard’s mission of Destination Total Compliance in behalf of the client reasonably achievable for the least amount of dollars.

MOVEMENT 2.  The client’s EMS Summaries I & II and Regulatory Calendar with Compliance Deadlines. It’s often been said,

“I’d just like someone to provide me with a list of all the laws, help me understand the regulations in plain English, inform me of those requiring compliance of my company, then embark upon a mission of putting my company in compliance!” 

Movements 1 and 2 position the client to make wise business decisions about his regulatory compliance matters. In fact, decisions regarding regulatory compliance happen to be the top two- or-three most important decisions a senior manager makes on an annual basis, especially when his Regulatory Compliance Agenda – thus his Compliance Action Plan – indicates a status of non-compliance on one or more EHS laws. Since setting priorities, implementing decisions, and meeting compliance deadlines are just as important as knowing the disposition of your company’s Regulatory Compliance Agenda, an important component of Vanguard’s service to the client is that of performing a regulatory review (annually, or as needed) with the client’s various stakeholders. This would include Sr. Management, the EHS Manager(s), Quality Assurance Manager (due to his role with ISO certifications, and all personnel associated with a client’s risk management planning.

The centerpiece of the client’s Environmental Management System is best illuminated through EMS Summaries I & II. These summaries yield fact-based revelations on how the client’s company stands against 60+ laws and regulations imposed upon it by the government. The client’s facility data has been screened against the Government’s regulatory benchmarks to reveal compliance gaps, or simply to eliminate such regulations that might otherwise become a part of the client Compliance Action Plan. These revelations can best be described as Evidence-Based Compliance. With exactitude, it provides any inspector with the kind of Defensible Documentation to undergo the most rigorous of enforcement inspections. Since Vanguard serves hundreds of clients throughout North America, our compliance projects have been the object of dozens of inspections. Inspectors know Vanguard’s reputation for precision due diligence, reporting/permitting mastery, chemical accounting and the Defensible Documentation (evidence-based data) to support the client’s compliance programs for what’s required, as well as why certain compliance requirements are not applicable to the client’s facility. Though an inspection can present some tense moments for almost anyone, an inspection for a Vanguard client is a veritable “coffee break” for the client’s facility designee. Moreover, Vanguard makes every effort to be available for the purpose of technical representative in person, or by teleconference, if the time and nature of the inspection is announced in advance.

An important tool within this movement is Vanguard’s exhaustive Regulatory Calendar with Compliance Deadlines. Whether for the U.S. or Canada, the client’s EMS is set to federal deadlines for each month throughout the calendar, or state/provincial deadlines applicable to companies within those jurisdictions.

MOVEMENT 3.  The Client’s Regulatory Compliance Agenda (RCA). The simplicity of this movement is a direct outgrowth of the precision due diligence performed during Movement 1 above.  Team Vanguard often hears the following wish from industry executives,

“I’d just like someone to provide me with a list of all the laws, help me understand the regulations in plain English, inform me of those requiring compliance of my company, then embark upon a mission of putting my company in compliance!” 

With Vanguard's team and technologies, the answer to that question is not at all difficult. We simply retrieve your facility data, and screen it against the government’s regulatory benchmarks to give you your own site-specific Regulatory Compliance Agenda (RCA). The client’s RCA displays, in chart form, how the client stands on each and every law with the #1 objective being to satisfy and manage the client’s regulatory compliance going forward. From that point, it’s fairly simple to establish the client’s Compliance Action Plan.

MOVEMENT 4. The Client’s Compliance Action Plan. Is there any step more important than this one, other than just getting started on a company’s compliance journey? Upon understanding those compliance gaps revealed by EMS Summaries I & II, it is critical that the client moves into the mode of action in satisfying all gaps of any consequence, keeping a deliberate momentum until each law or regulation has been resolved. This part of the client’s EMS features three Risk Calculators to inform the client of the progress made on his compliance journey toward total compliance.

Risk Calculator 1 illustrates all those enforcement risks eliminated, many of which are eliminated at the outset of the entire process. It’s important to remind oneself of the risks eliminated by engaging in the EMS in the first place. Risk Calculator I provides evidence a key benefit of the client’s EMS, that of the savings in time and monies not expended, simply because EMS Summaries I & II offered clear evidence that such laws and regulations were “not applicable” to the client’s facility.

Risk Calculator 2 keeps the client in touch with those issues on his compliance checklist. These are matters with which the client is not quite sure that compliance has been met. Therefore, Risk Calculator 2 defines those areas yet to be determined (TBD) as to action steps yet to be taken in order to ensure compliance has been met. In a sense, this may become a client’s “to do” list. If not for this calculator, the client might leave some “loose ends” that could come back to haunt him when an inspector shows up in the company’s lobby.

Risk Calculator 3 establishes compliance priorities for resolution, thus those items that leaves the company vulnerable to massive enforcement penalties from federal, state, county, or local regulatory agencies. Essentially, the priorities established by Risk Calculator 3 literally become the collective focal point of the client’s Compliance Action Plan. All three risk calculators allow the client to “keep score” until the client’s company has satisfied all compliance mandates and met pertinent deadlines. The end-result benefit, of course, is optimal “risk management against enforcement penalties” where the only thing left to do is to manage one’s regulatory compliance over the years. Yes, unfortunately, satisfying compliance is a never-ending process, quite similar to managing a company’s tax and financial matters.

MOVEMENT 5.  Turnkey Compliance. Vanguard files all reports, permits and documents with the appropriate agency(ies) to government specs by each compliance deadline mandated, often in quadruplicate, to account for each agency having jurisdiction over the client’s facility (federal, state, county and local). Sometimes, such reports are filed with adjunct agencies, such as tribal authorities or airport trusts. In the case of OSHA, DOT and Homeland Security documents, a site-specific written plan is always required, in addition to the employee training required, thus developed to satisfy site-specific compliance directives per the standards and regulations from those regulatory agencies. Contemporary regulations require one of two standard methods governments require for filing reports, permits, and documentation: (1) Electronic filing via web-based transmissions; (2) U.S. Mail. In the latter case, Vanguard files all reports by certified mail – return receipt requested – as further document what was filed and when.