Environmental Management System (EMSs)

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 each client’s mission of Destination Total Compliance, determining which laws require compliance and which ones don’t. These one-of-a-kind compliance 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 (federal, state, county or local agencies) or Canada (federal, provincial, territorial and municipal agencies).

It is important to understand that a major disconnect exists between industry executives and the government’s regulatory compliance laws. This is true in both the U.S. and Canada. 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 within the regulated community 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 the client’s mission of Destination Total Compliance reasonably achievable for the least amount of dollars.

PRIMER ON THE…AGGREGATE TOTAL RULING.

Before moving away from this movement, it would be important to do an overview of the Aggregate Total Ruling (ATR), applicable to 15 different EHS compliance laws. The ATR is…the combined amount of the same chemical component found in 2 or more products, and then screened against the specific threshold assigned to that chemical component. Here is a brief video that explains how the ATR must be executed to ensure one’s compliance activities satisfy the government’s regulatory benchmarks.

(Click here for “ The Very Least Every EHS Mgr. Needs to Know ”)

Note: Federal penalty policies increase each January via the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In 2021, enforcement penalty policies were set as follows:

OSHA: $13,653 TO $136,532 / Violation

EPA: SARA Title III (EPCRA): $59,017 / Day; Toxic Release Inventory (TRI): $59,017 / Chemical / Year; Stormwater Runoff Permitting – Process Wastewater Discharge Permitting: $56,460 / Day; Air Permitting: $102,638 / Day; Hazardous Waste: $76,764 / Day / Violation; Chemical Data Reporting under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): $41,056.

DOT: HazMat Employee (HME) Training: $7,395 / Day (based on 15 participants X’s $493 per day)

HOMELAND SECURITY: Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism (CFAT): $5,000 to $10,000 / Day and/or Criminal Penalties

RISK MANAGEMENT VALUE

Due to the penalty policies above, Vanguard operates from a mindset of the client’s Risk Management Value. This is the minimum amount of enforcement penalties offset by Vanguard’s work. We can’t know exactly what financial penalty an enforcement agent is going to levy against any given company. So, we set a client’s Risk Management Value to align with the least amount a penalty could possibly be, i.e., the lower end of OSHA’s range above, or just one day of EPA penalties. Therefore, the client’s Risk Management Value for the EMS USA! alone is $315,436. For every service Vanguard renders, the client’s Risk Management Value increases accordingly. 

MOVEMENT 2.  The Clients’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 them in plain English, inform me of those requiring compliance of my company, then embark upon a mission of putting my company in compliance with cost-effectiveness in mind!!”

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 every law and regulation, with the #1 objective being to satisfy and manage the client’s regulatory compliance going forward. The client’s RCA Chart takes the ambiguity out of the government’s expectations for compliance accountability.

MOVEMENT 3.  The Clients’s EMS Summaries I, II & III, and Compliance Power Tools.

It’s often been said,

There are five points to the compass: north, east, south, west…and where you are! And you can’t get to where you want to go, until you know your current location.

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 indicates a status of non-compliance on one or more EHS compliance 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.

Since Vanguard serves hundreds of clients throughout North America, our compliance services 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 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. Some inspections occur at random.

The centerpiece of the client’s Environmental Management System is best illuminated through EMS Summaries I, II and III. These summaries yield fact-based revelations on how the client’s company stands against 60+ laws and regulations imposed upon industry by the government. The client’s facility data is screened against the Government’s regulatory benchmarks to identify compliance gaps, or to simply eliminate such regulations that might otherwise become a part of the client Compliance Action Plan. These revelations yield the aforementioned Evidence-Based Compliance. (See Vanguard’s Four Primary Benefits) with precision. EMS Summaries I, II & III provide any inspector with the kind of Defensible Documentation to undergo the most rigorous of enforcement inspections. It’s printable (as needed).

EMS Summary I is fairly straight-forward. It lists the 20 laws and regulations automatically satisfied as a part of the client’s services that go with his Environmental Management System, be it EMS USA!, EMS California! or EMS Canada!. Vanguard knows to provide this feature as a part of the client’s compliance by virtue of knowing that the client has a regulated chemical inventory as contained within the client facility’s Safety Data Sheets (SDSs).

EMS Summary II launches a pursuit of determining which laws/regulations require compliance and which ones don’t. Summary II is dedicated to environmental protection issues only.

EMS Summary III, likewise, launches a pursuit of determining which laws/regulations require compliance and which ones don’t. However, Summary III is dedicated to occupational health & safety matters within the workplace, transportation-oriented regulations and terrorist-prevention issues overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.

At times, facilities within certain jurisdictions are accountable for compliance issues unique to their geographical location. These issues shall be inserted accordingly for those facilities whose needs on a state, county or local level needs to be addressed.

Three examples are:

  • Source Reduction/Waste Minimization (SRWM) programs required by the States of Arizona, California, Georgia, Texas and Washington;
  • Florida’s Environmental Resource Permit (ERP); and
  • Michigan’s Pollution Incident Prevention Program (PIPP).

Compliance Gaps Identified and Three Risk Calculators

Some important compliance power tools within this movement consist of Compliance Gaps Identified, which lead directly to Three Risk Calculators. The component known as Three Risk Calculators relies on the following logic:

  1. What measurable risks (in terms of real dollars aligned with the governing agency’s civil penalties) have been altogether eliminated? In other words, the first risk calculator lends concrete numbers as a measurement of fines that will not occur, simply because Vanguard’s due diligence technologies eliminated such compliance risks as part of the client’s compliance action plan. What a great benefit in knowing what compliance issues don’t need to be tackled!
  2. There are times that a client’s compliance officer may not be certain whether compliance must be met, which implies items marked “to be determined” but may need some attention. With such risks left open for the potential of civil penalties, the second risk calculator allows a compliance officer to develop a to-do list for the purpose of risk elimination (moving such items to the first risk calculator) or developing an action plan that would include such regulations that would otherwise fall prey to negligence. With civil penalties so significant as $56,000 per day per violation (and more), regulatory compliance is not an arena where ambiguity will be tolerated by enforcement inspectors.
  3. The third risk calculator measures civil penalties that are certain to come if the client does nothing to address the compliance gaps illuminated in EMS Summaries II and III. 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 year, or state/provincial deadlines applicable to companies within those jurisdictions.

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 II & III, it is critical that the client moves into a mode of action in satisfying all gaps of any consequence, keeping a deliberate momentum until each law or regulation has been resolved.

Compliance Gaps Identified and Three Risk Calculators

Some important compliance power tools within this movement consist of Compliance Gaps Identified, which lead directly to Three Risk Calculators. The component known as Three Risk Calculators relies on the following logic:

  • What measurable risks (in terms of real dollars aligned with the governing agency’s civil penalties) have been altogether eliminated? In other words, the first risk calculator lends concrete numbers as a measurement of fines that will not occur, simply because Vanguard’s due diligence technologies eliminated such compliance risks as part of the client’s compliance action plan. What a great benefit in knowing what compliance issues don’t need to be tackled!
  • There are times that a client’s compliance officer may not be certain whether compliance must be met, which implies items marked “to be determined” but may need some attention. With such risks left open for the potential of civil penalties, the second risk calculator allows a compliance officer to develop a to-do list for the purpose of risk elimination (moving such items to the first risk calculator) or developing an action plan that would include such regulations that would otherwise fall prey to negligence. With civil penalties so significant as $56,000 per day per violation (and more), regulatory compliance is not an arena where ambiguity will be tolerated by enforcement inspectors.
  • The third risk calculator measures civil penalties that are certain to come if the client does nothing to address the compliance gaps illuminated in EMS Summaries II and III

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.

EMS USA! (Click here for an introductory video of this Environmental Management System.)

EMS California! (Click here for an introductory video of this Environmental Management System. California has 12 laws unique to that State, hence an EMS exclusively provided for entities within its borders.)

EMS Canada! (Click here for an introductory video of this Environmental Management System, featuring laws and regulations exclusive to Canada and its 10 provinces/three territories.

Some important compliance power tools within this movement consist of Compliance Gaps Identified, which lead directly to Three Risk Calculators. The latter tool presents to following logic: