As part of the ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System (EMS) it is a requirement to set objectives each year that will benefit the company and improve its environmental performance. Due to the nature of our business, the main areas that can potentially have an impact are chemical handling, waste disposal and fire. Therefore we set environmental targets connected to these major environmental risks.
ReAgent’s Factory Move
In 2018 ReAgent moved into a much larger facility. Over a four-month period, we continued to operate as normal whilst moving equipment from our existing to our new premises. Maintaining ‘normal’ operational processes during this time was understandably difficult, and involved dismantling and reinstallation of large production vessels before they could be commissioned for further use.
Additionally, the water purification system had to be fully installed and approved before any work could commence. Numerous other pieces of equipment had to be moved and a new quality control facility established to ensure the smooth running of the business. On top of this, the management systems had to be maintained and implemented in the new facility.
Setting Our EMS Objectives – Objective One
Due to the factory move, it seemed appropriate to set an objective for establishing the EMS in the new facility. This was because we would be starting from the beginning again regarding factory layout, emergency procedures, drainage, etc. The definition of our primary EMS objective was:
To implement the ISO 14001 EMS into the new premises with respect to compliance obligations:
- To have zero complaints of an environmental nature from neighbours, either tenants or domestic
- To have zero major environmental incidents
- To have no more than six spill clean-up operations
During 2018 ReAgent received zero complaints, had zero major incidents and recorded just two small spillages to achieve the first objective. Objective achieved!
Other Improvements Linked To Our Primary EMS Objective
A list of other control improvements that have been established are:
- Double security fencing on the external chemical storage areas
- Additional drain protection from an automated ‘flap-stop’ system which isolates the drainage channel if contaminated, preventing outflow from the premises
- Contractor control has been improved
- Fume extraction has been modified to reduce noise pollution by siting the motors externally
- Fire detection systems have been installed
- Emergency lighting is installed throughout
- Development of an emergency plan with neighbouring companies
EMS Objective Two
Objective two was to improve communication of the EMS both internally and externally. To achieve this, we agreed to:
- Train all employees relative to their role under the EMS
- Communicate achievements externally via the website
Due to ReAgent’s growth over the last few years, we have increased our workforce and this has meant a proportionate increase in training needs. The majority of staff require a basic knowledge of the EMS which is given upon induction, and further training is role-specific or provided in a general manner through staff meetings.
Objective achieved! All staff have received their induction training which is recorded on a general training matrix. Those who require further training are usually manufacturing operators involved in emergency response situations. A full review of the emergency procedures has taken place since moving into the new premises, accounting for changes in staff, layout, evacuation, fire marshalling and fire-fighting.
This blog post serves to communicate our achievements externally!
EMS Objective Three
Our third objective was to reduce the costs of both hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal.
Waste production is an inherent part of our business. ReAgent generates both domestic and chemical waste which may be either non-hazardous or hazardous. A result of increased business is the generation of more waste, all of which has to be treated. The largest cost is due to the disposal of hazardous waste is transportation. Various types of non-hazardous chemical waste may be discharged down the drain, provided this meets the requirements of a Discharge Consent.
In an attempt to reduce the cost of waste, we evaluated the cost of key waste streams since moving into our new premises and discussed ways of reducing these costs. An obvious solution is changing our waste disposal provider – but this doesn’t always guarantee the same level of service. Just as important is to analyse the source of waste and ways in which it can be reduced. To achieve this ReAgent used the general questions Where?, Why?, Who?, How?, When? and identified those products which are producing the most waste.
The next step was looking at batch sizes and the amount of ‘extra’ product being made to account for completion orders, as well as batches that had been made incorrectly and that could not be reworked. Figures are produced monthly for cost of waste and the associated cost of poor quality for the QMS. Amounts of waste are recorded on batch documents for reference purposes.
The data we have collected will be used as the baseline for 2019 to compare the overall cost of waste. We have identified the processes that create the largest waste costs and are implementing measures to reduce these over the coming year. If a target figure of 10% can be achieved, this will be a considerable saving on the previous year.
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