Environmental Management Plan

Each State Environmental Protection Authority requires projects in the construction industry to manage
Environmental Management Planpotential negative impacts to the environment through the use of an Environmental Management Plan (EMP).

An Environmental Management Plan must be developed before work commences and involve identification of potential hazards, assessment of the risk (likelihood and severity of potential effects) and selection of appropriate controls to reduce the potential harmful impact.  A suitable Environmental Management Plan will encompass a systematic approach using best practice principals (similar to managing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS).

An Environmental Management Plan is a site-specific plan that can assist workplaces in developing measures to protect the environment and comply with environmental laws. An EMP should address what the likely environmental impacts are, what negative impact could happen as a result of the work, and how these will be managed to minimise the harm as much as possible.

An effective Environmental Management Plan requires a multi-step process incorporating commitment, planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting.

What’s In An Environmental Management Plan

An Environmental Management Plan must contain a “Statement of Commitment”. This document is similar to a Occupational Health and Safety Policy as it declares that a workplace will comply with all relevant legislation and also, minimise negative impacts to the environment.

Planning involves identifying the likelihood of negative environmental impacts that could arise from the intended work. Depending on the tasks being undertaken, damage can occur to sensitive areas such as rivers or waterways or habitats of protected species (both flora and fauna). Negative environmental impacts could also involve excessive noise, vibration or dust that can affect workers and the public.

Implementation, monitoring and reporting is essential to ensure that controls are in place and that the controls are effective for the entire project.  Controls must be documented so all relevant persons can be made aware and trained to ensure they are followed.

SafetyCulture’s Environmental Management Plan is a detailed document that allows workplaces to manage environmental issues through identification, risk assessment and implementation of suitable risk controls to reduce negative environmental impacts throughout a  construction-related project. The Environmental Management Plan meets legislative requirements, but also goes further to introduce the employer to a systematic way to approach environmental risk management using best practice principals based on accepted International Standards (such as the ISO 14000 series).

The Environmental Management Plan contains elements required by environmental law, such as the Statement of Commitment, proposed activities and site plans.  The Environmental Management Plan also provides guidance to allow employers to systematically manage environmental issues. This is done via hazard identification, risk assessment and selection and implementation of controls covering major environmental issues, such as air quality, flora and fauna management, water management (including waste water, surface and ground water), management of hazardous chemicals, noise and vibration.  The Environmental Management Plan also includes a system to ensure comprehensive management of permits, approvals, licensees and consent requirements for State Environmental Protection Authorities, making this application for use throughout Australia.

The Environmental Management Plan can easily merge with existing OHS management systems also by providing guidance, procedures and policies for contractor management, legislative change, roles, responsibilities and accountabilities, training and awareness and specific issues from both an OHS and environmental perspective.