The Compliance Cycle – Step 4

Training staff how to use and maintain your compliance products.

akuna services delivering onsite training to 6 staff at their workplace

Ensuring an appropriate level of understanding about environmental compliance on your site(s) needs to include not only the risks, but also incident response and effective management of whatever protection products are installed at your site. Whilst spill response training is relatively common, operational product training for stormwater protection devices is often overlooked. These strategies are very relevant components of your site compliance, and need to be addressed at all levels of your business.

Step 4 of the Compliance Cycle identifies that all relevant people need to understand the effective use and maintenance of installed spill response, stormwater protection and other environmental compliance products.

What types of compliance training are necessary?

It’s important to ensure people have a full understanding and hands on knowledge of the following:

1) Spill Response Products

It’s not uncommon during site inspections to be asked if the spill kit currently in an area is actually the right type of kit for that specific location.  Our team often helps to identify the most suitable types of spill kit and determine if your current resources are appropriate for the greatest risk in that vicinity.

Naturally we ask questions like:

  • Who will be responding to a spill?
  • Do they understand the spill response products and how to use them?
  • Do they understand what compliance involves?
  • Do they understand how to assess the risks?
  • Who else is aware of the spill kit contents?
  • Who maintains the spill kit contents to ensure stock is available when you need it?

Surprisingly, there can be much uncertainty in workplaces about spill response products, who’s responsible for maintaining them and how to use them.

2) Stormwater Protection Devices

Your employees are the first line of defence in protecting the stormwater system. Stormwater devices are often installed and then ignored. This is sometimes due to staff changes, a lack of adequate site training or lack of inclusion in appropriate documentation and review processes. An ignored or overlooked device can block with debris, malfunction and prevent protection of your stormwater pits, leading to potential non-compliance and penalties.

If your workplace or site has stormwater protection products installed, then training on use and maintenance are critical if they are to work properly.

Here are some steps we suggest:

  • Communicate the acquired assets to appropriate personnel – it can be as simple as an office memo or a mention at a tool box talk.
  • Determine who should attend the installation.
  • Organise a training session taking care to extend knowledge appropriately (including site inductions).
  • Create your maintenance plan with a system for recording and reporting the maintenance findings.

3) Pollution Incident Response Management Plan (PIRMP)

The PIRMP is an integral part of EPA licence compliance and outlines your organisation’s plans to mitigate risks and prepare incident response measures and procedures. The PIRMP includes provisions for staff training. Not only does the PIRMP need to be reviewed and tested annually (or when circumstances change), but the training requirements of employees can change based on amendments to this document.

Why bring an expert on board?

Anyone responsible for environmental compliance could gain from the expertise of a team that specialises in this area. While you may have a good understanding of the risks, it’s always beneficial to collaborate on the protective and response measures in place and ensure your staff training addresses this.

Legislation changes, product development happens, your team changes, even the company you work for and your site may undergo changes. Evaluation and consultation with a third party will help to ensure nothing is overlooked, and the people in your organisation are able to confidently do their part to maintain environmental compliance.