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Overcoming the complexity of legal registers
Managing all of your company's business information is no simple task. The amount of data that businesses must handle daily is rapidly increasing, while environmental, health and safety (EHS) legal registers are becoming more voluminous and complex. If you are a compliance manager or someone who has been tasked with interpreting the legal jargon included in EHS legislation, then you may sometimes find yourself pulling your hair out while attempting to "figure out" what it all means for your company in practice. To make matters worse, there is always the dreaded possibility of hefty fines and legal action if the requirements are not followed when they change. Understanding legal registers A legal register is a list of all the government-published Acts, Laws, Regulations, or other types of legal content that apply to a company's sector or type of business. Not only should it say which parts of the law are applicable to the çompanys' work, but it should also explain in plain language what these rules mean for the company's day-to-day operations. Although there is no international or domestic law that requires companies to keep a legal register, it may be necessary, especially if your company is ISO 14001 or ISO 45001 certified or is applying for certification. Evaluating your company's legal compliance is a multi-stage process that can take a significant amount of time. The steps to taking this process include: Assessing the legal risks associated with your business practices; Compiling a list of applicable laws to your company; Building a framework to evaluate whether or not your company is meeting the requirements; and Monitoring the applicability of the laws as your operations evolve or regulations change. Ways to soothe common compliance headaches Identifying and interpreting parts of the law relevant to your business EHS laws can be extremely dry and dizzyingly technical with an endless library of references, cross-references, legal jargon, and vague definitions. It can be time-consuming to go through hundreds of legal requirements and figure out which ones apply to your company and which ones don't. This is why many organisations turn to external legal register providers to help them be aware and understand their legal obligations and get advice on how to make sure they are compliant. Dealing with multi-jurisdictional legal registers For multinational organisations, navigating hundreds of constantly shifting legal obligations in multiple locations spread across the world is an enormously complex undertaking. Some organisations take a company-wide approach to managing EHS compliance to give them complete visibility into the compliance status of each site. They can create a country-specific legal register database to assess, record, and verify a site's compliance status at any given moment rather than waiting for an EHS audit. By taking this approach, companies can enhance their EHS performance and develop a corporate EHS compliance culture across all locations. Tracking and monitoring legislative changes To fulfil your legal requirements, companies must periodically evaluate their compliance obligations. This process involves maintaining knowledge of the compliance status, documenting their evaluations, and taking action where necessary. This is a big enough job in itself but is made even harder by the fact that EHS laws are constantly changing. When organisations stay abreast of legislative changes, they are able to provide a continuous view of the status of the evaluation process and the status of compliance for each of their site at both regional and international levels. Your regulatory compliance in safe hands If you decide to outsource the handling of your company's legal register, you want to be sure that it’s to a company you can trust. And there are few who can claim such a proven track record in regulatory compliance as ESC. Our EHS Legal Register service has been supporting numerous organisations from sectors such as the tech, oil & gas, manufacturing and other industries to meet regulatory standards in Asia and beyond. In doing so, we have developed a strong working relationship with the various national government agencies charged with enforcing the laws. In letting us take charge of your legal register, you can dedicate more time to your organisation’s core activities, safe in the knowledge that your EHS compliance is taken care of.
ESC awarded QEHS software project by BPJV
ESC was awarded the digital project by Boskalis-Penta Ocean Joint Venture (BPJV) for the implementation of quality and EHS management software for the construction of Polder in areas A & C of Pulau Tekong Island, Singapore. ESC will be developing a bespoke system to suit BPJV's project requirements and digitalise its safety processes. Here are some project details: “Penta-Ocean Construction Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Penta-Ocean”) was recently awarded the Construction of Polder at Areas A and C of Pulau Tekong in joint venture with Boskalis International BV Company (Netherlands) by the Housing & Development Board of Singapore (HDB) with a contract value of SGD 1.23 billion (JPY 99.9 billion). Penta-Ocean has a share value of approximately JPY 48.9 billion (49%) in the joint venture. The construction period of the project is 4 years and is slated for completion in April 2022. This project will add about 810 ha of new land at the north-western tip of Singapore’s Pulau Tekong Island. This is the first time a Polder is to be constructed in the country. The project works include the construction and reinforcement of a 10-kilometre long dike surrounding the polder, earthworks and the construction of a network of drains, water pumping systems and canals.” Learn more about our Quality and EHS Management software. Sign up for a free online presentation!
ESC bridges the communication gap between workshop and management teams
Hamworthy Pumps Singapore implements ESC’s Hazard Identification and Incident Reporting software across its sites in Singapore and the U.K. Hamworthy Pumps will install the óff the shelf’ platform to ensure that any hazards and incidents in their workshops are promptly and efficiently dealt with. Shop-floor staff absolutely love BlueKanGo's real-time notifications and trigger functions – they can use their devices to report any incidents and even escalate straight to the top management. BlueKanGo software bridges the communication gap between workshop and management teams and takes away the pain of paper-based systems facilitating a faster and more targeted response to potentially unsafe situations, at the click of a button. Learn more about our Quality and EHS Management software. Sign up for a free online presentation!
How to drive business continuity when working from home
With the COVID-19 outbreak, we have seen stricter social distancing enforcement in communities around the globe while companies are implementing work from home arrangement strategy. Many employers are left with little option but to let employees work from their self-quarantined homes and with that we say, the work must go on. Here, we highlight some useful tips and best practices on how you can work effectively from home and maintain productivity, increase business output, and prevent miscommunication. Establish a routine Wake up and start work at the same time each day and designate an area for work with minimal distraction. It can be an area that is seldom used or an independent space to help you get going and stay focused. Block your calendar Maintain a task-based work structure during the work-day period, you can use online calendars to block out your daily work and set times to task. This way, you can be more productive and it will enable you to be more efficient by finishing tasks on time. Designate a remote work buddy Employers can assign a team leader or remote work buddy within the workgroup to check the team’s progress and ensure the work delivered is within the timeline. If there are expected delays in your work delivery, communicate it with your team leader and see options on how to achieve the goal. Leaders can help evaluate objectives and determine the best strategy. Use virtual collaboration tools In this digital era, there are plenty of online tools available to choose from when working remotely. Some commonly used digital tools are Microsoft Teams, Zoom, GoToMeeting, Google Meet, Slack, etc. Check with your administrator for the best and secure options that work for you and your team and use these tools to collaborate on work activities. Maintain a level of communication Have an open line communication that will maintain business continuity. Use digital technologies to stay connected and schedule a weekly team call dedicated to sharing client updates, checking on work progress, or enlighten your work spirit by simply checking on each other. Make clients a top priority Lastly, without our clients, there will be no business so don’t forget to communicate with your them. Give clients optimum customer experience and assure that they are on top of your mind even in this challenging period. In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, companies can measure success during this period and consider different approach to drive employee and client engagement. While most of us will be working and staying at home for a definite period, we can look at the bright side and use this chance to focus on meeting goals and develop new skills. Learn more about BlueKanGo Quality and EHS Software Sign up for a free online presentation
What You Need to Know About the Disease Outbreak Risk System Condition (DORSCON) Alert Levels
When there is an outbreak resulting in the spread of an infectious disease worldwide, Singapore puts in place prevention and response plans. The ‘Disease Outbreak Response System Condition' (DORSCON) is a color-coded framework that shows you the current disease situation. There are 4 statuses – Green, Yellow, Orange and Red, depending on the severity and spread of the disease. For each status, it details the impact on the community, such as the measures to be taken in daily life (e.g. temperature screening, border measures), and advice to the public (e.g to look out for travel advisories). The colors describe the current disease outbreak situation and what needs to be done. Source: Singapore Government and Ministry of Health Singapore.
What is Electronic Document Management System and Why organizations need it?
In any industry, information is one of the most valuable assets a business can have. Organizations use data and information to make better decisions and evaluate their products and markets. They also use documents for formal business transactions with internal and external stakeholders. However, these business documents can be costly and time-consuming to manage when using manual processes. Electronic Document Management (EDM) is a system used to record, track, and manage documents. EDM can consist of procedures, documents, policies, instructions, or technical datasheets. These documents are usually associated with a management system, whether quality, production, security, etc. Benefits of implementing an Electronic Document Management System Improved workflow A typical document workflow involves several people in different roles to move documents between internal departments and external stakeholders. It involves document creation, document review, approval process, and document delivery. Having a well-planned and efficient movement of documents can significantly speed up business processes and improve their quality. Easy Retrieval When there is no standard practice, employees can spend hours searching for documents that are misfiled or lost. One purpose of the document management system is to store documents properly and be able to retrieve files when necessary. An electronic document management system can conveniently pull up any records instantly using word search to index categories. Enhanced Security Paper-based systems can impose the risk of sensitive information leakage or document loss. If unauthorized persons have access to confidential documents, it may result in business or even legal damages. But with the use of EDM, you can control who accesses what documents. EDM also provides users with an audit trail to show when the document was created, accessed, and modified. Cost Reduction It is expensive to manage the sizeable volume of documents generated throughout the business. An electronic document management system provides long term benefits for cost reduction of physical storage space, paper, ink, folders, file cabinets, and filing staff. Document Version Control Paper-based systems are challenging because of the lack of document version control in the organization. There are times that we encounter working on a document only to find out that it is not the latest document. But with the EDM, it is easy to find out the document life-cycle and identify the current version. EDM can provide users with document history tracking or check different versions of the document. Regulatory Compliance Regulatory bodies often require companies to comply with different kinds of data and documents. With a structured EDM, companies document the necessary information and ensure its effectiveness. With the system in place, companies limit the risk of receiving remarks or non-conformity comments during an audit. Better Collaboration EDM improves collaborative writing and communication within the organization. It helps to enforce responsibility and accountability to different parties. Just like collaborators can add notes or sign electronically to documents. Approving parties are alerted whenever there are documents for review or need approval. And since documents are uploaded electronically, it is conveniently available anytime, anywhere. Automatic Filing and Archiving One advantage of an EDM versus paper-based system is documents are captured and stored automatically in centralized document storage. These digital storage systems are capable of archiving documents up to a specified year or backup the files in case of disaster recovery. So what's our stake? Digitalization can increase productivity and improve the efficiency of every business process. EDM helps structure your organization's procedure, guidelines, policies, etc. Organizations that have put in place such systems can manage their document records efficiently. Thus, they make better business decisions and reduce costs. Learn more about our Quality and EHS Management software. Sign up for a free online presentation!
Essential Steps in Managing Workplace Incidents
Incident management is a broad concept used in several disciplines but for environmental, health, and safety (EHS) related incidents, most organizations follow the same process when there is an unsafe incident or event. Incident management provides information about the cause of a problem and helps prevent incidents or events to occur in the workplace. The incident management process is activated right after the incident by the people directly involved including an EHS representative. An investigating team is assigned to track, report, investigate, and analyze the incidents which negatively impact or could have negatively impacted the business operation, its workers, and physical assets. Incident management involves a few processes that can help prevent and minimize incidents from recurring. Whether it is a fatality, injury, illness, or a near miss, effective incident management can help employers understand what happened and why it happened. Management of these incidents is essential to facilitate the implementation of preventive measures. And whether you are using incident management software or not, organizations must have full visibility and enhance safety. What are the essential steps in managing workplace incidents? 1. Initial Notification The first step is to submit preliminary information about the incident to the management. This is usually performed by workers on-site where the incident occurs. The preliminary information includes: Location and site of the incident Date and time Equipment involved if any Person(s) involved with the incident and witness if any (employee, visitor, contractor) Incident type Description of the incident Consequences and outcomes of the incident (i.e. causes & impacts) Initial severity of the incident Immediate Corrective Actions if any who are the people to be notified (employee, visitor, contractor) pieces of evidence (i.e. photos or documents) If you are using an incident management system, notifications are triggered on a real-time basis. Once the incident report form is submitted, the information is immediately escalated to the concerned parties who then acknowledge the report and take necessary action. 2. Evaluation Upon receipt of the notification alert, the appropriate team or EHS executive or manager will then evaluate and review the facts and confirm: the actual severity of the incident classification of the incident immediate actions to be taken After evaluation, it is then determined if an investigation is necessary. Usually, an investigation is carried out for medium or high severity incidents. If an investigation is not required, the team can proceed to the root cause analysis. Using an incident management system, the evaluator can manage the incident reports from a dashboard view. The evaluator can assign the investigation to an Investigating team. Both parties can then collaborate on the shared documents and ensure that records and evidence are complete. 3. Investigation The investigation process involves collecting qualitative data and setting up an investigating team or investigator to: Gather information on applicable policies and training Identify the sequence of events Gather the documentation of the staff involved Interview with the witness and the injured party Collect more supporting evidence All information gathered before the investigation should be provided to the investigators. For serious incidents, measures are taken to prevent the disturbance of evidence so that the scene can be properly assessed. One of the benefits of having an incident management system is it greatly reduces the paperwork and enhances the information flow between the investigating team and the management. The incident management system can process large amounts of information and has a layer of security to protect sensitive information and personal records. 4. Root Cause Analysis In root cause analysis, it is necessary to examine the underlying factors in a chain of events that results in an incident. Organizations can use different methods such as Fishbone Diagram, 5-Whys, Bowtie Analysis, and Fault-tree analysis. The factors for root-cause analysis include: Unsafe or unstable conditions such as environment, equipment, and maintenance Human factors such as unsafe acts, understanding the task being performed, and training After identifying the root cause, the outcome of the analysis will then reveal several faults contributing to the incident and potential latent failures. This step will then lead to the development of Corrective and Preventive Action Plans (CAPA). 5. Action Plan The main objective of the Action Plan is to perform corrective actions that correct the problem that caused the incident and do a preventive action plan to ensure that similar types of incidents do not happen again. Follow-up actions for the incident investigation report include: Response to the recommendations in the investigation report Develop corrective action plans that include lessons learned, training, disciplinary actions, and compliance with regulatory requirements Monitor implementation of the Action Plans until completion To keep the incident management team on track, every Action should have a timeline and be traceable with complete updates and evidence. An incident management system has an Action Plan that enables users to trigger an Action for specific work activity, set starting and end dates, assign Actions to responsible parties, and set automatic escalation alerts to notify Action owners when the due date is approaching. The users leverage the Action Plan monitoring dashboard to have a full overview of the Action progress. The management then uses the status indicators to help them review, escalate, follow up, and close the Actions when completed. 6. Final Review of Corrective Actions Effectiveness Before closing the incident report, organizations must perform additional checks to confirm the success and effectiveness of their corrective actions. Organizations can streamline the factors in each corrective action and calculate the new associated risk. They can also determine the exact cause of the incident and make changes that prevent them from happening. These steps will identify if further action is needed. Once the incident report is signed and approved by top management, the incident is officially closed. One of the benefits of using incident management software is the ability to escalate important events and distribute the information to different stakeholders in the company. With an automated system, it is easy to make a follow-up and be able to monitor the completion of each task. It is then easy for the top level to review the summarized reports, view the indicators, and can easily understand the series of events before they sign for approval. Lessons learned beyond incidents The incident management process does not stop after the incident report is closed. Organizations must have full visibility of their EHS performance and be able to manage risk. Organizations can use the collected incident data to disseminate information across the organization for better decision making and enhanced EHS procedures. Incident Management Software Solution ESC's incident management software is a reliable system that collects consistent incident reporting data. It uses a defined workflow that ensures correct information is captured for each process, including the attachment of pieces of evidence (photographs and relevant documents), creating an Action Plan, and monitoring the progress in a dashboard view. The system is also designed to create real-time push notification alerts to remind recipients of their assigned tasks, review escalation reports, manage records, and approve requests. If you need more information about how ESC has helped other leading companies develop best practice incidents and integrated EHS programs, please contact us. Learn more about our Quality and EHS Management software. Sign up for a free online presentation!
Safety during and after the pandemic
With COVID19 still a problem, it is imperative to ensure the safety of all employees, be it internal employees or outsourced contractors. Having to work remotely makes it even more challenging to keep track of the workforce. And as we know, non-compliance can result in incidents or can result in organizations paying penalties. According to a survey conducted by EHS Today, the main challenge that businesses face is maintaining adherence to new policies with non-employees. As companies that employ contract/on-site workers, they usually have little control over the contractors' EHS activities. It is also recognized that employers are having a hard time enforcing these EHS procedures. Although most companies have a system in place for hiring, pre-qualifying, and managing contractors, it is difficult for them to validate if on-site workers comply with the regulations. The survey also reveals that 45% of companies either do not check the specifications of the contractors or do not conduct confirmation of their physical documents. Most of their procedures involve traditional processes like paper documentation, using spreadsheets, chasing for signatures, or using unsecured messaging apps to communicate internal matters. This practice can be improved by using a digital platform as companies can easily manage and track their performance & validate procedures while also checking whether or not the employees or contractors comply with the regulations. Organizations need to ensure that they are on top of regulations. For the traditional process, it takes a lot of time to find out and identify the applicability of these changes for their organization. They need to ensure that changes are applied and complied with. Organizations also need to ensure that information is spread and understood across their internal stakeholders and contractors. The good thing about digital platforms is they can be integrated into existing management systems. Organizations need not worry about revamping their current business process just to implement a new system. With digital platforms like BlueKanGo, the solution can adapt to the existing procedures and centralize information. An on-site worker, for example, can immediately perform checks before starting a high-risk work activity. EHS Managers can then validate the report's accuracy before approving it. This way both internal and external parties are more efficient and improved their means of communication while ensuring compliance. Digital platforms can help support organizations to address everyday health and safety issues. With the COVID19 situation not looking to ease up any time soon, companies should embrace the “new normal” which consists of working remotely and digitizing their processes. This is a good chance to close gaps in existing EHS policies and procedures. If you need more information about how ESC has helped other leading companies develop best practice incidents and integrated EHS programs, please contact us. Learn more about our Quality and EHS Management software. Sign up for a free online presentation today!
Quantitative Risk Analysis: What You Need To Know
A QRA is a valuable tool for determining the risks associated with (petro) chemical processes, transportation, and or storage of dangerous substances. In Singapore, QRA is a requirement by the Major Hazard Department (MHD) which consists of several agencies like the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Environment Agency (NEA), and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). The results of the QRA provide Singapore’s MHD with the information they need to assess the acceptability of new projects against predefined risk thresholds. The assessments can also be used to inform emergency response plans and to recommend measures to ensure any observed hazards are kept as low as reasonably practicable (ALARP). Section 26 of the Environmental Protection and Management Act, the Fire Safety Act and Fire Safety (Petroleum and Flammable Materials) Regulations empower the Singapore Authorities to require the Responsible Party (the owner/occupier) for a hazardous installation to conduct hazard/ risk impact studies. The scope of work of the QRA comprises the following: Hazard identification – a qualitative review of possible accidents that may occur (based on industrial accident records or, as necessary, professional judgment) involving the hazardous substances stored and/or utilised by the project; Scenario identification – definition of the specific scenarios to be studied in this QRA, with each scenario assigned a unique identification code or isolatable section number; Event tree and frequency analysis – determination of the frequency or likelihood of occurrence of all identified scenarios; Consequence modelling – determination of the consequence distances (harm zones) that would result from the realisation of each scenario identified by the outcome, e.g. pool fire, jet fire, BLEVE (a boiling liquid expanding vapour explosion), fireball, flash fire, vapour cloud explosion (VCE), pressure vessel burst (for example due to runaway reaction or internal explosion), and toxic release; QRA Results – summation of consequences and frequencies of all isolatable sections to determine the Individual Risk (IR) of fatality (on and offsite), injury, cumulative escalation (offsite), and to individuals in onsite occupied buildings, together with the identification of specified harm zones; Comparison with PCD Risk Acceptance Criteria – provide the authorities with the appropriate information to facilitate land use planning in the vicinity of the hazardous installation; Prioritisation & ALARP assessment – recommendation of mitigation measures, as and where required, to reduce risks or manage the hazards; and Emergency Response Planning - facilitate the development of an emergency response plan (ERP) to deal with all possible accident scenarios. ESC is a registered QRA Consultant with the National Environment Agency (NEA) and has conducted numerous QRAs for our clients in Singapore. For more information or assistance in performing a comprehensive QRA for your facilities, please get in touch with our team of experts or visit our contact page.
WEBINAR: Post-Circuit Breaker Guidance for Safe Management in Singapore
About the webinar The latest COVID-19 advisory from the Ministry of Manpower Singapore requires businesses to implement Safe Management Measures at their workplaces. Businesses must ensure that operations can be restarted safely and risks posed by COVID-19 are minimized – they must also appoint a Safe Management Officer to conduct checks and keep records for government inspectors. In this webinar, the team will draw upon their significant knowledge and experience to explore the adjustments that businesses may need to make to implement a system of Safe Management Measures at their workplaces and explain how this could be the perfect time to invest in digital EHS management solutions. About the speaker Richard Sirrs is a business development lead for ESC and BlueKanGo with a background in environmental regulation. He's been helping companies in Europe and Asia develop management systems and leverage new technologies to support their compliance activities for over 10 years. Muhammad Nurhaslam is a Senior Consultant for ESC with 12 years of experience providing regulatory advice, onsite and offsite consulting, audits, analysis, and management system support. He is also experienced in Project Management and create new business opportunities for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Ashri Abdullah is an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Consultant for ESC with 18 years of experience providing regulatory advice, onsite and offsite consulting, audits, analysis, and management system support for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). He is also experienced in emergency preparedness and training for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Watch the replay
WEBINAR: Improving operational safety and efficiency with e-Permit to Work System
About the webinar Permit To Work (PTW) is an important element of an effective health and safety management system. A formal authorization system is used in an organization to control selected work activities to ensure the safe execution of work on site. Traditionally, PTW systems were paper-based checklists, filled-out by pen, and taken by hand to the relevant personnel for signing off. However, the paper-based system has some drawbacks, including; lost time waiting for staff to sign-off, lost and damaged documents and little to no measures to prevent tampering of documents. In this webinar, we’ll discuss the benefits of implementing an e-PTW system and how a digitized system can increase functionality and better manage the planning, coordination, control, and visibility of all PTW activities across the workplace. About the speakers Richard Sirrs is a business development lead for ESC and BlueKanGo with a background in environmental regulation. He's been helping companies in Europe and Asia develop management systems and leverage new technologies to support their compliance activities for over 10 years. Laiza Fidel is a business development specialist for ESC with a strong background in sales and marketing creating new business opportunities and product development. She specializes in implementing digital solutions to client partners and extends the global reach of BlueKanGo. Ashri Abdullah is an Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) Consultant for ESC with 18 years of experience providing regulatory advice, onsite and offsite consulting, audits, analysis, and management system support for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). He is also experienced in emergency preparedness and training for Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Watch the replay