Category Archives: H&S

Elm Featured in iPhoneLife Magazine for iPad Use

The new issue of iPhoneLife magazine highlights Elm’s use of iPads for environmental, health and safety audits in a short feature.

Unfortunately, the article indicates we use them for energy audits, which is not the case.  We have contacted the editor to inform them of their error.

Interestingly enough, the current issue also reviews various notetaking apps for anyone interested in reading up on the subject.

Japan Tragedy Tests Ethical/Environmental Procurement Standards

As the world grapples with the immense impact of the disaster in Japan, attention is turning to the global economic impact of the country’s lost production.  Japan has long been a critical link in the supply chain of many industries – perhaps most notably in the automotive and electronics sectors.

The Financial Times ran a piece today on this which touches on contingency plans to help replace lost production stemming from unforeseen major disruptive events.

In this context, a question arises:  Will companies enforce their procurement requirements for vendor EHS performance during this period?

Elm has long discussed EHS risks in the context of supply chain disruption contingency planning.  In past years, the risks have been more focused on matters related to how production redistribution could cause violations of various environmental permit limits tied to production levels.  However, the rise of ethical purchasing standards – as voluntary and highly publicized corporate commitments – has altered the definition of EHS risks in supply chains.

It may be months or years before some of the Japanese plants are in production mode again.  In the interim, companies impacted by the disruption face a conundrum:

  • Do they attempt a rapid production recovery by quickly engaging second-tier alternative suppliers that may not meet EHS procurement standards (i.e., relaxing their supplier requirements)?
  • Or do they stick to the EHS standards for suppliers, thereby risking potentially extended production downtime while either (a) searching for a supplier who meets the standards, or (b) bringing a supplier up to speed?

Certainly, it is easy to say there is a third option – implementing an existing contingency plan with an existing alternate supplier that already meets the EHS procurement standards.

But few manufacturers have that third option available, as EHS concerns tend to be overlooked in supply chain disruption planning.

Elm’s iPad Auditing Featured in One of the World’s Most Visited Websites

Elm is featured in today’s issue of the on-line news source Mashable for our innovative use of the iPad for HSE auditing.  The article can be read here.

With a reported 30+ million monthly pageviews and an Alexa ranking under 250, Mashable ranks as one of the world’s largest websites. The website has a large following on many social networks.  As of February 2011, it has over 2 million Twitter followers and over 425,000 fans on Facebook.

Elm Hosts Webinar on Using the iPad in HSE Auditing

Join us for an upcoming webinar Friday, February 25 about using the iPad in HSE audits.  We will present an overview of our experiences in using the device on actual audits over the past 6 months.

Included in the presentation will be a discussion of

  • evaluating its potential use and fit within organizations/existing audit processes;
  • benefits and limitations; and
  • a detailed step-by-step simulation of an audit using Elm’s selected application (smartNotes), including actual screen shots.

The hour-long presentation will be followed by an open question and answer period.

Click here for a full description.  There will be a morning session and an afternoon session.  Click here for the afternoon session.

We hope you can participate.

Now Available – Summary Review/Comparison of Conflict Mineral Supply Chain Traceability Audit Programs

Elm has developed a short summary review of conflict minerals audit programs based on our industry-leading first-hand experience conducting these audits, and leveraging our extensive international senior-level health, safety and environmental (HSE) auditing expertise.

If you are interested in receiving our summary document, please send us an email (lheim@elmgroup.com) or feel free to call us.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Joseph Cotier, CPEA joins The Elm Consulting Group International LLC

The Elm Consulting Group International LLC, a specialty health, safety, environmental and sustainability (HSES) management consulting firm, is pleased to announce the addition of Joseph B. Cotier, CPEA as a Director of the firm beginning January 3, 2011.

“Joe brings 22 years experience in HSE auditing excellence and client focus to our team” said Patrick Doyle, Elm’s founder and Managing Director.  “He is a perfect complement to the firm.”

“I have known Joe personally and professionally for close to 20 years and know first hand about his expertise and exemplary qualifications.  We are very excited to have him become a part of Elm” said Robert Bray, Elm Co-Founder and Managing Director.

Cotier said, “I am happy to be a part of Elm and look forward to continuing to have a positive impact on the HSE auditing field – driving innovation both in the US and across the globe.”

Joseph B. Cotier, CPEA, has completed more than 350 EHS audits and management systems consulting projects in more than 35 states and 20 countries.   He has experience in a wide range of industries including petroleum refining and chemical manufacturing, electric utilities, breweries and consumer and pharmaceutical products manufacturing. Mr. Cotier is an air emissions expert with particular strengths in emissions inventories, leak detection and repair, and a wide variety of MACT programs.  Joe his has performed inspections and managed compliance orders as a Senior Air Pollution Control Engineer for the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection. He is a BEAC Certified Professional Environmental Auditor and recently completed his fifth year on the Board of Directors for The Auditing Roundtable, the leading professional association for HSE auditors.   He served as Secretary, Vice President and President, and now serves the Roundtable as Director on the Board.

Mr. Cotier will be working out of Glastonbury, Connecticut and can be reached at jcotier@elmgroup.com, +1-860-794-3617 (cell) or +1-860-430-1653 (office).

The Elm Consulting Group International LLC Launches iPad Environmental Audit Protocols

Following a successful implementation of the iPad for HSE auditing, Elm is today rolling out environmental compliance audit protocol modules for field testing this week.

“We believe this is the first formal environmental audit protocol implemented in the iPad form factor,” said Lawrence Heim, Director of Elm’s Georgia operations and the firm’s lead for iPad service development.

The protocols are reflective of a traditional paper-based format proven in the field over a number of years.   Modules selected for field testing are waste generation, Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know (“EPCRA”) and ozone depleting substances.

“In our view, this as a potentially dramatic step forward in HSE auditing.  While version one does not automatically generate audit findings or reports, it has other significant strengths in addition to the benefits already seen by Elm from iPad implementation,” Heim said.

Elm highlights the following features:

  • Flexibility.  The protocol can be used in a manner matching auditors’ own personal styles in collecting audit data.  Handwritten notes are captured in any format, including different “ink” colors, “highlighters”, and line weighting.  While the initial protocol version is based on Elm’s standard audit process, other custom formats can be developed virtually without limitation.
  • Adaptability. Elm’s iPad HSE protocol can be used alongside existing audit systems for initial data capture and organization prior to entering the information into less user friendly, highly structured audit systems.  Also, the resulting PDF file can be attached into other HSE audit systems as supporting documentation.
  • Merging related documents into the protocol.  Documents such as state regulations, permits, plans, applications, agency correspondence and enforcement agreements can be incorporated into the protocol itself without effort of retyping, restructuring or reformatting.  Once the appropriate document is merged, auditors are able to write notes and highlight text directly in the document.  Further, by using a cellphone camera, additional documents can be captured and merged into the protocol in a few minutes while on-site.
  • Languages. The iPad application in which the protocol was created can drastically reduce the need to translate audit protocols and related documents between languages.  Audit documents are captured in their source format and original language, eliminating language translation costs/errors and allowing auditors to use their local language.

“We fully expect a successful test, with only minor changes to Version 1 being necessary.  Additional environmental compliance modules are already in initial stages, awaiting our assessment of the field trials.  Health and safety modules will be developed soon after,” Heim stated.

EHS Journal Publishes Detailed Article on Elm iPad Trials

We recently announced our trial of and results from using an iPad for EHS auditing.  These articles were intentionally short and provided summary information.

We were subsequently contacted by the Editor of EHS Journal to provide a more detailed article for their respected publication.  That article is now available.

We invite you to read it.

Elm Completes Field Trial of iPad in EHS Audit

Elm has completed its initial field trail of the iPad for EHS auditing.

Lawrence Heim of Elm’s Georgia office:

In our week-long test of the iPad in an actual client audit setting, we used many of the features available in our selected data collection application.  There were other relevant features that we did not use this time, but expect to in the future.  To sum it up, the iPad and our selected application performed flawlessly.

  • Data capture – over 50 pages of handwritten notes in this case – was efficient and error-free.
  • We were able to create charts, tables and diagrams, as well as use a “highlighter pen” feature.
  • The user-defined data tagging function worked extremely well to quickly identify matters needing further information or clarification.  That feature also allowed quick, easy access to – and certainty in locating – findings in the notes.  Data tags clearly indicated finding summary information for further convenience.
  • Exporting the notes was rapid and seamless.  The resulting file can be viewed/emailed to the client in PDF form as well as other formats if needed.

I believe that our use of the iPad created a time efficiency of between 15% – 20% on this particular field trial.  I anticipate that we will see even greater savings as we become more experienced in using the available features the device and app offer.  Any company seriously seeking ways to improve on-site audit efficiency and reducing errors/omissions should evaluate the iPad.

As a result of this successful trial, Elm will be adopting iPad use more broadly across the company before the end of 2010.

If you are interested in having us demonstrate the iPad’s power in an upcoming EHS audit at one of your sites, please contact us.

Elm Survey on EHS Risk Launched

Even before the BP oil spill, there was a substantial chatter about “EHS risk”, what it means and options for managing it. In many cases, external resources such as consultants are brought in to assist with the effort. These resources possess skills that cut across various competencies, which can create ambiguity within the client’s organization about which department(s) may be responsible for identifying, vetting and hiring these resources.

Elm has created a survey that is intended to explore these issues.

To ensure your privacy, we have disabled the user tracking option on the SurveyMonkey settings.  Therefore we have no way of identifying respondents in any way.

Launch the survey here.