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Environmental health and safety management

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    Environmental health and safety (EHS) Management deals with the management of the activities of the organization in order to anticipate and prevent circumstances that may result in occupational injury, ill health, or adverse environmental impact. EHS management involves some elements.

    It involves Environmental and health safety policy which outlines the roles and expectations, faculties, EHS personnel, and individual employees or students. Secondly, management performance is very critical to the success of the EHS programme and the development of a strong culture within the organization. Also, planning forms an integral part of all elements of the management system and to be effective.it must include the design and development of suitable processes and organizational structure to manage EHS aspects and their associated risk control systems proportionally to the needs, hazards and risk of the organization. The next element is the implementation, the design and management should reflect the organization’s business needs and the nature of their risk. There should be operational plans to implement arrangements to control the risks identified. The last element is performance management and change management. The primary purpose of measuring EHS performance is to judge the implementation and effectiveness of the process establishes for controlling risk. This element involves gathering information on how the system operates in practice, identifying areas were corrective action is necessary, and providing a basis for continual improvement.

    As part of government’s policy to guide activities in order to follow sustainable development, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has developed guidelines to regulate oil and gas activities in the country. The purpose for these guidelines is to mainstream environmental, health and safety and community issues into the offshore oil and gas operations. Apart from the EPA, the Ghana Maritime Authority also undertook a number of legislative initiatives in 2011, to support the maritime industry, most especially the emerging oil and gas sector. These initiatives gave rise to the passage by parliament of some amendments to key legislation as follows.

    Ghana Shipping (Amendments) Act, 2011, (Act 826). This was intended to inject local content into the oil and gas development by encouraging Ghanaians to participate in the shipping and gas activities relating to offshore business. The Ghana Shipping Act, 2003(act 645) imposes restrictions on the trading of foreign registered ships in Ghanaian waters by preserving local trade in Ghanaian waters to Ghanaian ships. The Environmental Assessment Regulation, LI 1652, was promulgated in 1999 to give complete legal status to the Ghana Environmental Impact (EIA) assessment procedures. EIA stages are screening, scoping and the actual EIA. It is mandatory in the following energy fields, oil and gas, oil refineries, pipelines, power generation etc.

    Environment, health and safety issues are interrelated. It is common that what starts as an environmental challenge, soon develop into safety and health issues.

    By: Kwame Yeboah Kyeremeh www.reportingoilandgas.com

     

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