BioLogiQ Solutions (BioLogiQ) is an Irish-based company that provides expert, up-to-the-minute and customized management, system consultancy, auditing and training that are both comprehensive and practical.
We are the first and only carbon-balanced consultancy in Ireland. We provide public and in-house courses to individuals, public and private sectors in the following areas:
- Health and safety,
- Quality management,
- Laboratory management,
- Energy management,
- Carbon management,
- Social responsibility,
BioLogiQ is the only IEMA-approved training provider (in Ireland) for the new Greener Job courses which are specifically for non-environmental people who need to skill up and who need help to efficiently implement and maximize the benefits of a proper environmental management system. Many quality and OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) people are now being given the environmental role and we believe this suite of courses meets this need.
We have a fundamental commitment to the quality of our work, so guaranteeing the successful promotion of quality, safety, sustainability and profitability in all aspects of your business. To find out more about our courses, please visit www.biologiq.ie
BioLogic, a Carlow-based company, has been honoured as an International Green World Ambassador at a prestigious ceremony on 11th November at the House of Commons in London.
This recognition comes as a result of its success in winning a Green Apple Award earlier this year for their “Optimised, Sustainable Engineering Solution” which upgraded a F-rated 1970s bungalow to A1 energy efficiency standard using improved insulation and underfloor heating powered by solar and photovoltaic systems. In fact, the dwelling is now energy neutral over the course of a year with no net electricity or heating bills.
The Green Apple Environment Award, which will be 20 years old next year, is a campaign to find Ireland and the UK’s greenest companies, councils and communities, and the Green World Ambassador status is reserved for winners who also help others to improve the environment. The award-winning project paper has been published and promoted worldwide in “The Green Book”, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others around the world can follow their example and learn from their experience.
The award judges commented, “The aim of their project was to convert a pre-2000 built home with solar energy upgrades, both solar thermal and photovoltaic, to ensure that energy performance was at a maximum whilst the costs were at a minimum. They did this with a number of innovative solutions to achieve an A1 building energy rating and in the process achieved energy self-sufficiency and commissioned the first house in Ireland to run on solar-prioritised space and water heating systems.”
“Furthermore, we developed a more accurate method for predicting and reporting the energy harvest from solar energy systems that is now available to benefit other businesses and home-owners”, said BioLogic's Managing Director Dr. Douglas McMillan.
The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising and promoting environmental best practice around the world.
BioLogic is the first and only carbon-balanced consultancy and training provider in Ireland. BioLogic offers a wide range of auditing, consultancy and training services in environment, health & safety, energy, laboratory, quality management, social responsibility and sustainability requirements as well as the design of energy efficient and passive buildings and optimised solar energy systems.
ISO 9001:2015 – A quick look at the “known knowns” and the “known unknowns”
As well over 1 million organisations across the world await the latest version of the world’s most popular management system standard let’s ask ourselves what do we already know about the expected changes to the ISO 9001 standard and what won’t we know until the standard is published and implemented by organisations?
The Process Approach, PDCA
The existing concepts of Plan Do Check Act (PDCA) and the Process Approach will remain at the core of the standard.
The existing 8 Principles of Quality Management underpinning ISO 9001 will remain. These will however be reduced to 7 principles by merging The Process Approach and the System Approach to Management. This recognises that essentially a System is a set of interacting Processes and there is a strong overlap between these two Principles.
Common High Level Structure
We already know that the new 9001 standard is going to be aligned (along with all the other management system standards) with Annex SL which is the High Level Structure for all management systems. The aim of this is to “standardise the standards” and make it easier for organisations to integrate and manage a variety disciplines in one system. There will be a common text at the core of all management system standards meaning approximately 30% of the text will be common.
So what will the impact of this be on our existing Quality systems? Essentially, it will mean that organisations will need to re-align our existing management systems, by considering the processes we already have and deciding which of the “new look” requirements they already meet, as many of the changes are conceptual, this will address most of the new standard but there will be some gaps and these will need to be filled by adjusting the relevant processes (e.g. control of documents and records) and in some cases creating new ones (e.g. managing risk and opportunity).
More emphasis on addressing “risks & opportunities”
This is one change that is going to take some time to show its impact on and benefit to organisation’s QMSs. A known unknown if you like.
The new version of the standard will require our QMS to identify risks and opportunities and put controls and actions in place to address the most significant of these.
This is the one change that will occupy most Quality Managers, auditors and management system consultants over the period of transition to the new standard. It might seem like a new concept for Quality (and a little scary for some organisations), but ISO 9001 has always required us to consider risk.
Just think for a moment about what Preventive action meant in practice i.e. identifying potential problems and preventing their occurrence – isn’t this almost a text book definition of risk management? Confirming this change, the term Preventive action has been removed from the new standard, but far from being removed; the concept has been reinforced by the change. Lots of Quality professionals already successfully manage risk with their Quality systems through HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points), Business Continuity Planning, internal audits, trend analysis and preventive action processes and, as already discussed, where these processes do already exist they will simply need to be aligned with the requirements of the new version of the standard.
“Products and services” instead of “product”
ISO 9001:2008 already determines that wherever the term “product” was used within the standards it also meant “service” (see Clause 3). The new standard will replace the term “Product” with “Product and Service”.
To some, this is a very minor change and won’t impact at all on their understanding of the existing standard. For others, mainly Service Providers it brings much needed clarity and removes an opportunity for misunderstanding of what requirements apply to them.
Others changes we can expect, include the following;
More requirements for top (and other) management.
“External provision of products and services” instead of “purchasing” – includes outsourced processes.
Elimination of specific requirements for a Quality Manual and a Management representative (you can still keep these of course but they will no longer be required).
Managing the Transition through Audit and Corrective Action
One approach that organisations could take to managing the transition, could be to use their internal and external audit processes to flag any gaps between their current QMS and the new requirements. Organisations can then use their Corrective Action process to drive through the changes required over time.
To achieve this, Internal auditors will need to be trained in the changes to ISO 9001 as soon as possible after the standard is published, this will allow them to use the requirements as additional criteria in their audits, and then raise observations against these new requirements in their reports to allow the changes to be addressed gradually within the system over the 3 year expected transition phase.
This is the expected approach of the Certification Bodies who will start raising observations (or category 3 findings) once the standard is published later this year.
None of the changes coming in ISO 9001:2015 should present a major problem for organisations to address over the 3 year transition to the new version – by planning now and introducing change gradually the disruption to the organisation should be minimal.
If you would like to find out more about Quality Management Systems, do have a look at our internal quality auditor course.
This article was written by Shane Curran, SureLeaf Systems. Shane is an expert member of the NSAI Quality Management Standards Committee, whose role it is to review and approve the changes to national and international Quality Standards including the ISO 9000 series; he works as a freelance management systems consultant and auditor and works with the BioLogic team from time to time as an Associate.
Waste Management, why is it important and what can you do?
Most people don't realize how much waste they throw away every day. For example, if we are just looking at food, from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce, shockingly, as much as half of the world’s food is wasted. Consequently, feeding the world is actually much more about preventing waste than finding ways of producing more food and all its associated social and environmental costs.
Once in landfills, the valuable raw materials contained in waste are lost and food in particular breaks down to produce toxic leachate which can contaminate groundwater and methane which is twenty-four times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide so making a significant contribution to climate change.
According to the EPA’s National Waste Report for 2012 Ireland produced 2,692,537 tonnes of municipal waste which includes household, commercial and other waste or 4.6% lower than in 2011 which continues an ongoing trend of reduced levels of waste production.
What is waste?
The key piece of legislation here is the Waste Management Act, 1996 which defines “waste” under Section 4 as anything that is to be thrown away, is intended to be thrown away or is handled as waste i.e. “Any substance or object belonging to a category of waste specified in the First Schedule or for the time being included in the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard, and anything which is discarded or otherwise dealt with as if it were waste shall be presumed to be waste until the contrary is proved”.
“Disposal” is also defined under Section 4 and includes the collection, sorting, transport and treatment of waste as well as management of the waste and resource minimization including storage and tipping of it above or under ground, together with any transformation operations necessary for its re-use, recycling or incineration. A permit system operates for persons other than “public waste collectors” engaged in the treating, destroying, or tipping of waste on behalf of another person.
A key measure of the Act was to make not only producers, but also "holders" of waste responsible for waste management so that everyone in the waste management chain from production to disposal have a “duty of care” to ensure its proper treatment. This obliges waste producers to check up on the performance of their waste contractors and the penalties for not doing so (non-compliance) are prohibitive with possible fines of up to €13 million, daily fines of up to €130,000 and imprisonment for terms of up to 10 years.
The real cost of waste for your business
Ever-expanding waste legislation, consumer pressure and growing business awareness of the benefits of sustainability have all increased the need for organisations to improve their environmental performance.
Many companies are unaware of the true cost of waste to their business which could be as high as 4% of turnover. This is because the true cost of waste isn’t limited to the bill for disposal, as there are hidden costs, in terms of wasted raw materials, energy, labour - which can be five to twenty times greater, not to mention the risk of fines and reputational damage as poor management can land an organisation on the wrong side of the law. Consequently, implementing a structured waste minimisation programme makes sound financial sense as well as heightening competitiveness through improved quality control, quality of the environment and business and public profile.
The waste management hierarchy outlines the key principles. Reduction is the most preferred option as it’s the waste you don’t produce that doesn’t cost you anything. It includes all actions taken to reduce the amount and/or toxicity of waste requiring disposal, however, it is typically a more technical and in-depth approach which involves reviewing all operations to identify waste reduction options. It also can lead to improvements in overall operational efficiency and productivity.
Reuse, preferably internally in the organization but externally if this is not feasible, is the next best option. Recycling and composting come next in order of preference and are probably what most people think if they think of waste management.
Incineration is the most polluting of all energy sources (but does recover some of the energy content of waste) and along with disposal (landfilling) props up the waste management hierarchy as the least preferred option.
Some simple methods of reducing waste include:
- reducing paper waste by default double-sided printing,
- purchasing of goods that have recycled content or produce less waste,
- moving to a 'paperless' office or implementing a “paperless” day in the office,
- providing reusable cups to eliminate disposables,
- composting food waste produced in the canteen for example (and a legal requirement if it is greater than 50 kg a week),
- installing recycling bins in the office – make sure to consult with employees to ensure they are located so as to be easily accessible, and do the contrary for general waste bins.
If you would like to learn more about waste management and minimization, and understand the legal requirements for your organization, we run an intensive one-day introductory Waste Management and Resource Minimization course. For more info drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 059 9100203.
If you want to find out more about waste management yourself take a look at the EPA’s ‘BeGreen’ website.
- Irish Statute Book
- National Waste Statistics – Report and Bulletins
- Cr� the Composting and Anaerobic Digestion Association of Ireland
- Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Article from The Guardian: "Almost half of the world's food thrown away, report finds"
A new Directive on the control of major accident hazards involving dangerous substances known as Seveso III was published on 24 July 2012 by the European Commission and has been implemented in the Irish legislature by the Chemicals Act (Control of Major Accident Hazards Involving Dangerous Substances) Regulations 2015. It amended and subsequently repealed the Seveso II Directive on 1 June 2015.
The Seveso III Directive addresses the consequences to the regulation of major accident hazard sites of the repeal of the Dangerous Substances Directive and Dangerous Preparations Directive (implemented in GB as the CHIP Regulations) and their replacement with European Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures implemented in GB as the CLP Regulation.
The Seveso III Directive does not fundamentally alter the regulatory regime laid out in Seveso II but does strengthen a number of areas such as public access information and standards of inspections.
Scope of Seveso III
As with Seveso II, Seveso III applies to an establishment that has dangerous substances as set out in Annex 1 at or above the qualifying quantities. Annex 1 contains two tables which are; Part 1 ‘categories of dangerous substances’ and Part 2 ‘named dangerous substances’. There are some changes in both named categories of dangerous substances and named dangerous substances between the current Annex I and the Seveso III Annex 1.
The toxicity categories have moved from Very Toxic and Toxic to Acute Toxic Categories 1-3 with exposure routes (dermal, oral and inhalation) specified in some cases. There is also a new category of ‘flammable aerosols’. In the named dangerous substances, heavy fuel oil and ‘alternative fuels serving the same purpose and with similar properties’ have been moved to the named substance entry for Petroleum Products and biofuels have been included in the entry of ‘Liquefied flammable gases’.
These changes mean that from 1 June 2015 a number of sites may:
enter the regime at the lower or upper tier threshold
move from the lower tier, or vice versa
leave the regime completely.
The Directive is aligned with the UNECE Convention on public information, public participation in decision-making and access to justice on environmental matters (known as the Aarhus Convention).
In line with the Aarhus Convention the changes will mean that:
All sites will have to provide basic information about their sites, Upper Tier sites will be required to provide more information than Lower Tier sites. This information must be permanently and electronically available and kept up to date;
Further information including Safety Reports and Inspection Reports will have to be made available on request.
The current requirement under Seveso II for a flexible risk/hazard based system for inspection will continue under Seveso III which means the frequency of site visits will continue to be based on the risk/hazard profile of the site. Relevant findings of inspections under other EU legislation will need to be taken into account in the hazard/risk assessment of sites and where possible inspections will need to be co-ordinated with other EU legislation.
Notifications from operators will have to include information about neighbouring establishments and other nearby sites where they are relevant to the major accident hazard scenarios. Sites will also be required to provide information about their inventories under CLP which means that under the COMAH Regulations 2015, establishments will be required to re-notify to demonstrate that they fall into scope and under which tier.
Upper Tier sites will still be required to produce Safety Reports. All Upper Tier sites will need to reclassify their inventories from CHIP to CLP to be attached to their Safety Reports.
The fundamental requirements of emergency planning from COMAH 1999 will remain under Seveso III / COMAH 2015. The Directive has made the requirement for lower tier sites to have appropriate on-site emergency planning arrangements in place more explicit.
What are the implications for me?
The Seveso III Directive, and by extension the COMAH Regulations 2015, apply to any business where dangerous substances, as set out in Annex 1 of the Directive, are either present on site at or above the threshold quantities or could be generated in the event of an accident. All types of businesses with dangerous substances are covered, not just those in the chemical sector.
If you already operate a COMAH site you will need to:
check the scope of the Seveso III Directive i.e. changes to Annex 1;
check other parts of the Directive which may apply e.g. more information may be required for the safety report which will then need to be revised, or public information requirements may have changed for your site.
For an operator currently out of scope under COMAH 1999 you will need to check the changes to Annex 1 of the Seveso III Directive which could affect whether your site remains out of scope or becomes an upper or lower tier site. If you are in scope of Seveso III you will need to check which requirements you will be obliged to comply with and meet the appropriate timescales.
Local authorities must prepare adequate emergency plans to deal with the off-site consequences of possible major accidents at upper tier sites, and should review and where necessary revise them. They must also test them at specified intervals.
Local authorities will need to prepare emergency plans for any sites in their area that become upper tier sites as a result of the changes in the Seveso III Directive.
Land use planning is one of the measures in the Seveso III Directive intended to mitigate the effects of a major accident in the unlikely event that one occurs. The changes to the land use planning requirements of the Seveso III Directive will be implemented through planning legislation.
If you need to find out more about SEVESO and train your staff call us on 059 9100203 or enquire about our in-house SEVESO Awareness course that we can customise to your organisation’s requirements.