4444 Second Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48201
(313) 963-8870


by Charles Barker   

At the two million dollar expenditure point for the environmental investigations, the company sued their insurance company (the insurance carrier they claimed they weren't covered for these types of damages). So began the inquiry as to what the employees knew or should have known about environmental management, and what top management at the company knew or should have known about proper environmental management.

No one at the plant wanted to be in the position of being interviewed. What I found to be the biggest irony was that the most loyal employees, the most pro-company employees, the ones that would do anything for the good of company they had worked for 30 years, had done the most damage. Not because they planned to, but because they didn't have any knowledge or training in basic environmental science/management. But then, who would be expected to have such knowledge? Certainly not someone who's job it was to make sure the line was up and running, or the parts were clean, or look for ways to reduce purchase of expensive chemicals used at the plant. Too bad, that's exactly who should have known. But then, when you wash your hands with 1,1,1-trichloroethane, it must be hard to imagine the stuff being harmful.

Working on this and almost every other project which involved contamination at an active facility, it wasn't a catastrophic spill or disgruntled employees that caused the contamination, it was the day to day practices that everyone considered "normal". The only way to prevent contamination in these cases is in-fact the easiest way…simple environmental training.

The training usually lasts 1-4 hours. It can be part of annual stormwater training, safety training, equipment training, ISO 9000, QS 9000, ISO 14000, or any other opportunity to relay information to those who need it most.

Another benefit of training is that in many cases employees can take action internally to eliminate poor environmental practices. The knowledge to identify and correct issues proactively can prevent fines and penalties, Consent Orders, or worse.

Call us to learn more about training sessions tailored to your facility. It will be easy and relatively inexpensive in the long run… compared to the alternative.