An introduction to AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems.

What are Management Systems?

What is a Health & Safety Management System (HSMS)?

Importance of Health and Safety Management Systems

Developing a certified Health and Safety Management System

Do you need assistance?

What are Management Systems?

A management system provides structured policies and processes designed to help companies manage their impacts and improve their performance. A management system defines how a company will identify, assess, monitor and maintain their interactions with their workers and the working environment.

Management systems are made up of a series of interconnected elements that drive continual improvement. In order to deliver continual improvement consistently across a company, management processes are typically based on a four-phase cycle: Plan, Do, Check, Act.

1. Plan for an activity

2. Do the activity

3. Check effectiveness of controls

4 Act on implementing the process with the effective controls

Occupational Health & Safety Management Systems -  Plan Do Check Act Diagram
Management Systems Plan Do Check Act – PDCA Diagram

For further information on the Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle see our Management Systems article.

What is a Health & Safety Management System (HSMS)?

A Health & Safety Management System (HSMS) provides a systematic approach to managing health and safety. A HSMS helps an organisation to establish, implement, and maintain policies and processes to eliminate hazards, minimise risks including system deficiencies, and address nonconformities.

The purpose of a HSMS is to set out, in a structured and organised way, the particular aspects of your operations that influence the health and safety outcomes of your workers and other people at your worksites.

HSMS Structure

The size and the complexity of your company will influence how your HSMS is developed; that is the format of the system and level of information that is included. For small companies undertaking lower risk operations to health and safety, the structure of the HSMS may be organised into one document. For large organisations with multiple sites and various operations and/or high-risk activities then various policies, standards, procedures and plans may be required to ensure an effective management system.

The HSMS will document the following:

Safety policy: this will outline the company’s intentions in relation to how health and safety outcomes will be managed

Management structure: this ensures that the people who have particular responsibilities for safety are clearly identified

Safe work procedures: these procedures describe how risks arising from particular hazards will be controlled

Processes for providing information and training and appropriate inductions for workers

Other procedural issues such as reporting of incidents, record keeping and maintenance of the safety management system

Emergency procedures

ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System

There are internationally recognised standards for management systems including ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety. This Standard helps organisations to establish, implement, and maintain processes to eliminate hazards, minimise risks and address nonconformities. It provides guidance on how to use management processes to prevent work-related injuries and ill health, as well as how to proactively improve workplace health and safety performance.

Importance of Health and Safety Management Systems

The establishment and implementation of a HSMS is key to identifying your health and safety risks and requirements to ensure effective controls are implemented. A management system is an effective method of documenting processes and ensuring consistency in implementation as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.

The benefits of an effective HSMS include:

  • Improved risk management and protection of workers
  • Ensuring compliance with regulatory and compliance obligations
  • Streamline safety hazard and risk management with efficient use of resources
  • Improve employee reporting, communication, and overall safety culture
  • Centralisation of documentation and monitoring for continuous improvement

Developing a certified Health and Safety Management System

We can assist you with the development of a certified HSMS. Our steps for the development of a certified HSMS are:

1. Health and safety review

2. System development

3. System implementation

4. Internal audit

5. Certification audit

These steps are detailed below.

Health and Safety Review

Before we start, we will provide you with background information about the standard, AS/NZS ISO 45001:2018 , that the system is being developed in accordance with.

During the review your consultant will:

  • Explain the requirements of the Standard
  • Work with you to identify and assess of all hazards and relevant risks
  • Demonstrate the use of a Risk Assessment Model to assess and prioritise risks
  • Work with you to establish health and safety objectives and targets

System Development

Your HSMS, including all procedures and documentation required for certification will be developed by an experienced consultant. If you already have health and safety documents and processes, these will be integrated into the management system.

You will review the system and provide us with feedback. If necessary, we will change the system based on your feedback.

Implementation

Your consultant will provide you with clear guidance on how to implement the system into your business. We will help you understand the everyday requirements of your HSMS and its applicability and alignment with your health and safety objectives and targets.

We will provide assistance with any issue, query or request you may have to assist you with implementing the system in your business.

Internal Audit

Before certification, an internal audit of the system is required. The internal audit will be conducted by your Applied Environment & Safety consultant to ensure the successful implementation of the management system. A detailed audit report with recommendations will be provided.

Certification Audit

We will help you to select a certification body appropriate to your needs and liaise with them regarding the timing of the certification audit to ensure that you are prepared and that your timescales are met.

The management system will be certified for conformance with the Standard by a third-party certifying body.  Your Applied Environment & Safety consultant will be available, generally by phone, during Stage 1 of the certification audit.

Do you need assistance?

We have vast experience in the review, development and implementation of health and safety management systems.

Our experience includes:

  • Management system compliance review 
  • Review and development of management systems to Standards and other regulatory requirements
  • Management system documents development including policies, standards, and safe operating procedures development
  • Auditing of management system for compliance and opportunities for improvement

Contact us if you need further support or have detailed question for our team of experts.

This article provides an in-depth understanding of an ISO 14001 internal audit checklist while diving into the following topics:

What is ISO 14001

Why is ISO 14001 Important

Implementation of ISO 14001

Audits for Compliance

ISO 14001 Certification

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is an internationally-recognised framework that provides organisations with the requirements of an environmental management system. An environmental management system (EMS) aligned with the ISO 14001 Standard allows an organisation to identify their environmental risks, and implement processes to ensure continual improvement.

Want to better understand what a management system is? Take a look at our management systems: Introduction article.

An effectively implemented EMS allows an organisation to minimise its impact on the environment, and optimise environmental opportunities through a systematic framework. This is achieved through mapping out organisational strategic objectives and aligning them with goals and outcomes that are environmentally sustainable.

In essence, ISO 14001 provides a framework that determines how your organisation is currently impacting the environment, identifying areas of improvement and potential risks along the way.

Why is ISO 14001 Important? 

There are many reasons why an organisation should take a strategic approach to improve its environmental performance.

Users of the standard have reported that ISO 14001 helps: 

– Demonstrate compliance with statutory and regulatory requirements 

– Increase leadership involvement and engagement of employees 

– Improve company reputation and confidence of stakeholders through strategic communication 

– Achieve strategic business aims by incorporating environmental issues into business management 

– Provide a competitive and financial advantage through improved efficiencies and reduced costs 

– Encourage improved environmental performance of suppliers by integrating them into the organisation’s business systems 

Implementation of ISO 14001

Below are some key considerations for the implementation of an EMS aligned to ISO 14001.

Context of the Organisation:

Consideration of the external and internal issues that can affect the intended outcomes of the system need to be included in your EMS. The needs and expectations of interested parties should also be considered in regard to environmental management.

Emphasis on Leadership and Commitment:

It is widely recognised that a successful management system requires commitment and support from top management. Emphasis on leadership by top management is required in the Standard. This includes the integration of environmental management into the organisation’s core strategies, processes and priorities.

Risk Approach to Management:

The Standard requires the identification, determination and inclusion of aspects that can have a significant environmental impact as part of a risk based management approach. This includes the requirement for organisations to specify the criteria used to determine risk.

Life Cycle Perspective:

Thinking of each stage of a product or service as part of a lifecycle perspective is required under the Standard. This includes considering the organisation’s control or influence during procurement through to end-of-life treatments.

Audits For Compliance

An audit is a systematic, independent and documented process for determining whether your management systems and processes effectively address specific risks and are being implemented in accordance with internal and external requirements. 

The objective of an ISO 14001 audit is to assess operations to identify strengths and weaknesses, determine effectiveness and compliance, and measure progress. This will be in relation to:

– Compliance with statutory and ISO standard requirements

– Implementation of policies, standards and procedures

– Management control of environmental practices

– Staff awareness of risks and controls

– Maintaining accreditation or other external stakeholder requirements

– Exploring improvement opportunities

For more information on environmental audits, see A Guide To Environmental Audits & Inspections

ISO 14001 Internal Audit Checklist

An ISO internal audit checklist can be used as an effective tool for checking the implementation of your EMS. Self-auditing can help to define a high-level overview of your organisation’s performance, and determine the effectiveness of the management system. It can also help to identify problem areas and successfully apply principles of continuous improvement.

Self-auditing is best used as a tool to discover the potential opportunities for innovation and continuous improvement. This is not a replacement for a third party certified body audit and will not necessarily result in ISO certification.

Further details on ISO certification is provided in the next section.

ISO 14001 Certification

Accredited certification of your EMS to ISO 14001 is not a requirement, and organisations can enjoy many of the benefits from using the standard without going through the accredited certification process. 

However, third-party certification – where an independent certification body audits your practices against the requirements of the standard – is a way of signalling to your buyers, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders that you have implemented the standard properly. What’s more, for some organisations, it helps to show how they meet regulatory or contractual requirements. 

How to get Certified to ISO 14001? 

If you would like more information on how to undertake an internal audit to be become certified, we would be happy to arrange a call to talk about your options, Contact Us

Further Resources:

Reference Article 1 – ISO 14001

Reference Article 2 – ISO 14001 Audit Checklist

Applied Environment & Safety provided construction environment management plan and inspection support to PCA Ground Engineering during the road embankment stabilisation project at Sunrise Beach, Noosa, Queensland. Geotechnical investigations detected evidence of slope instability within the parkland adjacent to the road. This was due to the loose sandy material and the steep topography of the site. Works were required to stabilise the bank and prevent damage to the road.

The scope of the project required stabilisation of the slope with minimal impact to the existing vegetated slope and surrounding areas. The works are vital to maintaining the long-term serviceability of the road and drainage infrastructure at this location. The works included:

– Slope stabilisation

– Revegetation following stabilisation

– Repairs to the stormwater culvert

Our role on this project was to provide technical environmental support. This included the development of a construction Environment Management Plan; Sediment and Erosion Control Plan; and Rehabilitation Plan. Then during construction, we undertook inspections of the works to ensure compliance with the controls for each of the environmental aspects. The environmental aspects of the project included:

– Erosion and sediment control

– Biosecurity management 

– Waste management

– Rehabilitation

We believe in using our expertise and knowledge to add value and improve project outcomes for our clients. We use our extensive construction project knowledge to identify environmental risks and provide practical solutions.

Environmental controls were effectively implemented by PCA Ground Engineering during this project. We believe in working closely with our clients to build supportive relationships. By working together, we have been able to ensure environmental risks were mitigated during this project.

This article focuses on the key elements of environmental audits & inspections and the benefits these processes have on your operations.

For management plans and systems to be effective, they must be integrated into your operations. The purpose of environmental audits and inspections is to assess your management systems to determine if they are effectively managing risks to the environment, as well as identify opportunities for improvement. Evaluation of the implementation of your management processes leads to reduced risks and continuous improvement. 

Environmental audit meaning defined

An environmental audit is a systematic, independent and documented process for determining whether management systems and processes effectively address specific risks and are being implemented in accordance with internal and external requirements. 

The objective of an environmental audit is to assess operations to identify strengths and weaknesses, determine effectiveness and compliance, and measure progress. This may be in relation to:

  • Compliance with relevant statutory and best practice requirements
  • Implementation of policies, standards and procedures
  • Management control of environmental practices
  • Staff awareness of risks and controls
  • Maintaining accreditation or other external stakeholder requirements
  • Exploring improvement opportunities

An environmental audit should provide a fair and true reflection of the management system by obtaining audit evidence and evaluating it objectively against audit criteria.

How are environmental audits important to your operations? 

Environmental auditing has a critical role to play in ensuring that organisations fulfil their commitments to environmental management and performance. Audits can provide key information to management on areas of risk, and progress towards strategic objectives and targets.

Audits enable management to understand exactly what is happening within the organisation and to check the operation (or otherwise) of plans, systems and procedures. Undertaking regular environmental audits is a proactive measure to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and stakeholder expectations. Indeed, evidence suggests that environmental audits have a valuable role to play, encouraging systematic incorporation of environmental perspectives into many aspects of overall operations, helping to trigger new awareness and priorities in policies and practices.

Environmental auditing can help reveal the likely weaknesses of an organisation’s processes, therefore reducing the risk of unexpected events. A properly prepared and conducted environmental audit has great benefits and adds value to an organisation that is committed to act on the results.

Environmental Compliance

Environmental compliance means conforming with relevant environmental laws, regulations, standards and other requirements. The importance of being environmentally compliant isn’t just about being green, it is essential to ensuring the success of your operations by limiting your exposure to penalties and public scrutiny as well as identifying opportunities for improvement.

An environmental audit can be used to investigate the compliance status your operations and/or the extent of your environmental liability. This process is a systematic evaluation focusing on current operations and management procedures and processes. Assurance through auditing verification and reporting programs can be used to identify gaps and limitations as well as allocate ownership and accountability to the process of implementing environmental compliance for your operations.

Environmental Audits vs Inspections

An environmental audit evaluates the compliance of management systems and practices within an organisation with regulations, internal policies or other compliance drivers. While an environmental inspection looks for risks and implementation of controls for a specific operation.

Given that the goal of an environmental audit is to assess overall compliance of processes, they are typically performed less frequently than inspections. Audits are typically conducted by a third-party to the site being audited. This could be an auditor from another company site or an auditor completely external to the company. 

Inspections are typically the reoccurring completion of checklists by operational personnel, such as Site Managers or Environmental Advisors. Inspections can be thought of as compliance tasks with checklists. For example, an inspection can be used to determine if specific controls are being implemented effectively.

Types of Environmental Audits

In general, there are three types of environmental audits:

System audits: these audits check that your system is compliant with standards or guidelines that your system has been developed in accordance with such as ISO 14001: Environmental Management Systems. These audits check that all policies, procedures and other required documented information is available and up to date.  

Operational audits: these audits check if you are doing what you say you are doing. Your system audits should confirm that the correct procedures have been developed, however these operational audits confirm you are actually implementing them.

Compliance audits: Sometimes called legal audits. These audits should check that you are complying with all the legislation and other requirements that are applicable to your operations. They should cover all of your activities, products and services and all your legal requirements.

Use for Environmental Inspections

An inspection looks for compliance with controls as well as any new or changed risks and poor practices. An environmental inspection could be used to:

  • Observe work practices to identify the effectiveness of controls
  • Examine whether construction or operations present any environmental risks
  • Check whether controls and other management practices are effective

5 Step Environmental Audit Process

5 Step Environmental Audit Process
5 Step Environmental Audit Process

The main steps of an environmental audit are detailed below.

Step 1: Plan the Audit

The first step in the environmental audit is to establish and document the scope and terms of reference. The scope could include one or more sites or specific operations to be audited. While the terms of reference is the reason for the audit such as ISO 14001 certification or compliance with specific legislation requirements.

Step 2: Prepare for the Audit 

An environmental audit guidance tool must be prepared for each audit activity. The audit guidance tool may be in the format of a checklist, list of interview questions, marked-up procedures, flow charts or mind maps. 

Download – Environmental Audit Template

An audit plan should also be developed. The audit plan is used to schedule activities and meetings with auditees within each audit, including the opening meeting and interviews.

Step 3: Conduct the Audit

Prior to conducting the audit, all relevant personnel in the audit team should meet to discuss the scope of the audit, proposed audit agenda, audit objectives, any personnel that need to be contacted or interviewed, and a tentative time to hold the closing meeting.

Step 4: Develop an Audit Report or Action Plan

The environmental audit team needs to prepare a report based on all the objective evidence that is collected during the audit. The audit report should be completed based on agreed content in the closing meeting.

Step 5: Audit Follow-Up

Following the completion of the audit, actions to close out any non-conformances or suggested improvements should be implemented and tracked. This can be done separately or as part of the audit report. 

Our 5 Tips for Preparing for an Environmental Audit

There are many benefits of undertaking and participating in environmental audits. This includes identifying and preventing risks, determining which processes are working well, and looking for opportunities for improvement.

These are our five tips for getting the most out of your environmental audit:

1. Understand what is being audited. It is your licence or approval requirements? Or a particular aspect of your environmental management system or operations? Or recertification of your management system? If you are unclear, then clarify with the auditor so that you can be prepared for the audit.

2. Know the audit schedule. Otherwise, ask the auditor for the schedule so again you can be prepared.

3. Make sure worksites are clean and tidy. As an auditor walking into a tidy and well-maintained work area, you are instantly impressed and this starts the audit off on the right foot.

4. Be cooperative. An environmental auditor is there to help you. They are a fresh pair of eyes to notice something that you have overlooked and provide suggestions to improve management processes. Use this to your advantage by assisting to determine suitable solutions to improve your operations.

5. Closeout any non-conformances or improvements as soon as possible. This will provide the greatest benefit to your operations as well as preventing lingering items on your To-Do list.

How Can We Help?

If your project is in need of an environmental audit & inspection, our team are here to help. With vast experience in a wide range of industries, we are equipped to support your project needs. Contact us with your request.

Applied Environment & Safety has been providing ongoing health and safety support to a local furniture removal and transport company for several years. This support has included quarterly inspections of warehouse operations and assistance with external audits.

We have provided support to our client during external audits. This has included Australian Furniture Removals Association (AFRA) membership compliance audit as well as a Queensland Fire & Emergency Services (QFES) compliance inspection. We assisted our client with working through solutions for audit non-compliances, updating management plans and liaising with external bodies.

We believe in the value of our industry and are passionate about achieving action based outcomes for our clients. During quarterly inspections, we work closely with Chess Moving, Brisbane to develop actions to improve their safety performance and recommend implementable solutions. This has included establishing designated work zones; implementing chain of responsibility requirements; hazardous goods storage and use; and improving housekeeping measures.

We have developed simple ways to assist our client with implementation of their Safety Management System. To assist with implementation we developed forms, checklists and registers for daily use by operational staff. We supported and trained management staff in implementing processes such as staff and contractor onboarding, routine workplace inspections and incident reporting. 

When Chess Moving relocated to a new warehouse, we were engaged to develop and deliver a warehouse induction and safety refresher training package for all staff and contractors. We also set-up work zones, traffic management requirements and emergency evacuation procedure for the new warehouse.

We continue to have a close working relationship with Chess Moving, Brisbane. We enjoy working together to improve their safety processes.

For further information on how we could provide practical health and safety support to your business, contact us.

Applied Environment & Safety recently provided environmental inspection and auditing support to Hazell Bros during their Bruce Highway intersection upgrades and safety widening project located between Gympie and Maryborough in south east Queensland.

This $8.1 million road project involved road widening works, flattening roadside slopes and installing guard rails as well as providing safe turning lanes. This project forms part of the Bruce Highway Upgrade Program aimed at improving road safety for the local community.

Our role on this local project included providing environmental support and inspection during construction. We believe in using our expertise and knowledge to add value and improve project outcomes for our clients. We used our extensive construction knowledge to identify environmental risks and provide practical solutions.

We assisted this project by conducting environmental audits focussed on the obligations in the Construction Environmental Management Plan. We also completed regular inspections of the works to identify environmental risks for each stage of construction.

Bruce Highway Environmental Inspection & Audit
Bruce Highway Environmental Inspection & Audit

Observations and recommendations were delivered in timely reports. The reports had details of observations from the environmental inspections and compliance against the environmental requirements to ensure the effective implementation of the Construction Environmental Management Plan. 

Bruce Highway Sediment & Erosion Control
Bruce Highway Sediment & Erosion Control

Environmental aspects observed and monitored for this project include:

– Erosion and sediment contro

– Surface water and stormwater runoff

– Noise and vibration management

– Hydrocarbon management and spill prevention

– Dust management

– Biosecurity management 

– Waste Management

Environmental controls were effectively implemented by Hazell Bros during this project. We believe in working closely with our clients to build supportive relationships. By working together, we were able to ensure environmental risks were mitigated for this project. 

For more information on other projects we have supported, visit our Projects page.

Applied Environment & Safety has continued to provide Environmental Advisor support for the Department of Defence Shoalwater Bay Training Area remediation project. This $125 million project managed by Downer and FKG as a joint venture involves upgrades to key infrastructure and facilities within the training area to allow for sustainable ongoing military use while maintaining the environmental values of the area.

This Training Area covers over 454,000 hectares of diverse landscapes and marine environments in central Queensland. It is located within protected areas including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park World Heritage Area and Shoalwater and Corio Bays Ramsar Wetlands. As well as various areas of protected flora and fauna habitat. 

Key construction upgrades include rebuild of the Urban Operations Training Facility consisting of a mock city with full-scale buildings and structures. As well as airfield upgrades with an additional aeromedical evacuation landing zone; construction of a new field hospital; road upgrades and new beach landings; and extensive creek crossing upgrades throughout the training area.  

Given the significant environmental sensitivities of the project area, compliance with regulatory and client requirements and implementation of environmental best practice is the highest priority. 

Our responsibilities on this remediation project included obtaining pre-work environmental clearance certificates, mapping extents of vegetation clearing, providing advice for site rehabilitation, and monitoring ongoing environmental compliance against project requirements. We worked closely with key stakeholders including Department of Defence Environmental Officers, civil and landscaping contractors, and specialist consultants to facilitate project delivery. 

A primary deliverable for Applied Environment & Safety was to map the extent of vegetation clearing required for creek crossing upgrades throughout the Training Area. This involved working with civil contractors and project engineers at each site to capture the disturbance footprint. This mapping was compiled and provided to the Department of Defence for approval of the works.

Now during completion of the project, we are assisting with the closure of the environmental clearance certificates and providing advice on rehabilitation requirements. This includes permanent sediment and erosion controls and hydro-mulching.

Our secondment into this complex multifaceted project presented the challenge of acquiring an understanding of the project’s issues, stakeholders involved and environmental requirements within a short timeframe. However, by taking a proactive approach to engage with stakeholders to understand project expectations and application of our technical knowledge and construction experience, the project has been successfully supported to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. 

For more information on our services, visit our Services Page.

Applied Environment & Safety have recently extended our ‘lead by example’ approach by implementing the first steps towards becoming a carbon neutral business. 

To formalise this carbon neutral goal, Applied Environment & Safety have registered with Climate Active Australia. Climate Active certifies businesses and organisations committed to measuring, reducing and offsetting their carbon emissions. 

Currently, we are analysing our emission data to establish a carbon inventory and calculate our total net CO2 output for 2020. This carbon inventory and total net emissions data will be used to set a baseline year to monitor ongoing emissions. This will also be used to identify opportunities for reducing emissions and secure carbon offsets to achieve net zero emissions.

Once our carbon inventory and total net emissions have been calculated, the data will be independently reviewed and verified by a registered consultant. Following this review, we will seek opportunities to reduce our carbon emissions and offset any remaining emissions. We will then have made the change to carbon neutral.

This process will be certified through the Climate Active program. Climate Active certification is awarded to Australian businesses that have met rigorous requirements to achieve net zero carbon emissions. This requires a business to credibly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and then offset any remaining emissions through the purchase of carbon offsets.

For more information on Climate Active Australia and their initiatives visit: Climate Active Australia

While we are a small business with relatively low carbon emissions, we believe in being responsible for our role in protecting the climate and implementing sustainable business practices. 

Stay tuned for updates on our progress towards becoming a certified carbon neutral business.

Applied Environment & Safety provided environmental and landowner liaison support from planning through to rehabilitation for the TransGrid Wagga Wagga to Tumut transmission line rebuild project. This 18-month, $20 million project involved the replacement of 243 wooden pole structures spanning 80 km across diverse landscapes in central New South Wales.

Our support to the project commenced during planning with the development of the Construction Environmental Management Plan and other approvals. Then onsite environmental management and compliance support throughout construction.

Rehabilitation Starts with Planning

Due to project area being located partially within the Snowy Mountains, substantial earthworks were required to establish safe access and construction work areas. These large-scale disturbed areas were monitored and managed throughout the project. 

We worked closely with contractors and landowners throughout the project from initial access and vegetation clearing works through to final site rehabilitation. Early engagement with earthmoving contractors ensured valuable topsoils and vegetation were managed appropriately for reuse in rehabilitation. Other rehabilitation controls included erosion and sediment controls; topsoil stockpiling and management; and seeding to promote vegetation growth and ground stabilisation. 

By working closely with landowners throughout the project, this ensured expectations of final site conditions were agreed upon and rehabilitation works carried out accordingly. 

This project was completed in mid-2020 following extensive rehabilitation works. Now, several months after the project’s completion, disturbed areas are progressively returning to their pre-work condition.

All works were completed on schedule and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders. 

For information on other transmission line projects that we have supported, visit our Projects page.

Applied Environment & Safety have been providing environmental support in the early contractor involvement (ECI) stage of the ElectraNet Eyre Peninsular transmission line upgrade project. This $290 million project involves constructing a new 270 km double-circuit 132 kV transmission line from Cultana to Port Lincoln in South Australia as well as major construction works on substations.

Environmental support for this ECI phase involves input into design, site investigations and development of management plans for construction. Our knowledge of transmission line construction phases and the potential associated environmental risks allows us to develop effective controls for our client.

A main component of this phase is the development of issue specific environmental management sub-plans. This has included soil, water, vegetation, waste, landholder and cultural heritage. A focus has been weed mitigation and management. Baseline weed surveys have been contracted. Weed management zones and control measures will be determined for construction. 

We believe in providing practical environmental management services. This means when developing sub-plans, we apply our practical construction knowledge to ensure implementable solutions along with environmental best practice. 

Also permit applications and supporting documents have been developed. This has included a Water Affecting Activities Permit for the construction of waterway crossings. For this permit, spatial data has been ground-truthed. Then crossings designed to minimise impact on the waterway channel and mitigate erosion and sedimentation.

We have been working closely alongside our project partners to be adaptive and flexible in our outputs and delivery. This is a very interesting major project that we are enjoying providing technical environmental support.

For other projects we have supported, visit our Projects page

Applied Environment & Safety are implementing sustainability into our business through the CCIQ ecoBiz program. We have been awarded three star ecoBiz partnership through our energy, water and waste initiatives.

CCIQ ecoBiz is a free program, funded by the Queensland Government, that helps businesses save money through reducing energy, water and waste. ecoBiz has been very successful, and worked with thousands of Queensland businesses. 

Applied Environment and Safety has been an active participant in the ecoBiz program and a recognised Star Partner for several years. Given that our business operates either from our home office or client locations, the ecoBiz assessment this year was completed on merits of best practice rather than a quantitative analysis of business resource intensity. 

The assessment was based on initiatives and behaviours which demonstrate implementation of business sustainability practices, and minimisation of environmental footprint. Our sustainable business initiatives for 2020-21 for energy, water and waste are listed below.

Energy

Aim: Progression towards carbon neutrality

  • Carbon offsets to be purchased for employee flights taken through the 2019-20 financial year
  • Track and record vehicle travel
  • Switch to carbon neutral electricity including explore costs for installation of solar panels on home office

Water

Aim: Protecting local waterways

  • Opportunities to donate (time or money) to a local catchment group
  • Ongoing rehabilitation of council verge bushland at home office including removal of weeds, replanting native plants and mulching as waterwise garden

Waste: 

Aim: Shift towards zero-waste

  • Implement office clean-up including recycling or donation of disused electronic equipment
  • Ongoing implementation of Containers for Change Refund Scheme including when working with our clients
  • Opportunities to contribute to upcycling and recycling programs such as The Breadtag Project. This is a campaign raising awareness for the ubiquity and overconsumption of single-use plastics

We will keep you updated on the progress of these initiatives. Tracking of our carbon offsets, container recycling and donations are reported on our website. Visit our about us page to find out more about the team.

For more information on ecoBiz.

Applied Environment & Safety provided onsite environmental support for the rebuild of the TransGrid Wagga Wagga to Tumut transmission line. This was a substantial project involving the replacement of 243 structures over an 18-month period. 

The transmission line traversed diverse landscapes from low lying cropping paddocks to steep rocky terrain within the Snowy Mountains region. The project’s most significant environmental challenge was sediment and erosion control for the large scale construction of access tracks and structure pads. 

Sediment and erosion control measures included: 

  • Preparation of sediment and erosion control plans.
  • Full engagement with the civil contractors on construction requirements for tracks and pads.
  • Ongoing maintenance of controls over the life of the project.
  • Rehabilitation of disturbed areas following completion of works.

Prior to breaking ground, Applied Environment and Safety worked closely with the civil contractors to ensure best practice controls were incorporated into construction. Ensuring the access tracks and pads were constructed correctly decreased the maintenance required over the project lifespan.

Some sites proved especially challenging with highly erodible soils, steep terrain and livestock. Livestock enjoy investigating and quickly destroying a well-designed catch drain. 

Routine inspections throughout the project ensured erosion and sediment deposition was avoided, and controls were maintained.

Following completion of the works, disturbed areas were rehabilitated in accordance with the requirements of landowners and best practice. Applied Environment and Safety worked closely with landowners throughout the project to ensure a mutual understanding of how disturbed areas would be remediated. 

Generally, rehabilitation works involved levelling the subsoil back to natural ground level and spreading stockpiled topsoil over the site with a pasture seed mix. Alternatively, disturbed areas that were to remain following the project were upgraded with longer term, more durable erosion and sediment controls. This included rock drains and coir logs for erosion control.

For information on other power and transmission line projects that we have supported, visit our Projects page.