One of our facilities at our site in West Deptford, USA, has achieved a Responsible Care industry standard that assures all the elements of a management system for health, safety, the environment and security...
This comprehensive coverage is helping to make the site a better and more responsible place to work – and through hard work and determination, certification was achieved in only four months.
The Responsible Care Standard
The standard is called RC 14001 – RC stands for Responsible Care®, a programme managed by the American Chemistry Council. RC 14001 has its origins in public concern about the safety of chemicals manufacture back in the 1980s, and in 2002 mandatory independent auditing was introduced, making it a more rigorous and desirable certification to achieve. West Deptford is the first site in Johnson Matthey to achieve certification to RC 14001.
West Deptford was already certified to the international ISO 14001 standard and the structure of the two standards is identical. However, RC 14001 has a broader scope and includes health, safety, and security elements to the standard and adds additional requirements to sustainable operations, product stewardship, community engagement, and emergency response.
In May 2012 the site decided to pursue RC 14001 certification and the whole process was set in motion. A specialist external consultant was engaged to help achieve certification and the site's current auditor was retained as independent auditor. The site's environment, health and safety department coordinated the effort.
Collaboration and Improvements
Following an analysis to identify the gaps between the site's existing ISO 14001 certification and the requirements of the RC 14001 standard, the site embarked on a comprehensive programme of updating, amending and creating procedures – covering environment, health, safety and security – to plug the gaps. Representatives from all areas of the plant were involved and procedures were modified as necessary and documented. A website and product stewardship procedures were also developed in the run up to certification.
Several stages of auditing were done. First, the consultant did a two day audit of the system and the non-conformances identified were remedied. Then, in early September 2012, the external auditor conducted the first stage of the independent audit which highlighted further non-conformances which were corrected before the full certification audit at the end of the month.
This layered approach allowed the quality of the system to be improved and at the end of the second stage, the auditor verbally confirmed that the site was now approved. The written confirmation of certification praises the site's "exceptional level of detail on aspect / impact analysis and legal register".
The certification and the work that preceded it were a useful means to ensuring that the site is a safe and sustainable operation. The new management system creates a platform for the management of change over time and fosters openness with stakeholders.