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ERA's Environmental Compliance Management Blog

Savvy EH&S Specialists Leverage Environmental Data To Reduce Costs

Posted by Alex Chamberlain

Alex Chamberlain is a writer for ERA Environmental Management Solutions.

Environmental data management lehelps one EHEverything that happens in your facility is pretty much interconnected: the amount of material you produce, the emissions you generate, on-site hazards, profitability - everything. That’s why it’s possible to monitor the performance of your facility through the data typically collected and managed by the environmental department. So, how do savvy environmental professionals leverage this data to improve their performance & lower costs?

Here’s a real-world example of how one quick-witted Environmental Manager (who happens to be a client of ours) created a better training system and increased plant profitability, using just the air emissions data generated on the shop floor.

This specialist's manufacturing floor painted large objects in a spray booth as part of the daily manufacturing activites. This particular activity was one of the facility’s largest sources of VOC (volatile organic compound) air emissions - meaning it had to be carefully monitored to ensure the facility did not exceed any environmental emission limits or permit conditions.

To help make things a bit easier, the manager was using an automated data collection system to track the VOC emissions and product usage for the spray booth.

With a good support system, the EH&S manager was able to chart the correlation between the amount of paint used each day in the spray booth and the amount of VOC emissions generated.

That’s when he noticed something unexpected...

By tracking the facility’s production capability each day, the manager noticed that on certain days the air VOC emissions were much higher than others -- but the amount of final product made for the day had not significantly increased.

In other words, the spike in air emissions was disproportionate to the amount of product manufactured - a sure fire sign of the opportunity to learn something interesting.

It didn’t take long for the EH&S manager to realize that some condition in the spray booth was causing the level of paint used and emissions generated to fluctuate higher than expected.

Turns out that one particular spray booth operator was improperly trained and was not following standard operating procedures. They were using more paint than necessary to coat the product, resulting in a higher cost of production and more emissions.

Thankfully, this was a problem easily fixed with proper training.

Now the facility’s EH&S manager is able to track how effective an operator’s training has been with environmental data management and can use the booth’s VOC records to tell when a refresher training course is needed.

Overall, the cost of production has gone down and VOC emissions are more stable.

You’ll be amazed at what your EH&S team can accomplish when it leverages environmental data management correctly and has the right tools.

If you're interested in how you can uncover situations like this at your facility and leverage the power of cheap & effective Data Automation, download our eBook by clicking the button below.

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