Environmental protection is an essential component of global sustainability. Companies and organizations must adhere to specific standards and regulations to ensure that their operations are not detrimental to the environment. But how do you know what constitutes as good stewardship of the environment?
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), is a global leader in setting technical standards for products related to health, safety, chemical, and environmental interests. Organizations apply ASTM compliance guidelines in order to protect the environment across a variety of industries including but not limited to construction, chemical manufacturing, healthcare, aerospace, automotive engineering, and fire safety.
This article will explain what ASTM compliance and certification means in relation to environmental protection. It will discuss why this type of regulation is important and what specific certifications exist that can be obtained by organizations dedicated to environmental stewardship.
Certifications and approvals
Certifications and approvals are essential for ensuring that products, services, and processes meet specific industry standards as well as any applicable laws, regulations, and codes. Certification audits can be conducted by an independent certification body to assess whether a company meets the criteria necessary for certification. Companies must typically adhere to quality systems and demonstrate consistency in their production processes and finished products or services. By maintaining certifications, businesses are able to prove their commitment to providing safe, quality products or services and meeting customer needs.
Approval refers to the formal recognition of a product or service following a rigorous evaluation process. The goal of an approval is typically related to safety, such as having your new car seat approved before you can legally put it into use with your baby. Such approvals may also involve compliance with specific industry or governmental regulations in order to gain access to certain markets or credentials. An experienced team of auditors conducts thorough testing based on predetermined standards before issuing such an approval. Obtaining approvals is often seen as a necessary step for manufacturers in gaining access to certain customer markets or improving customer trust and confidence in their product.
ASTM International is an international standard organization that develops voluntary consensus technical standards to ensure the materials, products, systems and services meet a certain level of quality. This includes such items as construction materials, medical devices and food additives. ASTM was formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials.
The objective of the standard is to provide design requirements for low-power aircraft engines that are powered by reciprocating spark ignition engines. This ensures these engines are safe from fire risk and combustion instability during all normal operating conditions. The standard also provides test methods which must be followed during both engine design and manufacture in order to make sure stringent safety requirements are met.
Standard Procedure for Environmental Regulatory Compliance Audits (ASTM-E2107)
ASTM-E2107 is an important standard practice for environmental regulatory compliance audits. This document outlines the steps needed to ensure that organizations comply with relevant environmental laws and regulations. The goal of the audit is to evaluate current compliance levels, identify issues that can lead to future non-compliance, and provide recommendations for improvement.
In order to ensure its accuracy and effectiveness, ASTM-E2107 provides a complete document history which contains crucial information about the document’s design and goals. Furthermore, its purchasing process comes with several bibliographic materials intended to facilitate readers’ decisions. These materials include historical facts about any reported discrepancies, specific written guidance on identification of potential violations, and recommendations for improvements of existing systems. Ultimately, this practice serves as a comprehensive guide for organizations across different industries in their efforts to make sure they are compliant with applicable environmental laws.
Scope of ASTM
The purpose of this practice is to identify the minimum requirements for environmental compliance audits. Audits are conducted in the United States, as well as other countries subject to their laws, and provide a reference to accepted audit terms and procedures. Various benefits have been attributed to audits, including greater understanding of an organization’s compliance status, recognizing opportunities for improving environmental systems management, reducing potential legal liability when connected with compliance management programs, better communications with regulatory agencies and stakeholders, providing information for investment decisions regarding environmental endeavors both short term and long term and employee education.
Having a clear system in place with defined audit requirements can help organizations ensure that they are compliant with all relevant regulations. Audits can increase efficiency by minimizing financial exposures through preventive risk management processes based on cost-benefit analysis principles. They also facilitate identifying noncompliance issues early on and alerting enforcement personnel prior to the commencement of any investigations. Having a successful audit includes thorough review of the obvious elements of operations documents and contracts, control methods for discharging materials into the environment: stack tests; water quality monitoring results; notification forms; inspection records; preventative maintenance logs; inventory controls sheets; hazardous waste disposal activities; MSDSs; etc.
Significance and Use of ASTM
The use of this practice is meant to enable parties to more effectively perform or direct an audit as well as rely upon audit findings or an audit report. Internal and external auditors may incorporate other criteria, such as safety and health requirements, technical, operational and management requirements in the scope of the audit if specified in the audit plan. This practice is related to two other standards from ASTM, Practices E1527 and E1528, which address CERCLA liability and due diligence for commercial real estate respectively. Although many of the terms and procedures between this practice and the others might be similar, they should not be assumed to be identical.
By leveraging this practice in a professional setting, auditors are able to ensure that audits adhere to a standardized set of directions and considerations that meet certain criteria with regards to reporting methods or alluding any liabilities. This causes a higher degree of accountability for those involved in the different aspects of process presented within the auditing procedure. Furthermore, by incorporating Practices E1527 and E1528 into their assessment objectives means that auditors have access to a higher level of technical information which will help them produce accurate reports about the organizations being assessed or investments being considered for purchase.
Environmental Professionals’ perform Phase I Environmental Site Assessments
An Environmental Professional is an individual who abides by the highest standards and qualifications established by ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) in order to conduct Phase I Environmental Site Assessments. These assessments are important in order to divide potential liability issues associated with contamination at a site, as outlined under current CERCLA guidelines. A proper Phase I assessment must adhere to the guidelines contained within ASTM E1527-21, which outlines stringent regulatory research protocols that must be followed for any resulting LIA (Liability Insurance Agreement). Furthermore, an All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI)in accordance with 40 CFR 312 must also be conducted.
The Environmental Professional holds a great deal of responsibility when performing the Phase I ESA. Not only is it necessary that they are knowledgeable in regards to statewide and federal regulations concerning environmental health and safety, but this expert must prove capabilities that meet or exceed both local requirements, as well as those of ASTM standards for conducting such an assessment. The stakes are high and even the slightest discrepancy can result in legal action against a company or property owner; thus requiring due diligence on behalf of the EP so that anomalies of liabilities are identified.
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