Sidley has been assisting clients on all facets of environmental, health and safety compliance assurance and management systems strategy, design, implementation and auditing for over 25 years. Since 1992, we have been a lead international negotiator for the United States on the ISO 14001 EMS standard and were among the primary drafters of that standard. We were part of a peer-review process for the ACC’s Responsible Care Management System, participated in the development of the ANSI standard on occupational health and safety management systems, and helped in the negotiation of the International Labor Organization’s guidance on safety management systems. Our lawyers were also involved in the revisions to the ethics and compliance assurance system criteria contained in the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s Sentencing Guidelines.
Extensive EHS Systems Implementation Experience
Sidley has successfully assisted companies in North America, South America, Europe and Asia through every aspect of the environmental, health and safety compliance management systems implementation process, including:
- Overall implementation strategy (including issues such as sustainable development, product stewardship and supply/value-chain management)
- System design and procedure writing
- Initial gap analyses
- Training at all levels, including Board of Directors and senior management awareness, implementation team training, plant employee training and auditor training
- Facility-level implementation assistance
- Compliance and systems auditing
- External communication and reporting
- Assisting clients with the third-party registration process (including contracting with registrars and helping companies prepare for and achieve the registration)
Sidley has assisted over 70 facilities with ISO 14001 implementation, from design to final registration (many of these projects included health and safety). We have helped many companies implement systems based on other criteria, such as the ACC’s Responsible Care 14001 and OHSAS 18001, and have extensive experience helping clients evaluate and develop compliance assurance systems focused on governmental models, such as the Sentencing Guidelines, EPA’s audit and disclosure policy and EPA/NEIC’s guidance on compliance-based management systems.
Achieving Compliance Through Effective Systems
We have represented many clients in criminal and civil enforcement actions where the effectiveness of compliance assurance systems was at issue or where governments sought to include compliance assurance systems or auditing requirements in plea agreements, consent decrees and government contractor debarment agreements. These representations have included conducting internal investigations to determine the cause of alleged civil or criminal violations, negotiating compliance systems and auditing requirements and assisting clients with complying with such requirements. This work has sometimes been conducted in the context of crises (e.g., major chemical releases or explosions), where complex investigations and corrective action analyses have to be conducted and coordinated under severe regulatory and public scrutiny.
This work has given us invaluable experience not only on what works but also on what does not work, including what can go wrong and why. This allows us to provide practical advice on how to prevent problems, not just implement corrective action after the fact to avoid recurrence.
We assist clients with the legal issues related to implementing compliance systems, including systematically identifying and managing legal requirements, developing and implementing compliance programs, procedures and auditing programs, and addressing document management and privilege issues. We also assist clients with designing and implementing compliance systems to manage specific legal requirements, such as process safety management (OSHA), chemicals (TSCA), waste (RCRA), Clean Air Act Title V permit and Section 112(r) risk management planning requirements, spill response and reporting, consumer disclosure (e.g., California’s Proposition 65) and product stewardship/supply-chain management (including compliance with product-related requirements, such as the EU’s REACH and CLP Regulations and the WEEE, RoHS and ELV Directives).
Adding Value Through Practical Experience
The projects Sidley has been involved in have ranged from designing and implementing systems for complex multi-facility and multinational corporations, to single-location projects involving small facilities. The industrial sectors represented in this work include chemicals, petroleum refining, natural gas distribution, automotive, electronics, aerospace, energy, electric utilities, transportation, medical devices and pharmaceuticals, natural resources and mining and general manufacturing. Many of these projects have included product stewardship, supply-chain management and sustainable development components. We are comfortable developing integrated environmental, health and safety management systems, as well as coordinating with quality management systems (e.g., ISO 9001) or broad-based compliance and ethics systems based on the Sentencing Guidelines, the corporate governance requirements of Sarbanes-Oxley or broad-based enterprise risk management programs.