In this post I thought we could look at what you need to do to pass the NEBOSH environmental management certificate practical assignment (called in NEBOSH speak EMC2).
The assignment does not have a pass mark, you gain a pass by making sure you hit several stated requirements. Don’t worry for now what these are, we will consider them later.
There are four parts to the assignment; these are all surrounding completing an environmental aspect and impacts assessment of a workplace. We won’t go into the details of how to identify and assess aspects and impacts, but we will take a look at some good practice hints and tips to help you gain a pass.
Read the Guidance
The first action MUST complete is having a good look at the guidance available for the project. NEBOSH have provided a detailed guidance note on what is required that you can download from the NEBOSH website HERE. They have also provided a sample project, you should not copy this, but it does help understand what is required for the project. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading the NEBOSH materials, if you do not do this properly you will not pass the assignment.
The Assessment Location
You must use the blank forms that NEBOSH has provided to complete your assessment. These can be downloaded from the NEBOSH website. To be honest this does make completing the assessment a whole lot easier.
Initially you must choose an organisation on which to base your assessment. The organisation does not necessarily have to be a high environmental risk workplace such as a factory. A lower risk workplace such as an office or warehouse of a reasonable size should be acceptable. All organisations will have environmental aspects and impacts of some kind. Read all the guidance and forms and then make your choice. Your training provider should be able to advise on project location if needed.
Introduction and methodology
The next task is to complete the ‘introduction to the organisation and methodology used’ form. There is a word count for all the forms you need to complete. This will give you some idea of how much you need to write. Make sure you fill in all parts of this form (and BTW all the others). It is imperative that you clearly describe the organisation such as where it is, what the activities are etc. This allows the reader to understand the context of the assessment. Don’t forget to identify ‘vulnerable receptors’ nearby to the project location. These might include watercourses, housing or biodiversity protected sites. Take a look at internet mapping sites and identify them as a compass direction and distance from the site such as ‘the River Browney is located 200 metres to the south west…’
Aspects and Impacts
Next you must complete the ‘identifying environmental aspects, associated impacts and existing controls form’. Some advice on doing this can be found on a previous blog post I wrote HERE. This is an important part of the assessment as we have some. You MUST provide at least four different activities, products or services from the project location. These are things that your organisation does such as paint spraying, office activities or storage of chemicals. You could use a process flow diagram to identify them or inspect the project location noting what activities are occurring. You must also record ten different aspects, you could do this by considering inputs and outputs from each chosen activity. Aspects are emissions, waste production, noise release or raw material/energy/water usage etc. You must also identify for each aspect its operating condition. And there should be at least two conditions in your assessment, these are:
- Normal operation – what happens all the time such as the emissions from a car exhaust when driving.
- Abnormal – an aspect that occurs infrequently, such as aspects associated with car maintenance
- Incidents/accidents, emergency – fire, flood, spillage etc so if the car crashes and releases diesel into a river.
Impacts are the effect that an aspect has on the environment. It is generally the damage caused so water pollution, climate change, nuisance are all examples of environmental impacts that aspects have. They can be more than one for each aspect, if this is the case you should include them all.
When assessing the significance of the aspects and impacts you must use the rating table that NEBOSH provides (available as a standalone document on the NEBOSH website) and clearly state the rating for each aspect in the table, placing the relevant criteria text in the criteria table of the form. Carefully evaluate the rating factor and choose one that meets the requirement of the aspect and impact.
Three significant aspects
The next form requires you to take three significant aspects (so probably the three you have scored highest) and evaluate them further. It is really just a matter of providing more information on them. There is a separate form for each aspect. Provide information such as why they are significant such as what or who will be affected, is it breaching the law? (if so state the law and how it is being breached), does it impact stakeholders (if so who and how), how does it affect the environment (see table 2 in the guide for assistance) are control measures weak? Etc.
You should also outline a number of additional controls to reduce the risk. Make sure you are very clear on what needs to be done and don’t use a few word answers such as ‘training’ or ‘write a procedure’ your actions should be clear and specific. Develop a timeframe for each action based on its importance and ease of implementation. For example purchasing and installing an extra bit of kit will take much longer than writing and implementing a waste management procedure. Make a rough estimation of the cost and place this in the ‘resource requirement’ column. Some actions will not have any direct cost associated so you could use a term such as ‘management time’ and estimate the time allocation for these.
Communication and review
The final part is the communication and review form. This one requires some information on review frequency. The higher the risk then generally you want to be reviewing the assessment more frequently, probably somewhere between 6 months and a year would generally be suitable. State how you will communicate your recommendations; this very much depends on the stakeholder you are communicating with who has some relevance to the assessment. Finally, you need to describe what ways you will check that additional measures are in place so you will need to follow up on that the recommendations have been completed every now and again.
The key things you must do to pass the EMC assessment are as follows:
- Read, read and read again the NEBOSH provided guidance materials and forms such as the guidance document and the project sample. You must provide NEBOSH with what they want in the way that they want it. Don’t do it your way, do it the NEBOSH way!
- Use the NEBOSH provided forms.
- Complete all parts of the forms (you might not pass if you do not do this).
- Adhere to the clearly identified requirements in the guidance such as providing at least two operating conditions for each aspect, providing ten aspects etc.
Good luck with your EMC2 assignment!
John Binns BSc (Hons), MSc, MIEMA
With over 19 years’ experience working in environment management, John Binns BSc (Hons) MSc MIEMA is an experienced environmental tutor and consultant with knowledge of health and safety management.