Environmental Considerations, Resilience and

Business Continuity Management:


Environmental management law is currently the fastest growing area of all major European safety legislation and proposals, constantly expanding the scope of environmental liability. The incidence of environmental, man-made disaster and terrorism, varies dramatically and, whether it is natural or man-made, mitigation and management depends, to a large degree on where it happens in the world. Although natural disaster related deaths occur mainly in developing countries, its not always the case. The multi-national organisation will obviously need to take a global perspective on pre-planning, mitigation and management. However in terms of their individual corporate assets they will need to reflect conditions prevalent to the country that business is in.


All UK based companies will of course have to look closer to home to identify the threats facing British business. Major incidents peculiar to the UK are mainly man-made as a result of fire and explosion. Of course there are many reasons to consider –  

- cancer risk in the environment;

- food-borne poisoning;

- air-borne pollution;

- water-borne pollution;

- ground pollution;

- contagion, disease or illness (epidemic, pandemic).


Disasters happen when least expected. However the associated risks can be considered in advance and, instead of meeting the problem on a wing and a prayer, constructive plans can be put in place to mitigate the situation were it to happen.


To comply with relevant EU and UK statutory environmental obligations and associated environmental policies and initiatives, it will be necessary for all companies to work closely with employees, contractors, suppliers, clients and the community to develop and implement agreed environmental initiatives. A written environmental management policy can help a business to adhere to legislation by providing guidelines for improving environmental performance and in turn gaining social, economic and environmental benefits. This includes working diligently on the measures, that ensure all programmes and projects are environmentally safe and economically sustainable, and the community’s ability to respond to disasters.


Business Continuity Planning (BCP)

Business Continuity Planning is a managerial process that identifies possible potential calamities that threaten the very fabric and future of an organisation and provides a framework for resilience that offers an effective response to mitigate the event; and to safeguard the interests of key stake holders, company reputation, brand and valued activities.


Disaster Continuity Management (BCM)

The civil contingencies act 2004 requires local authorities to provide advice and assistance to business and voluntary organisations on business continuity management in the event of disaster.  Business continuity is all about responsible management. It can make a premise a safer place to work in and add to financial security.


The main resource BS 25999-1:2006 is a code of practice that takes the form of guidance and recommendations. It establishes the process, principles and terminology of BCM, providing a basis for understanding, developing and implementing business continuity within an organisation and to provide confidence in business-to-business and business-to-customer dealings.


To ensure a business continues to function after a catastrophic event, all businesses and organisations large and small, even a single trader needs a business continuity plan.  A catastrophic event does not have to happen on your premises to damage or seriously disrupt your business.


A successful company needs an immediately available and fully functional BCM team to implement their BCP, mitigate loss, salvage critical functions and return business to as near normal as soon as practical. Developing a BCP plan relies predominately on a realistic assessment of your business and surrounding businesses together with a historical review of essential services, the land and an environmental impact analysis of the area.  Assigning appropriate values to asset cost in the likelihood of damage or loss, the threat of a perceived event ever happening and the vulnerability of assets to that threat, will be a relatively pure synopsis of your impact analysis.


Disaster response, recovery and review

CoMAH (Control of Major Accidents and Hazards) regulations, are in-place to protect people and the environment from and to limit the consequences of major accidents and incident pollution issues occurring within UK onshore chemical manufacturing and process industries. Again Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) is something of a niche discipline that requires financial modelling and valuation to assess the nature and scale of a company’s potential environmental liabilities. This may not be pertinent to your business but nearby chemical and processing companies could have a huge impact on the local environment in the event of a calamity.


In emergency service circles a Major Incident has been best described as an event that overwhelms the emergency service responders' ability to deal with it with their normal day-to-day resources. It is defined in the Home Office publication "Dealing with Disaster" as "A major incident is any emergency that requires the implementation of special arrangements by one or more of the emergency services”.  


To initiate a business recovery program, first it will be necessary for a superficial assessment of impact to be made by the BCM team to decide, whether or not, the Business Continuity Plan be set in motion. Where indicated, a full assessment of physical destruction or part destruction of the premises will normally be undertaken by the building/s Service Manager and Health & Safety, to determine what is required to make it safe for staff re-entry and restoration needs. The critical function analysis of vital production equipment, raw material and finished product etc., etc., will then be necessary to establish what needs to be put in place to re-enable production and continuity of business.


Critical Function Analysis and Recovery Process  

Within the BCP, the completed Hazard-Risk Analysis is possibly the first real indicator of the likelihood of impact from the disaster. Depending on the risk score, the mitigation put in place for the respective hazard will hopefully have been enough to ensure business continuity. It is at this time that the BCP will come into its own. The resilience built into the plan will hopefully now pay off.  Every element should fall into place allowing the BCM Team to respond successfully and get the recovery wheels in motion.


Be aware that the ' polluter pays' principle is not always found to be the case. The impact of identifiable liabilities can have a long term financial consequence and, as such, implies a need for companies and their financiers to calculate their current liabilities or, where appropriate, be assured that the purchase of a new premises or site, or site regeneration or development on an existing site, does not involve significant environmental / H&S liabilities.


Adapted from the e-Book -  

Responsible Person/Fire Marshal Duties