In Part Four of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to know and understand regulations – local, state, and federal – that require reports to be filed following an emergency situation such as an environmental spill or employee injury.
There are no “hard and fast” rules for the EHS practitioner in reporting a crisis event to government agencies. So, know the regulations required by the specific agency that has jurisdiction over your operation.
For instance, in the United States, an environmental emergency is reportable to EPA when there’s a threat that reaches a threshold limit. Likewise, OSHA has similar protocols when fatal or specifically defined injuries occur.
Understand Reporting Requirements
It is vital that you understand the reporting requirements for all government agencies that have jurisdiction over your operation. Make sure you follow their reporting requirements. Depending on your industry, there might be additional federal agencies that require you to report incidents.
Depending on the specific nature of the incident, it is likely no single agency alone can handle a crisis. For example, a state emergency management agency would establish an emergency operations center to coordinate a large-scale emergency. This activity supports multiple branches of the emergency response efforts. If it reaches this level, your team, as well as local, regional, state and possibly federal response teams will coordinate activities.
Blog Series: Communicating in Crisis
This series of articles “Communicating in Crisis,” will help you navigate what could be rough waters ahead. Whether it’s dealing with a situation like COVID-19, a chemical spill, or an injury-causing event, you can handle it with the right crisis plan in place.
At some point in your career, you are going to experience a critical event. If you are practicing EHS right now, you’re living through an unprecedented crisis. How you manage these events impacts their lasting effect on employees, the business, the community and your value as an EHS practitioner.
Other Articles in the Series “Communicating in Crisis”
Communicating in Crisis: The Role of the EHS Practitioner
Communicating in Crisis: The Role of EHS in Managing Communication
Communicating in Crisis: Employees
Communicating in Crisis: Emergency Response Planning, Preparation and Training
Communicating in Crisis: Preparing the Public Information Officer