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Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) Awareness Training. Department of Veterans Affairs. Notes are available when viewing this presentation in Normal view and Outline view. VHA Environmental Management Training. Purpose VHA Policy on GEMS

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green environmental management system gems awareness training

Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) Awareness Training

Department of Veterans Affairs

Notes are available when viewing this presentation in Normal view and Outline view.

vha environmental management training
VHA Environmental Management Training
  • Purpose
  • VHA Policy on GEMS
  • Nine Steps for Implementation of GEMS

This Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Directive establishes a program that requires the development and implementation of Environmental Management Systems (EMSs) by VHA facilities.


The primary purpose of the Green Environmental Management System (GEMS) is to coordinate existing environmental programs into one integrated framework that enhances and improves the overall efficiency and effectiveness of these existing, but separate environmental programs.


Potential Harmful Effects:

  • Contamination of surface and runoff water
  • Chemical resistant pest populations
  • Negative impacts of chemical management
  • Toxic effects of chemicals to non-target organisms
  • Excessive use of water resources
  • Loss or degradation of wetland resources
  • Financial penalties for non-compliance
what is green environmental management system
What is Green Environmental Management System?
  • A management tool to improve environmental performance.
  • Accomplished by the identification of roles, responsibilities & procedures for achieving prevention, compliance and continuous improvement.
vha policy on green environmental management system
VHA Policy on Green Environmental Management System
  • Enhancement
  • Commitment
  • Compliance
  • Utilization
regulatory requirements impacting the green management program
Regulatory Requirements Impacting the Green Management Program

The VHA is responsible for compliance with environmental regulations that include, but are not limited to the following list:

  • National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) - 1966
  • National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) - 1969 or 1970
  • Clean Air Act (CAA) - 1970 & 1990
  • Federal Insecticide, Fungicide & Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) - 1972
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) - 1973
regulatory requirements impacting the green management program9
Regulatory Requirements Impacting the Green Management Program
  • Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) - 1974
  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) - 1976
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) - 1976
  • Clean Water Act (CWA) - 1977
  • Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA/Superfund) - 1980
  • Pollution Prevention Act - 1990
  • Federal Facilities Compliance Act - 1992
  • State and local requirements
vha and the environment
VHA and The Environment

Executive Order 13148 - Greening of the Government through Leadership in Environmental Management 2000:

  • Requires all Federal agencies to establish a Comprehensive Environmental Management System that will reinforce existing environmental regulations by December 2005.

VHA Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Establish a Green Management Program in all VA medical facilities.
  • Resource: Green Environmental Management Guidebook.
nine steps in the development of a green management program
Nine Steps in the Development of a Green Management Program

1. Appoint a Green Coordinator & Designate a Green Committee

2. Train Green Committee

3. Conduct Initial GEMS Gap Analysis

4. Identify Significant Environmental Aspects

5. Establish Operational Controls (Develop, Publish and Distribute GEMS Policies and SOPs)

nine steps in the development of a green management program12
Nine Steps in the Development of a Green Management Program

6. Setting and Achieving Objectives & Targets

7. Train Staff on the GEMS Policies and SOPs

8. Conduct Environmental Compliance Baseline


9. Annual Program Effectiveness Review and Report

step 1 appoint a green coordinator designate green committee
STEP 1-Appoint a Green Coordinator & Designate Green Committee
  • GEMS Coordinator ensures the requirements of GEMS are established, implemented, and periodically reviewed in accordance with ISO 14001. The Coordinator will report all results to top management.
  • GEMS Committee – is a multi-disciplinary committee established to coordinate and oversee the GEMS. The committee should have a close liaison with the Environment of Care or Safety Committee.
step 2 train gems committee
STEP 2 –Train GEMS Committee

The GEMS Committee training will include:

  • GEMS Awareness Training -- An implementation course focusing on the follow-through of the gap analysis process.
step 3 conduct initial gems gap analysis
STEP 3 –Conduct Initial GEMS Gap Analysis
  • Each medical facility will conduct a GEMS Gap Analysis to identify gaps in the environmental management system.
  • The GEMS Gap Analysis is nota regulatory compliance audit.
  • All facilities have existing programs to comply with federal regulations.
what is a gap analysis
What is a Gap Analysis?
  • Self-assessment - to evaluate the current environmental program.
  • Purpose - to help an organization understand what it is already doing in terms of requirements for GEMS, and evaluate ways to build on existing programs and activities
what questions does a gems gap analysis address
What Questions Does a GEMS Gap Analysis Address?
  • How well is the organization and its environmental programs performing?
  • What standards of environmental performance does the organization hope to achieve?
  • What are the gaps between objectives and performance?
  • What existing programs and activities can serve as the best foundation for improved environmental performance?
step 4 operating units identify environmental aspects
STEP 4 -Operating Units Identify Environmental Aspects
  • Aspect - an element of the operating unit’s activities and services that can interact with the environment.
  • Identify and list all environmental aspects impacted by the Operating Unit’s activities.

(use the templates provided in the GEMS Guidebook)

identification of environmental aspects
Identification of Environmental Aspects
  • The GEMS Committee will evaluate the templates and identify significant environmental aspects.
significant aspects
Significant Aspects
  • Based on the assessment, each operating unit will determine from the list which significant aspects would have an impact on their operations.
  • Next, for all those aspects that have a risk associated with deviation, they will establish written controls.
  • Tool used - Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
step 5 establishing operational controls develop publish and distribute gems policies and sops
STEP 5 –Establishing OperationalControls(Develop, Publish and Distribute GEMS Policies and SOPs)
  • GEMS Committee will develop a GEMS Medical Center Memorandum (MCM)
  • GEMS Committee review
  • Elimination of discrepancies
contractors and suppliers
Contractors and Suppliers
  • Operating Units must determine the significance of the impact contractors and suppliers will have on operational controls.
  • Operating Units must communicate with contractors and suppliers.
  • Include communication in SOPs.
operating unit reports
Operating Unit Reports

Operating unit managers will provide regular reports to the GEMS Committee containing the following:

  • Overall status report on the GEMS implementation.
  • Compliance with environmental regulations.
  • Performance standards for employees.
  • Action plans for correction of identified deficiencies.
step 6 setting and achieving objectives targets
STEP 6 –Setting and Achieving Objectives & Targets
  • GEMS Committee selects a few significant aspects for demonstrating continuous improvement.
  • Continuous improvement is dependent on the success of achieving the objectives and measurable targets by target date.
  • Report progress to GEMS Committee.
setting objectives and targets
Setting Objectives and Targets
  • For each significant environmental aspect identified within the Operating Units, the GEMS Committee will set objectives and targets.
  • Objectives are a general goal statement.
  • Target describes in detail how to achieve an objective.
  • Targets should be quantitative when practical.
step 7 train staff on the gems policies and sops
STEP 7 - Train Staff on the GEMS Policies and SOPs

Training status should be monitored; and refresher courses should be available periodically.

step 8 conduct environmental compliance baseline audit
STEP 8 –Conduct Environmental Compliance Baseline Audit
  • The purpose of this audit is to determine the compliance status of the facility and address any noncompliance issues.
  • The GEMS Committee will address any noncompliance items with an action plan for immediate compliance and a tracking mechanism.
  • Compliance audits are usually conducted by external experts.
step 9 annual program effectiveness review and report
STEP 9 –Annual Program Effectiveness Review and Report

The final steps in developing a GEMS include the following:

  • Determine program measurement criteria.
  • Set up an internal assessment process.
  • Establish a management review process.

Emphasis on continual improvement

measurement criteria environmental performance indicators
Measurement Criteria(Environmental Performance Indicators)

Purpose:The indicators focus on how well the overall system for improving environmental management is functioning.

Performance indicators will determine the effectiveness of the GEMS implementation and various components.

measurement criteria environmental performance indicators30
Measurement Criteria(Environmental Performance Indicators)

To measure results effectively, methods must be:

  • Simple
  • Flexible
  • Consistent
  • Ongoing
  • Usable (i.e., results communicated)
  • Accurate (i.e., reliable data produced)
internal assessment process
Internal Assessment Process

Purpose:Develop information for management review and to take corrective action where needed.

Assessments are conducted through the following:


* Examination of documents

* Observation of activities & review of results of


Assessments should be conducted annually.

senior management review and approval process
Senior Management Review and Approval Process
  • The Medical Center Director will review and evaluate the environmental management system at defined intervals.
  • A comprehensive Annual Review must be conducted by the GEMS Committee and approved by the Medical Center Director.
senior management review and approval process33
Senior Management Review and Approval Process

The Annual Program Effectiveness Review must cover the following elements:

  • Status report on regulatory compliance program.
  • Status report on GEMS implementation.
  • Review of the accomplishments of the Targets & Objectives.
  • Committee proposals of changes/ improvements in GEMS program.