Featuring contributions from Paula Diaz, Kengo Okuda, Sansanee Dhanasarnsombat, Wassila Nabourema, Elizabeth Tomassetti and Tjeerd Hendel-Blackford
You asked and we answered!
Enhesa’s team of multilingual regulatory analysts are committed to providing quality insight and analysis around the latest EHS news and developments via our Enhesa Flash, webinar series, and blog posts. In response, our team often receives a variety of questions regarding the broad realm of the EHS topics we cover. To meet this demand, we are pleased to announce “Ask Enhesa”, a new reoccurring blog series where our senior thought leaders will take the lead in answering all of your most relevant and topical EHS questions.
Let’s get started…
Does the Enhesa service allow incident and accident tracking/investigation?
THB: The short answer is No.
The longer answer is that Enhesa’s Compliance Intelligence and Regulatory Forecaster services are focused on helping global multinationals be aware of and stay in compliance with their obligations stemming from environmental, health and safety laws. Of course, there are regulatory requirements in many countries to record/report/investigate workplace incidents or accidents of a certain magnitude, and this is where we come in! We help our clients by telling them what those obligations are in whichever jurisdictions they operate.
In addition, we are not a software company and do not have (or intend to have) an incident/accident tracking application. We partner with the market leading EHS software platforms (like Gensuite, Intelex, Enablon, amongst others) that do have such capabilities. Enhesa ’s core strength is our ability to provide up-to-date, accurate and globally consistent analysis of EHS law. So, where we provide the regulatory analysis (in the form of a data feed into Compliance or Auditing modules), our Partners bring the enterprise wide tools to manage EHS beyond just compliance (and very much include incident and accident tracking/investigations).
What are the latest EU regulatory developments regarding WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment)?
Paula Diaz: The most recent development occurred on 9th May 2017 when the European Commission Implementing Regulation EU/2017/699 of 18 April 2017 entered into force. Through adoption of the Implementing Regulation the European Commission has established a common methodology for the calculation of the weight of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) placed on the market of a Member State and the quantity of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) generated by weight in a Member State.
The Implementing Regulation does not impose obligations directly on companies. Rather, it provides the formula to calculate substantiated estimates of the weight of EEE placed on the market of a Member State in a reference year. Specifically, the total quantity of WEEE generated in a Member State in a given year shall be calculated on the basis of the amount of EEE placed on the market of that Member State in the preceding years, and the corresponding product lifespan estimated on the basis of a discard rate per product.
The exact formula is provided in Annex II to the Implementing Regulation. Based on the suggested methodology, Member States will adopt their own tool calculate the total quantity of WEEE generated in their territory in a given year.
With that in mind, the newly adopted Implementing Regulation could indirectly cause changes in reporting requirements imposed on manufacturers/importers of EEE within the EU Member States.
Have there been any recent regulatory changes with regards the phase out of Ozone-Depleting Substance (ODS) in Asian countries?
This is quite a broad question (given how many countries in Asia there are!), but let us focus on just two countries by way of example.
Kengo Okuda: In Japan, there have not been any specific regulatory changes recently. However, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the committee known as the “Fluorocarbon Countermeasures Working Group” (フロン類対策ワーキンググループ) held their most recent meeting on 1 March 2017 regarding the future direction of adopting the Kigali Amendment, which will phase down HFCs to more than 85% (in comparison to 2011-2013 levels) by 2036. So far, they have stressed necessary regulatory action on switching to refrigerants with even lower or no Global Warming Potential. They will conclude their meeting in July and publish a summary of the meetings to act as a guide for the government’s likely regulatory action in the near future.
Sansanee Dhanasarnsombat: In Thailand, back in December 2016, the Department of Industrial Works (DIW) adopted the revised import quota for HCFC in line with the condition of the fund received from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of Montreal Protocol. Under the revised import quota, Thailand commits to completely ban HCFC by 2040s. The DIW has been using the revised quota when determining whether to issue HCFC import licences, since 10 December 2016.
In addition to the revised HCFC import quota, the DIW also proposed the following restrictions:
- Proposed restrictions on the use of HCFC in air conditioners. Once adopted, the Notification would impose the following restrictions:
- The use of HCFC-22 in the production of air conditioners with the capacity of lower than 50,000 BTU/hour to be sold in Thailand would be prohibited
- The import of air conditioners with the capacity of lower than 50,000 BTU/hour and contain HCFC-22 to be sold in Thailand would be prohibited
- The selling of air conditioners with the capacity of lower than 50,000 BTU/hour and contain HCFC-22 would be prohibited
- Proposed restrictions on the use of HCFC in foam production. If adopted the Notification would prohibit the import of HCFC-141b (dichloro-1-fluoroethane) or pre-blended polyol that contains HCFC-141-b to be used in foam production, except spray foam.
To align with the above proposed Notification, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) also proposed to adopt a Notification to prohibit companies from importing into Thailand air conditioners containing hydrofluorocarbons-22 (HCFC-22).
However, as of 11 May 2017, the proposed Notification of the DIW and the MOC have not been adopted.
Does Enhesa track examples of non-compliances and enforcement actions? Do you have any recent examples?
Enhesa does keep an eye-out for major or out-of-the-ordinary enforcement cases (resulting from non-compliances) across the globe and our analysts write reports on these as part of our Regulatory Forecaster service. One of the challenges in covering enforcement actions in more than 270 jurisdictions is that some countries are much better at covering such cases – for example the USA and UK frequently publish (and publicize!) major cases and even have searchable on-line databases in this regard. Historically, other countries, often those with “developing” economies, have had less enforcement activity (or publication of such actions) so it has been harder to track these. However, this has changed in recent years and we see more and more enforcement of environmental and worker protection laws across the board. To take some recent examples:
- On 17 April 2017 a ban on all new open-cast mining was announced by Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Gina Lopez(although potentially politically motivated).
- On 13 February 2017, the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) closed Sabstic Limited, a firm that specializes in recycling plastics, for exposing workers to hazardous working conditions and for failing to comply with environmental regulations despite warnings from the Agency. In addition to shutting down the offending facility, ZEMA also suspended the facility's operating license and the company's director was also arrested for repeatedly disobeying ZEMA's orders to take appropriate corrective measures to address the environmental health and safety violations.
- In July 2016 in Argentina a new electronic platform was introduced enabling environmental agencies at the national level, the Province of Buenos Aires, and the City of Buenos Aires to coordinate inspections. The introduction of the “Early Programming and Coordinated Environmental Inspections System” means that companies can expect coordinated joint inspections from various environmental agencies. Additionally, companies will be able to use the platform to know when scheduled inspections will be carried out.
- In March 2017 in Zhejiang Province in China it was announced that from 30 March to 11 December 2017, companies engaging in the sectors of metallurgy, ammonia-related refrigeration, ship building, or having sites with explosion dust, confined space operations, or spraying operations, will face stringent work safety inspections and law enforcement. The 2017 Work Plan on Special Inspection and Rectification in Work Safety of the 'Three Sectors and Three Operation Sites' was published by the Zhejiang Administration of Work Safety and specifies the requirements to that will be the focus of inspections and enforced