Original Date: 02/23/1998
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Environmental Training and Communications
In 1990, Northrop Grumman set an environmental goal requiring a 90% reduction in hazardous waste disposal by 1996. The company uses designated employees called Focal Points and Area Monitors to help accomplish this goal. Focal Points act as first points of contact and resident experts for a department’s compliance. Area Monitors ensure that their process areas are in compliance at all times, and represent the voice of that area to the Focal Points.
In 1990, Northrop Grumman set an environmental goal requiring a 90% reduction in hazardous waste disposal by 1996. Management knew that environmental change would have to be practiced by all employees. The Command and Control method appeared to be the logical choice; however, early evidence indicated that his method would not work without a clear understanding and ownership of environmental needs by employees at the work-floor level. In response, Northrop Grumman’s Environmental Department created an excellent alternative using Focal Points (Fps).
Fps are employees on the work-floor level who are identified, chosen, trained, and supported as important extensions to the Environmental Department. As the first points of contact and resident experts for a department’s compliance, Fps ensure that each area has adequate and properly maintained pickup points for hazardous waste. Additional responsibilities include proper segregation of materials; acceptable containment vessels; correct labeling; pickup and delivery schedules; chemical usage tracking records management; and current training certifications for all area employees.
The FP program has been extremely successful at Northrop Grumman. Employees chosen for FP duties must meet selected criteria including knowledge of a department’s functions, processes, and personnel. This applicant must also possess the ability to communicate with both line personnel and members of management and, most of all, have the interest and desire to take on this added responsibility. In the beginning, there were 107 FPs throughout Northrop Grumman, but as line personnel and management acclimated to te new environmental attitude, the number was decreased to 25.
FPs are continually trained in process changes, and pass that message to the area employees. To assist the FPs, each process area in the facility has an Area Monitor (AM). AMs ensure that their process areas are in compliance at all times, and represent the voice of that area to the FPs. Northrop Grumman also uses many tools to maintain the environmental training needs of its employees. The key to this process is the FPs and AMs who train and inform the employees on environmental compliance. Techniques used include environmental training videos, uniform training packages, the Automated Documents and Manuals System, and quarterly meetings. Everyone can easily identify FPs and AMs for questions or concerns by the extra badge worn by these employees. The badge displays emergency and other important telephone numbers needed for environmental situations.
Northrop Grumman also created an awards and recognition program to recognize specific environmental excellence. Environmental Resources’ senior management traditionally attends the awards ceremony to recognize employees or areas of zero deficiencies, Focal Point of the Year, and Hueso’s Heros. This type of positive exposure reinforces the efforts of Northrop Grumman’s employees throughout the year.
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