ESMS Annual Progress Report

February 12, 2013

Progress Made Towards ISO 14001 Certification

In February 2012, SEPTA formally adopted its Environmental & Sustainability Management System (ESMS). More than a year in the making, the ESMS was built on the internationally recognized ISO 14001 Standard for environmental management. It represents the platform upon which SEPTA will more effectively manage its environmental compliance and performance across the entire organization.

The foundation for an ISO 14001-based program is the "plan-do-check-act" cycle of continual improvement. Its 17 elements represent a set of processes and practices focused on controlling the impact of environmental exposures. For SEPTA, ESMS creates an institutional framework for setting environmental objectives and targets, developing action plans to achieve measurable performance indicators, tracking progress over time, and making adjustments as required.

SEPTA elected to pilot its ESMS at its Berridge Shop in North Philadelphia. Berridge is responsible for vehicle overhaul and print shop functions and is among SEPTA's largest and most complex facilities, making it an attractive candidate for program implementation.

An Oversight Team was formed to manage the development and implementation process. Initially comprised of officials from SEPTA's System Safety & Risk Management, Facilities Engineering, Vehicle Engineering, and Strategic Planning Departments, the team participated in a year-long training program funded by the FTA and administered through the Virginia Tech Center for Organizational & Technological Advancement. Over the course of 2011 and into 2012, the Oversight Team was expanded to include representatives from Human Resources, Information Technology, and Internal Audit as elements were introduced to the comprehensive management system.

SEPTA's Berridge Shop in North Philadelphia

The first year of ESMS implementation focused primarily on program training and awareness. Front-line personnel received training on eleven work instructions designed to increase employee competency. The work instructions featured training modules and a poster campaign to reinforce awareness of each environmental aspect. The Oversight Team also established a foundation for bringing the program to scale across the entire organization by creating an ESMS portal on the all-employee intranet. The portal features an Environmental Policy Statement, shop-by-shop environmental performance indicators, and a repository of ESMS procedures and documentation.

A final audit conducted by Virginia Tech administrators in June 2012 found that SEPTA had achieved 95 percent of requirements pursuant to the ISO 14001 Standard. Virginia Tech recommended ISO 14001 certification for the facility, which SEPTA will pursue in early 2013. Certification would place SEPTA's Berridge Shop among fewer than a dozen transit facilities across the U.S.-and fewer than 50,000 facilities worldwide-to achieve the prestigious certification.