Note: This publication supersedes publication 1851.1.

The information in this publication is for general guidance only. It does not constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied on as a statement of the law. Because it is intended only as a general guide, it may contain generalisations.

You should obtain professional advice if you have any specific concern. Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) has made every reasonable effort to provide current and accurate information, but does not make any guarantees regarding the accuracy, currency or completeness of the information.


Every licence issued by Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) requires the licence holder to have in place a risk management and monitoring program (RMMP) that enables the licence holder and EPA to determine compliance with the general environmental duty (GED). EPA expects licence holders to have a robust system in place to ensure their environmental performance is adequately assessed and demonstrated to comply with their licence and the GED.

The Environment Protection Act 2017 (the Act), came into effect on 1 July 2021. The act shifts the onus of environmental protection from a prohibitions and licence control model to a risk-based and duties framework. This framework is built on a GED that requires any person who is engaging in an activity that may pose a risk of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste to minimise those risks so far as reasonably practicable. The effect of this duty reduces the number of specific conditions that are included in EPA licences; however, it has placed a greater onus on the general conditions of each licence. As part of this change in emphasis, licence condition OL_G5 has been revised to reflect the GED and requires the duty holder to comply with the GED. Licence condition OL_G5 states:

  • You must develop a risk management and monitoring program for your activities which:
    • identifies all the risks of harm to human health and the environment which may arise from the activities you are engaging in at your site;
    • clearly defines your environmental performance objectives;
    • clearly defines your risk control performance objectives;
    • describes how the environmental and risk control performance objectives are being achieved;
    • identifies and describes how you will continue to eliminate or minimise the risks in (1.a) above so far as reasonably practicable (SFARP); and
    • describes how the information collated in compliance with this clause, is or will be disseminated, used or otherwise considered by you or any other entity.
  • The risk management and monitoring program must be:
    • documented in writing;
    • signed by a duly authorised officer of the licensed entity; and
    • made available to the Authority on request.


The purpose of this document is to guide licence holders through the process of developing a RMMP that will enable them to monitor and demonstrate compliance with the requirements of licence condition OL_G5.

What the GED means for you

The GED (section 25(4) of the Act) requires risks to be minimised SFARP and consequently requires you to:

  • use and maintain plant, equipment, processes and systems in a manner that minimises risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste;
  • use and maintain systems for identification, assessment and control of risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste that may arise in connection with the activity, and for the evaluation of the effectiveness of controls;
  • use and maintain adequate systems to ensure that if a risk of harm to human health or the environment from pollution or waste were to eventuate, its harmful effects would be minimised;
  • ensure that all substances are handled, stored, used or transported in a manner that minimises risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste; and
  • provide information, instruction, supervision and training to any person engaging in the activity to enable those persons to comply with the GED.

By EPA issuing you an operating licence, it is recognised that operations at your licensed site involve activities that need the highest level of regulatory control to manage significant risks to human health and the environment. It is therefore of great importance that you have in place a clear management process to identify and mitigate those risks and demonstrate compliance with the GED. Section 25(4)(b) of the Act requires you to “use and maintain systems for identification, assessment and control of risks of harm to human health and the environment from pollution and waste that may arise in connection with the activity, and for the evaluation of the effectiveness of controls”.

Additional guidance for industry regarding compliance with the GED is provided in Industry guidance: supporting you to comply with the general environmental duty (EPA publication 1741).

Using this guide

This guide sets out the steps you may take to develop your RMMP. By following this guide, you should end up with a RMMP that will enable you to demonstrate compliance with the requirements of licence condition OL_G5 and meet the GED. Note, complying with licence condition OL_G5 does not automatically mean that you are complying with the GED.

This guide is designed to assist you to prepare a RMMP that is suitable for activities conducted at your site. The scale of the RMMP should be proportionate to the risks presented by the activities conducted by the licence holder and must provide you with the tools to eliminate or mitigate risk of harm SFARP (see following pages for further details of this requirement).

You may prepare your RMMP yourself, or you may obtain assistance from a suitably experienced person such as an environmental consultant. Information on engagement of environmental consultants is provided by EPA at: https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/for-business/find-a-topic/environmental-consultants

Further resources may be found at https://www.epa.vic.gov.au/

Implementation of the GED

Your RMMP is a documented approach to ensuring the risks associated with your activities are eliminated or minimised in accordance with the GED. The steps below are designed to help you prepare the RMMP which you must maintain and make available to the Authority on request.

Understanding your organisation

The first step in developing your RMMP is to develop a clear understanding of the environmental setting of your activities. This will help you to identify and assess the various ways your activities can interact with and pose risks to the environment, and your responsibilities to protect the environment by minimising those risks. This can help you with developing a conceptual site model (see below for a description of this process), which will support your risk assessment.

Describe your activities

Arrange a dedicated time for a meeting attended by relevant personnel across multiple levels of the organisation, including operational staff, leadership and management personnel.

Your activities, for the purposes of this guide, are taken to include all operations, functions, receival and dispatch of substances, storage or possession of waste or any other substance or thing, chemical and physical conversion, or anything prescribed by the Act to be an activity.

Starting from site inputs (raw materials), work your way through to site outputs (products and services) and waste streams, considering each element of the activities that is involved between these two points. For example, depending on the activities conducted at your site, your RMMP may include, but is not limited to:

  • raw materials – their nature, source, and storage;
  • waste acceptance processes;
  • energy sources;
  • energy stores (above ground and underground fuel storage tanks, batteries, capacitors);
  • internal materials handling such as bulk storage and its containment – including secondary containment of materials such as bunding of liquids;
  • hazardous materials;
  • process streams – step through each stream and identify how each step may be hazardous to the environment. Include discharge points – both fugitive and controlled;
  • your products – their nature (such as their chemical composition or physical properties), handling, storage at, and transport from the site;
    waste-generating activities – where each waste is generated, its nature and quantity, where it is stored, its transport from the site, and where it is disposed of;
  • environmental protection equipment – noise shrouds, dust extraction hoods and filters, air scrubbers, bunding;
  • site drainage systems, including segregation of liquid process wastes and protection of surface water;
  • process upsets such as break downs, failure of environmental protection equipment;
  • procurement decision philosophy and how it might include consideration of environmental consequences of various decision drivers;
  • engineering maintenance programs including those for environmental protection equipment;
  • management of contractors or other external personnel working at your site, including induction, training and supervision;
  • decommissioning of equipment;
  • change of activities;
  • plant closure and site remediation (partial or complete site closure); and
  • site security.

Once you have prepared a description of your site activities, spend some time walking around the site to check how well your description reflects all elements of actual day-to-day activities. After an appropriate time (for example a week) you may wish to tweak the description to add some details or amend others. Always chat with the people who are doing the actual work. They may handle materials in ways that you were unaware of and be aware of discharges you had missed. This description should be regularly reviewed (see description of review process below) to ensure its currency. This should happen at least annually, or after each change to activities, environmental incident, or receipt of a complaint.

Describe your environmental setting

Determining the risk to the environment presented by your activities initially involves identifying all major elements of the surrounding environment. These may include physical components (such as local airshed, land, surface waters, and groundwater), biological components (animal and plant communities), and social components (nearby residential areas, schools, hospitals, cultural land uses).

Describe the expectations of interested parties

Interested parties can be both internal and external. Considering interested parties early in the assessment process provides those parties with an opportunity to express their thoughts about the site’s performance and ongoing environmental risks. It also gives everyone clarity about the assessment process and how decisions are made.

Internal interested parties

Key internal interested parties can include general managers, in-house experts, section managers, and, importantly, those personnel involved in the hands-on conducting of the activities. Bear in mind that risk management is the responsibility of every employee, from the managing director through to the employee sorting materials in the lay-down yard. It must be supported and driven from the top but also encourage input from any employee who sees an incident, notices a hazard or identifies an opportunity for improvement.

If your activities are part of a larger company that has set corporate environmental performance standards over and above EPA licence requirements, you should consider inclusion of these requirements in your assessment if they are relevant to your activities.

External interested parties

External issues may include cultural, social, legal, regulatory, industry body, or financial considerations. Critical external party considerations for the RMMP are environmental protection obligations under the Act and conditions of your EPA licence.
Social components may be more important than you first think. If your activities have the potential to discharge, for example, odours, noise, dust, smoke, you may think these are just part of your normal activities. Some neighbours, especially those who have become sensitised to these emissions from prolonged exposure, may find even minute amounts of these discharges to be offensive. In such circumstances, you must consider the risks to human health and amenity.

Conceptual site model

A conceptual site model is an excellent way of capturing and presenting your collated information about site activities. A conceptual site model can be a flow diagram, ‘mind map’, web diagram or a diagrammatic representation of the site layout that depicts the relationships between:

  • site activities, hazards and the environment;
  • risk pathways; and
  • potential impacts on environmental receptors – and their environmental values.

Developing a conceptual site model has several benefits, including:

  • providing an easily understandable communication tool for conveying the risks, assumptions and uncertainties to all parties;
  • encouraging businesses to think through and clarify their assumptions about cause–effect relationships (how hazards and environmental aspects affect receptors);
  • identifying knowledge gaps and determining data needs;
  • assisting with the development of monitoring programs; and
  • providing a holistic view of a site’s activities.

Conceptual site models will vary in complexity, depending on your activities and their associated risks to human health and the environment. They should be tailored to fit the level of analysis required for the risk assessment. You might need to revise the model to allow for changes in activities and available information over time.

Sites with activities that present few risks may have a very simple model, whereas sites that present many high risks with complex interactions may require a series of models to show all relationships. You can have several models that take you from the broad scale down to a finer scale showing more detail. In some places you might include some text to explain the links.

It is also important that, where any assumptions have been made or knowledge is incomplete, these are identified, reviewed and documented as uncertainties. You should resolve these gaps as far as reasonably practicable and address any uncertainties. Data and information can be collected through monitoring to address these knowledge gaps and update the model during later revisions. This will build up the robustness of your model.

The valuable information you have collated in your conceptual site model then feeds into your aspects register, which forms part of the risk assessment.

Developing and implementing your Risk Management and Monitoring Program (RMMP)

All of the information you are gathering together and the results of analysing that information will be presented in your risk management and monitoring program (RMMP). Your RMMP should be structured in a form that is easily followed, so that anyone looking at it can understand the process used to prepare it and find the information they are looking for. It should reflect the range and complexity of the activities at your site and the risks to human health and the environment that they present.

Your RMMP would be supported by, but not limited to, associated documents such as risk assessment records, environmental performance indicators, operational control procedures, work instructions, monitoring schedules, and monitoring records. These would, in turn, be based on risk assessment records such as tables of your environmental aspects, risk consequence and likelihood tables, and risk ranking. The RMMP must be signed by a duly authorised officer of your company and must be made available to the Authority on request.

Based on this guideline, your RMMP may include, but not be limited to:

  • title;
  • name of company and address of activity site;
  • author or other reference;
  • date of preparation and revision;
  • date for review;
  • description of your activities (processes, raw materials, products, wastes, discharges, etc);
  • description of your environmental setting;
  • description of the expectations of interested parties (internal and external);
  • conceptual site model;
  • risk assessment;
    • environmental aspects table;
    • compliance obligations;
    • risks and opportunities;
    • list of human health and environmental hazards;
    • tables of likelihood and consequence;
    • risk rating table (including identification of emergency events);
    • risk controls and mitigation measures;
    • inherent and residual risk following the application of control and mitigation measures;
  • environmental performance objectives and indicators, including environment reference standards;
  • operational control procedures (or list of operational controls provided in separate documents);
  • roles and responsibilities;
  • document management requirements;
  • monitoring program;
  • performance evaluation and review;
  • incident and emergency response;
  • training; and
  • communications and reporting.

Risk identification and assessment

Identification and assessment of risks to human health and the environment presented by your activities is central to development of your risk management and monitoring program. The risk assessment draws together information from all the issues you have identified so far and identifies those site activities that require some form of control to reduce their potential health and environmental impacts to an acceptable level. A method for businesses to prepare a risk management framework is described in Assessing and controlling risk: A guide for business (EPA publication 1695). The entire risk assessment process must be documented, and those documents maintained to provide a basis for your identified risks and to enable future, regular reassessment of risks.

Environmental aspects

After completing your risk assessment, you will have identified environmental aspects, which are those that can have a risk of harm to human health and the environment. These will require action to control the risks they present. Remember that environmental aspects are an element of the organisation’s activities that interact or can interact with the environment.

Compliance obligations

Your risk assessment will also have identified your compliance obligations. These might include those arising from, but not limited to:

  • your EPA licence conditions;
  • the Act and subordinate legislation;
  • company policy;
  • industry group codes; or
  • supplier agreements.

Risks and opportunities

When you have an understanding of your activities and have prepared a conceptual site model, you may have discovered some environmental performance risks and opportunities that might not have been identified as an environmental aspect or a compliance obligation during the risk assessment. These might be upcoming changes in raw material type, quantity or quality, production scale, company policy, or market demand. Any risk or opportunity identified at this stage must be considered when setting your environmental performance objectives and considering potential for and management of environmental risks.

Once you have had a close look at your risks and opportunities, you might discover ways of updating your activities to improve process efficiency, reduce materials losses, enhance environmental performance, increase site safety, or reduce operating costs. The risk assessment and control process should be regarded as a tool to help you improve your overall activities, as well as meeting your licence condition OL_G5 obligations.

Environmental performance objectives

Your next step in complying with licence condition OL_G5 is to set and document in your RMMP your environmental performance objectives for your activities. Environmental performance objectives specify the goals you set for elimination or reduction of the identified risks of your activities (i.e. your environmental performance).

When establishing your environmental performance objectives, you should take into account:

  • environmental aspects;
  • compliance obligations;
  • accepted industry or activity standards; and
  • any risks and opportunities identified by your analysis of your organisation and activities (assisted by your conceptual site model).

They should be:

  • consistent with your environmental policy;
  • measurable where practicable;
  • monitored;
  • communicated; and
  • updated as appropriate.

Each environmental performance objective should include environmental performance indicators that you can measure to determine if an environmental performance objective has been met.

Environment reference standards

From time to time, EPA will set and review environment reference standards (ERS) that will be used to report on environmental conditions in Victoria (Part 5.2 of the Act). These may include ambient environmental quality pollutant measures, ambient environmental quality ecological measures, measures for human health or the health of other species, and targets for emission of pollutants. These standards are published in the Government Gazette and on the EPA website. When you identify environmental performance objectives, you should consider environment reference standards set by EPA.

Elimination or mitigation of risk of harm so far as reasonably practicable (SFARP)

We have produced guidance about how to determine what is Reasonably practicable (EPA Publication 1856).

When setting your environmental performance objectives, you must take into account section 6 of the Act:

6 The concept of minimising risks of harm to human health and the environment
(1) A duty imposed on a person under this Act to minimise, so far as reasonably practicable, risks of harm to human health and the environment requires the person—
(a) to eliminate risks of harm to human health and the environment so far as reasonably practicable; and
(b) if it is not reasonably practicable to eliminate risks of harm to human health and the environment, to reduce those risks so far as reasonably practicable.

To assist you with determining what is (or was at a particular time) reasonably practicable in relation to the minimising risks of harm to human health and the environment, section 6(2) of the Act requires that you must have regard to:

  • the likelihood of those risks eventuating;
  • the degree of harm that would result if those risks eventuated;
  • what the person concerned knows, or ought reasonably to know, about the harm or risks of harm and any ways of eliminating or reducing those risks;
  • the availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or reduce those risks; and
  • the cost of eliminating or reducing those risks.

This direction requires you to exercise a degree of judgement on what level of risk reduction you need to apply to your activities. Being the person best placed to understand the actual or potential risks of harm to human health and the environment presented by your activities, you are best placed to identify SFARP for those risks. The test for what is reasonably practicable is an objective test; that is, it is to be judged by the standard of behaviour expected of a reasonable person in the duty-holder’s position who is required to comply with the same duty and is:

  • committed to providing the highest level of protection for people against risks to human health and the environment; and
  • proactive in taking measures to protect human health and the environment.

Operational controls

Your next step is to establish, implement, control and maintain operational controls to achieve your identified environmental performance objectives.

Operational controls are actions taken to mitigate risk of harm to an acceptable level which under the Act is so far as reasonably practicable. Options for controlling risk, described in Assessing and controlling risk: A guide for business (EPA publication 1695), may be placed in three categories:

  • Elimination: the most effective control is to eliminate the hazard and any associated risk altogether.
  • Substitution of the hazard / engineering controls: the second most effective controls reduce a risk by substituting the cause of the hazard with something safer or controlling the hazard with engineering controls. To be effective, these controls should operate independently of peoples’ actions.
    • Substituting the cause of hazard with a safer alternative takes priority over implementing controls.
    • Engineering controls are physical controls for a hazard. Examples include bunding and automatic shutdown systems for machinery.
  • Administrative controls and use of personal protective equipment (PPE): The least effective controls rely on people doing the right thing or taking care at all times.
    • Administrative controls include training, procedure, policy, supervision or shift designs that lessen the threat of a hazard or at least help alert people to a hazard. Examples include induction processes, permitting systems and competency training.
    • Personal protective equipment (PPE) and spill kits, etc., should be used if individuals could be directly exposed to harmful pollution or waste.

Together, these elements create a ‘hierarchy’ of risk controls.

These controls can be used individually or in combination using the hierarchy of elimination, substitution, and administration. They can, for example, address air emissions across an entire site, surface water protection within an operating area, or a single activity such as acceptance of priority wastes for treatment.

The type and number of operational controls will depend on the nature of your activities, your risks and opportunities, environmental aspects, and compliance obligations. Remember, they are there for you to use as tools to manage your environmental performance. The better they reflect your company’s activities, the easier they will be to understand, the clearer the operating requirements and the more useful and effective they will be for you. Ideally, operational controls should be developed and maintained by suitably experienced persons (that may include consultants) and include contribution of information from employees and managers who work with those activities.

The level of detail provided in each operational control should reflect the complexity of the activities and potential severity of the environmental impact it is controlling. The following information has been aimed at a middle to large sized organisation with potential environmental impacts.

Operational control procedures

Operational control procedures provide a direct guide for implementing the controls to manage environmental aspects and meet your environmental performance objectives. Where possible, your procedures should be referenced in your risk register to provide a link to the risks being controlled through your procedures. Depending on your management systems and operational scale, these procedures can have the following structure:

  • purpose;
  • scope (description of aspect);
  • definitions;
  • responsibilities;
  • procedure; and
  • records.


This section provides a brief, clear description of what the procedure is to be used for. For example; ‘to establish a process for controlling odour emissions from the rendering plant’.



This section describes the elements being managed by the procedure. This may be the environmental aspect involved or the environmental impacts that are being controlled. For example, ‘this procedure identifies management actions and performance standards to protect the quality of surface water discharged from the site’. Section 25(5)(b) of the Act requires you to provide information regarding your activities to ensure they can be used in a manner that complies with the GED.




This section lists and provides the meaning of any specific terms relevant to the procedure. Depending on what the procedure is addressing, these may be terms such as: ‘environmental aspect’, ‘work instruction’, ‘odorous compound’, ‘pollution’, ‘engineering control’, ‘priority waste’.



Personnel responsible for implementation of the various requirements of the procedure are identified in this section. You need to ensure that responsibility for each part of the procedure is allocated to a person, and that person is aware of the responsibility, has the training, resources and time to discharge that responsibility.

For example, ‘The Production Manager must ensure that this procedure is maintained, and all associated work instructions are allocated and implemented’, ‘the Site Supervisor must ensure that the product unloading area is inspected and maintained in accordance with this procedure’. Some personnel can be assigned multiple responsibilities. It is a good idea not to allocate all tasks to a single person and to ensure that there is a backup should the responsible person leave the company or is not able to conduct their allocated tasks.



This is the most substantial section of the operational control procedure. It provides details of actions to control the elements of site activities or environmental impacts described in the procedure’s scope. The procedure can be supported by work instructions that provide detailed directions for performing a task or activity that avoids, reduces or controls risks of harm to human health or the environment.


This section of each operational control procedure should clearly specify how all stages of your risk management process are to be done. It needs to be comprehensive so that your personnel will know exactly what tasks they need to complete and how to do them. Just as importantly, if asked, you should present the procedure to EPA to demonstrate how you are meeting your GED obligations.

If a required task is complex, you can write environmental work instructions for that task. Your operational control procedure would then refer to that work instruction. You may list references to work instructions or background documents at the end of the procedure.

Depending on the nature of the risk being managed by the operational control procedure, you may need to include some, or all, of the items listed in this section. Each item listed here is accompanied by example text for a hypothetical bunded area and for a bag house as a guide.

  • Describe the specific element/aspect of the activities being controlled.
    • Escape of product spilled in the oil loadout bay.
    • Discharge of process air from the dry mineral separation plant flue.
  • Describe the process control used to minimise the risk.
    • The control is designed to capture and retain liquids that have been spilled in the oil loadout bay.
    • The dust content of air discharged from the dry mineral plant flue is controlled by filtration through cloth filters in the baghouse.
  • Specify how the control equipment operates.
    • The bunded area is a backup structure that is designed to capture and retain liquids accidentally spilled in the oil loadout bay. Oil drums are not to be emptied into this area.
    • Exhaust air from within the dry mineral separation plant housing is extracted and passed through a bag filter before being discharged to air from the plant discharge flue.
  • Specify plant operation requirements to avoid upset conditions.
    • The holding capacity of the bunded area is designed to hold the capacity of road transport tankers that use the loadout bay. It therefore must be kept sufficiently empty to maintain that capacity.
    • The air bag filter must treat all air discharged from the dry mineral separation plant flue sufficiently well to meet the EPA licence air discharge condition (or environmental performance indicator).
  • Describe how the environment protection control is to be monitored.
    • The bunded area is to be visually inspected daily. The bunded area is to be cleaned annually using a pressure jet and closely inspected for cracks or other potential leakage points.
    • The bag filters are fitted with a differential pressure gauge linked to the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition system (SCADA) . The system produces a visible and audible alarm if the pressure goes outside of set limits. The plant flue discharge air quality is sampled and tested annually. The filter system is shutdown annually and inspected for condition of the bag fabric and housing.
  • List the environmental performance indicators. These operational limits should be measurable or clearly described.
    • As an ongoing requirement, the bund walls must be intact and the bunded area kept free of accumulated spills, stormwater, litter, or unauthorised materials (oil drums). The design capacity of the bunded area is to be maintained and any accumulated rainwater removed when it exceeds [your specified limit].
    • The plant SCADA system shows an alarm-free status, differential pressure gauge shows [NN bar], there are no visible particles in flue discharge, and solid particulate level in stack emission sample less than [NN mg/m3].
  • Identify the location of monitoring points.
    • The bunded area around the oil loadout bay including the bunding itself, the submersible pump and pipework used to pump out the bund.
    • The control room SCADA system, differential pressure gauge at the end of the baghouse, and the baghouse dryer stack sampling port.
  • Describe plant upset or failure indicators.
    • There is a failure of bund wall integrity (an emergency failure), visible cracking in a bund wall, or the bund does not retain liquid (leakage through the base). External indicators of failure can be that there is staining of the ground next to bunded area, overgrowth or death of vegetation down-slope of the bunded area, staining of surface water down-slope of the bunded area.
    • The SCADA triggers a visible and audible alarm, the differential pressure gauge shows abnormally high or low pressure, the filter fabric is torn or blinded, visible particles are seen in flue discharge air, there is a build-up of deposited dust underneath the plant flue.
  • Describe how to respond to the upsets.
    • Stop work within the bunded area if there is a loss of capacity. Remove excess liquid waste in the bunding for disposal or treatment. Remove any litter from the bunded area. Repair any cracks or have the bund inspected by a suitably qualified engineer, and repair any defects.
    • Close down the dry mineral separation plant that discharges air to the bag house. Implement a maintenance cycle or inspect and conduct necessary repairs.
  • Identify requirements for maintenance and testing of control equipment.
    • Every year pressure clean and inspect the bunded area for integrity and condition of fittings.
    • Test the SCADA alarm system weekly. Conduct an annual inspection of air filtration bags and repair or replace worn, blocked, or damaged bags. Calibrate the differential pressure gauge.
  • Specify any reporting requirements.
    • Record your observations in the daily log in the folder kept in the control room next to the bunded area. Report any overflows immediately to the area supervisor. Report any signs of litter or accumulated materials to the area supervisor before the end of your shift. Record annual inspection results in the bunded area record sheet in the inspection folder. Take photos as part of the recording process. These records are to be copied weekly and stored in a secure place.
    • Maintain the SCADA records in a secure operating system. Store the air sampling and analysis report in a secure location. Record and retain the plant inspection and maintenance records in the asset management system.


  • Identify how actions taken as part of the operational control are to be recorded and the records securely retained.
    • Record the results of all bund inspections, cleaning and testing in a dedicated oil loadout area bunding inspection log. Once each page of the log is filled, transfer it to a secure location for future reference and review if required.
    • Record the results of all visual checks of SCADA alarm tests, air discharge quality tests, differential pressure gauge inspections, air filtration bag inspections and keep the records in a secure system. Record all upset conditions and remedial actions taken.

Roles and responsibilities

Personnel responsible for preparation, implementation and maintenance of the RMMP are to be assigned by senior management. In common with operational control procedures described above, you should ensure that responsibility for each section of the RMMP is allocated to a person, and that person is aware of the responsibility, has the training, resources, time, and authority to discharge that responsibility. The responsibilities must include that of a nominated member of top management, who will be responsible for ensuring the overall environmental management program is implemented and performance objectives met.

Documentation and demonstration of the GED

An important requirement of licence condition OL_G5 is for you, the duty holder, to document your risk management and monitoring program (RMMP). The documentation serves two purposes: to provide you with a systematic way of identifying and managing risk to human health and the environment at your site; and to demonstrate to EPA how you are complying with licence condition OL_G5 and how you are meeting the GED.

Your environmental documentation may include, but not be limited to:

  • conceptual site model;
  • risk assessment documents;
  • operational control procedures;
  • environmental work instructions;
  • monitoring results;
  • instrument calibration records;
  • incident reports;
  • training records;
  • EPA licence; and
  • Permission Information and Performance Statement (PIPS) (formerly the Annual Performance Statement), National Pollutant Inventory (NPI), and National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) reports.

Your environmental management documentation should be:

  • readily available;
  • suitable for use;
  • held in a secure place (with copies readily accessible);
  • protected from inadvertent or malicious alteration or destruction;
  • available to all personnel;
  • regularly revised;
  • supplied to EPA on request; and
  • retained for a minimum of five years.


Monitoring is conducted to provide you with information on the effectiveness of your environmental risk controls, to determine if your emissions are within licence limits, and to determine that the GED is being met. Your monitoring activities may have both strategic and compliance objectives and must be documented in your RMMP.

Depending on the complexity of your activities and your operational control procedures, you may have one or more activities that require monitoring. You should have a monitoring schedule that lists all monitoring requirements for your activities, incorporating upstream, intermediate, and downstream stages. You may need to include lead (proactive) monitoring, for example of materials before they are accepted at your activity site. The frequency of monitoring is set according to the nature of the risk, how critical the control equipment is for managing the risk, how often the control equipment is used, equipment operation and maintenance specifications, industry standard practice, and regulatory requirements, etc.

Monitoring records are an important part of your environmental management and contribute to your evidence of meeting the GED. Your monitoring records might take the form of monitoring logs for individual monitoring stations, electronic process control records (from SCADA/CEMS), a combined log for the site, or analysis reports from monitoring consultants; for example, stack gas analyses. Your monitoring records must be in a legible form, kept in a secure place, and available in a legible form for supply to EPA on request.

The monitoring results need to be reviewed at the time of monitoring to check for compliance with environmental performance objectives, and at intervals to look for trends that might indicate a change in the performance of your environmental protection measures. When looking at the result, check it for general consistency – is it similar to previous results or does it seem to be greatly different. If it does appear to be an odd result, retest the monitoring point to confirm the result (you should have checked the calibration of your monitoring equipment before you conduct the monitoring).

Your monitoring log may include fields for entry of:

  • identity of monitoring point;
  • location;
  • date and time of sampling or observation;
  • name of person taking the sample or making the observation;
  • monitoring result;
  • comments;
  • margins of error;
  • quality control.

In some circumstances you may need to include monitoring of background conditions where your monitoring requires a reference point. Examples include (but not limited to) background air, soil or groundwater quality.

Performance evaluation

Evaluation of your environmental performance

Section 25(4)(b) of the Act includes a requirement for evaluation of the effectiveness of controls. You should conduct a performance evaluation on a regular basis including after each environmental event or change in activities. This will provide you with information that you will use to understand, demonstrate, and improve your environmental performance. The frequency of monitoring must be set to reflect the level of risk associated with that activity.

The monitoring program should include preventative measures to track indicators that might identify forthcoming issues. It should also identify triggers for additional or non-routine monitoring during upset conditions, or after identification of disparate results.

As noted earlier, you will select the actions you take according to the scale and potential risks to human health and the environment of your activities. Information that you use during your performance evaluation may include, but not be limited to:

  • monitoring results;
    • non-compliant results;
    • trends in results;
    • reliability of results – can they be verified, are unusual results checked;
    • usefulness of results (might your monitoring benefit from changing the frequency, location, or type of monitoring);
  • records of incidents;
  • compliance audit results;
  • maintenance records;
  • environmental complaints or feedback;
  • correspondence with external interested parties such as EPA, WorkSafe, local council; and
  • suggestions or observations of company personnel.

The monitoring results must be presented in a manner so that their meaning is transparent. When you are reviewing your results you might want to make it easier to visualise trends by presenting them as a graph or bar histogram, rather than just raw numbers.

You must also conduct a quality control assessment of the monitoring results to ensure they are reliable. This assessment might include checking of completion of required instrument calibration, instrument quality and maintenance, suitability of instrument calibration reference standards, competence of personnel conducting the monitoring, consistency of results obtained by different operators, security of monitoring results, investigation of aberrant results (outliers), or changes to equipment at the monitoring point.

The results of your environmental performance evaluation can be used for a wide range of opportunities, not just licence compliance. Such uses may include:

  • demonstrating you are meeting the GED;
  • demonstrating compliance with regulatory controls (including your EPA licence);
  • assessing the efficacy of your environmental protection procedures;
  • assessing the efficacy of your environmental protection equipment;
  • identifying improvement in environmental performance following modification of plant to improve environmental performance;
  • assessing the impacts of change in process streams (verification of the expectations you had for the change);
  • identifying opportunities for more efficient use of resources;
  • identifying opportunities for reduced production of waste;
  • verifying and refining the environmental aspects and impacts you use during the risk assessment;
  • confirming the suitability of your environmental performance indicators;
  • establishing performance benchmarks to compare future performance against;
  • identifying opportunities for improvement in training; and
  • assessing the long-term impacts of environmental incidents and the corrective actions taken to manage those incidents.

Plant and environmental control equipment maintenance

Where you rely on engineering controls (plant and equipment) for risk mitigation you must ensure that those controls are appropriately maintained, and their effectiveness optimised. If they are static structures such as bunds, grease traps, or triple interceptor traps, they must be emptied and checked to ensure they have not been damaged since the last inspection. You should also check that they still have sufficient capacity for activities within their catchment – that they have been emptied and maintained at a sufficient frequency.

Mechanical emission control equipment, such as air scrubbers, sump pumps or step screens, must be included in a regular inspection and preventive maintenance program. Waiting until they fail before they are repaired is not acceptable practice. The more critical the equipment, the more frequent the inspections should be. You should also take into account the reliability of the plant when reviewing the maintenance schedule. Larger facilities have an asset management system that should include a suitable inspection and preventative maintenance schedule.

Change management

Your operational controls should be based on the findings of your latest risk assessment. However, these findings will become out of date once there are any changes to activities or plant at your activity site. The changes can involve such things as equipment or process upgrades, plant throughput, raw material usage (type and volume), materials storage, relocation of activities within the site, transport methods (e.g. from IBCs to road tankers), staff changes, etc.

Changes must be managed and documented to ensure that any changes made do not compromise risk management controls or introduce a new risk that itself requires control.

In addition to operational changes you should also consider the impacts of decommissioning a process or equipment to ensure risks to human health and the environmental are identified and managed.

Examples of potential consequences are:

  • demolition of the plant removes an environmental control you relied on to control emissions from another section of the activities – such as removal of a section of bund wall, or air ducting;
  • you now have more hardstand to manage surface water runoff from; or
  • a change to onsite traffic pattern causes heavy vehicles to drive closer to bulk storage tanks.

Continual improvement and review

Continual improvement of your environmental performance is central to proactive environmental management. You will review the results of your environmental performance evaluation to identify opportunities to improve your future environmental performance. These should be considered in the context of your risk assessment that carries through to review of your environmental performance objectives, operational controls, and other key elements of your RMMP.

While conducting your continual improvement review you must assess advances made since your last review in the availability and suitability of technology used in operational controls you have in place (section 6(2)(d) of the Act).

You may not be able to identify improvements in your environmental performance at every review, however, each time you complete a review, include different site personnel in the review group. Their different perspective on your activities might generate ideas for improvement that hadn’t been picked up before. Remember, you are aiming for elimination of risks of harm to human health and the environment so far as reasonably practicable (SFARP).

Environmental incident and emergency response

Environmental incidents

An environmental incident is an event that is a departure from standard operating conditions that can or does have an impact on human health or the environment. Environmental incidents may include (but not limited to):

  • an emergency (see first paragraph of the section “Emergency response”);
  • notifiable incidents (section 30 of the Act);
  • an event that poses a threat to human health or the environment (which does not necessarily trigger section 30 of the Act);
  • non-conformance with an environmental performance indicator;
  • a complaint received regarding an environmental issue;
  • a failure of environmental control plant;
  • power failure; or
  • exceedance of environmental control plant capacity.

You should have in place an environmental incident response procedure. This procedure would identify such steps as (this list is by no means exhaustive):

  • the purpose and scope of the plan;
  • responsibilities;
  • criteria for incidents, including the distinction between an incident, notifiable incident and emergency;
  • types of incidents and management of those incidents;
  • notification requirements;
  • incident investigation;
  • corrective actions; and
  • record management.

Emergency response

An emergency is a sudden disaster or accident that causes or threatens to cause severe harm to human health or damage to property or the environment. An emergency requires immediate action to limit its impact. You will have identified emergency situations during your risk assessment and listed these as such in your risk rating table. Emergency events might involve fire, flood, loss of containment (e.g. from tank or pipe failure), vehicle impact, or sabotage.

You should have an emergency response plan in place for your activities. This plan might include a description of the types of emergency, methods for limiting the environmental impacts, communications, training of emergency response personnel, and post-emergency actions. Your emergency plan must have mitigation controls in place to deal with the scenarios you have identified through your risk assessments (as required by section 25(4)(c) of the Act).

Depending on the scale and management systems in place at your activities, you may already have an emergency response plan. If you do, ensure that it covers the potential emergencies identified by your risk assessment.

WorkSafe Victoria has published guidance for developing effective emergency response plans, including a guidance note for emergency planning at a major hazard facility. 

This guidance, although aimed at major hazard facilities, provides a good model for preparing an emergency response plan for your facility. You should ensure that the emergency response plan is kept up to date, and that personnel are familiar with its location and competent to respond to an emergency when it occurs.

Your facility may have a combined incident management and emergency response plan. Whichever type of plan you have, you should ensure that the plan is kept up to date, and that personnel are familiar with its contents and location, and trained to respond to an emergency when it occurs.

Reporting of incidents and emergencies

Reporting of incidents, emergencies and near misses must follow a documented procedure. It should promote a culture of reporting, ownership and responsibility to human health and the environment. The reporting process must include details of the incident, the response to the incident, outcomes of any remedial actions taken, investigations into the cause of the incident, and actions taken to prevent recurrence of the event.



The GED applies to every person who is engaged in activities that may give rise to risk of harm to human health or the environment. Hence, you must ensure that appropriate training is provided to all personnel engaged in such activities that may give rise to risk of human health or the environment. Section 25(4)(e) of the Act requires you to provide information, instruction, supervision and training to any person engaging in the activity to enable those persons to comply with the GED.

Provision of appropriate competency-based training to your personnel is critical for successful implementation of your environmental controls. The level and nature of the training should match the roles of each person and their responsibilities as identified in the RMMP. In so doing, the training should:

  • identify the necessary competence for personnel doing work that is controlled by the RMMP and can have an impact on the environment;
  • ensure that personnel are competent on the basis of education, training or experience;
  • determine the training needs to ensure that personnel understand the risks to human health and the environment that are presented by the activity they are undertaking; and
  • provide the necessary competence (training or mentoring) and check the effectiveness of that training.

The training can range in formality from one-on-one demonstration of an action to formal presentations with competency checks. Depending on the nature of the role, and the capability of the person in that role, you should provide refresher training to ensure an adequate level of competency is maintained.

You must keep a register of the training provided to your personnel. This will enable you to keep track of what training has been provided and the skills each person has attained from that training. You may be asked to make this information available to the Authority.


The overall objective of environmental communication is to provide internal and external interested parties with information on your environmental issues, their management and performance. Your RMMP should include details on what to communicate, when to communicate it, to whom and how. Some larger organisations maintain a specific communications procedure. Depending on the organisation, the communications procedure can specify everything from use of emails, to issue of press releases by the public relations manager, to liaise with regulatory authorities, to calling of emergency services. The communications process must incorporate details on reporting of incidents and emergencies identified above.

Internal communications

Your internal interested parties may include:

  • top management, who are responsible for ensuring the overall environmental management program is implemented;
  • section managers who are responsible for communicating the environmental responsibilities;
  • personnel who conduct the environmental monitoring;
  • operators who implement the operational controls.

Internal communications will include distribution of relevant environmental management information through the management levels in place at your facility. This information might include distribution of operational control procedures, reporting of monitoring results, contributions to risk assessment workshops, provision of training, notification of process changes, internal reporting of incidents and emergencies, and reporting of environmental performance to top management.

External communications

External communications regarding environmental management are usually more closely controlled as they can involve sensitive issues and require adherence to corporate protocol. Such communications require logs to be kept and may require follow-up action by nominated personnel.

External communications may include:

  • engagement with the local community;
  • maintenance of a company website and social media information sites;
  • liaison with regulatory authorities;
  • participation in industry bodies or other professional organisations;
  • receipt of community complaints and enquiries;
  • reporting of incidents and emergencies; and
  • routine environmental reporting obligations such as
    • Permission Information and Performance Statement (PIPS) to EPA;
    • National Pollutant Inventory (NPI; if you meet the reporting threshold)http://www.npi.gov.au/; and
    • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme (if you meet the reporting threshold) http://www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au/NGER.


CEMS continuous emission monitoring system
ERS environment reference standards
GED general environmental duty
NGER National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting
NPI National Pollutant Inventory
PIPS Permission Information and Performance Statement
RMMP risk management and monitoring program
SCADA supervisory control and data acquisition (a system for controlling plant and equipment)
SFARP so far as reasonably practicable