Stormwater Management Fact Sheet: Employee Training

In-house employee training programs are established to teach employees about stormwater management, potential sources of contaminants, and Best Management Practices (BMPs). Employee training programs should instill all personnel with a thorough understanding of their Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), including BMPs, processes and materials they are working with, safety hazards, practices for preventing discharges, and procedures for responding quickly and properly to toxic and hazardous material incidents.

Applicability

Typically, most industrial facilities have employee training programs. Usually these address such areas as health and safety training and fire protection. Training on stormwater management and BMPs can be incorporated into these programs. Employees can be taught through:

1. Posters, employee meetings, courses and bulletin boards about stormwater management, potential contaminant sources, and prevention of contamination in surface water runoff.

2. Field training programs that show areas of potential stormwater contamination and associated pollutants, followed by a discussion of site-specific BMPs by trained personnel.

Advantages And Disadvantages

Advantages of an employee training program are that the program can be a low-cost and easily implementable stormwater management BMP. The program can be standardized and repeated as necessary, both to train new employees and to keep its objectives fresh in the minds of more senior employees. A training program also is flexible and can be adapted as a facility's stormwater management needs change over time. Obstacles to an employee training program include:

  • Lack of commitment from senior management.
  • Lack of employee motivation.
  • Lack of incentive to become involved in BMP implementation.

Key Program Components

Specific design criteria for implementing an employee training program include:

  • Ensuring strong commitment and periodic input from senior management.
  • Communicating frequently to ensure adequate understanding of SWPPP goals and objectives.
  • Using experience from past spills to prevent future spills.
  • Making employees aware of BMP monitoring and spill reporting procedures.
  • Developing operating manuals and standard procedures.
  • Implementing spill drills.

Implementation

An employee training program should be an on-going, yearly process. Meetings about SWPPPs should be held at least annually, possibly in conjunction with other training programs. Figure 1 illustrates a sample employee training worksheet. Worksheets such as these can be used to plan and track employee training programs. Program performance depends on employees' participation and on senior management's commitment to reducing point and nonpoint sources of pollution; therefore, performance will vary among facilities. To be effective these programs need senior management's support

Costs

Costs for implementing an employee training program are highly variable. Most stormwater training program costs will be directly related to labor and associated overhead costs. Trainers can reduce costs by using free educational materials available on the subject of stormwater quality.

EMPLOYEE TRAINING Worksheet Completed by: ______
Title: ______________________
Date: ______________________
Instructions: Describe the employee training program for your facility below. The program should, at a minimum, address spill prevention and response, good housekeeping, and material management practices. Provide a schedule for the training program and list the employees who attend the training sessions.
Training Topics Brief Description of
Training Program/Materials (e.g.,
film, newsletter, course)
Schedule for Training (list dates) Participants
Spill Prevention and Response
Good Housekeeping
Material Management Practices
Other Topics

Fact sheet from EPA. EPA's Stormwater Program: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/home.cfm?program_id=6

This article originally appeared in the 08/01/2005 issue of Environmental Protection.

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