Part one: About SOPs
By Ken MacDonnell, P. Eng.
Professor, Fleming College
Over the years, and especially since the Walkerton tragedy, there has been a general shift for municipalities and other public entities to operate with a clear set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Whether it be as a requirement to conform to DWQMS, a compliance requirement for your ECA, the result from a visit from a Ministry of Labour / Ministry of Environment and Climate Change inspector, or you were ahead of the curve and understood that SOPs were a part of a Best Management Practice, the fact is that SOPs are here to stay.
The most critical component in the above title is the development and writing of effective SOPs. In order for SOPs to be effective they should:
- Clearly define the purpose of the SOP (i.e. why is the task required);
- Identify all tools and equipment required to perform the SOP;
- Provide easy and concise instructions to complete the task.
Finally, the SOP must take into consideration and identify all possible hazards and safety precautions required to complete the tasks associated with the SOP safely.