BlueScope Construction Becomes First General Contractor to Earn Certified Environmentally Responsible Contractor (CERC) Certification

BlueScope Construction is proud to announce its certification by the Certified Environmentally Responsible Contractor (CERC) program. To date, only 154 companies in the United States have earned this certification, and BlueScope Construction is the first general contractor to do so.

The CERC program is administered by the environmental consulting firm Environmental Risk Professionals. CERC recognizes contractors who train their employees to understand and mitigate the environmental risks associated with their business, both by using best practices to prevent pollution incidents from occurring and by obtaining additional environmental, health and safety training from various sources. The certification also includes an evaluation of the contractor’s pollution liability coverage so that in the event an environmental incident occurs, the contractor will have adequate coverage to protect themselves and the property owner. CERC certification must be renewed every two years, at which time policies and training are re-evaluated based on current CERC requirements.

The certification comes as a result of BlueScope Construction leadership proactively looking for opportunities to achieve and exceed the company’s environmental goals. BlueScope Construction Health, Safety and Environment Manager Stephen Kirkbride identified CERC certification as a potential opportunity. “They have a ton of information to help us be more environmentally sound,” said Kirkbride. “There are a lot of training aids covering everything from how to change out fluids to alternative chemicals that are less acidic or corrosive to what types of materials you should have in your spill kit. Basically, it’s everything you need to know to handle situations where there is environmental risk.”

All of this training comes under the umbrella of Environmental Risk Professionals’ Pollution Prevention Practices, a curriculum that all applicable BlueScope Construction employees were required to be trained on in order to achieve the CERC certification. The program focuses on prevention and mitigation of environmental exposure to toxic or hazardous substances in a variety of settings, including mold, asbestos, refrigerants, and fugitive dust.

BlueScope Construction was also required to match its insurance policies to the levels set by Environmental Risk Professionals. These include coverages that are usually excluded from General Contractor Liability policies, like first- and third-party transport and non-owned disposal sites. “They wanted to make sure our insurance policy was set up so that if we carried any responsibility for an environmental incident, we would be able to take care of it,” said Kirkbride.

“Then they reviewed the potential for environmental risks in the work we do and our performance history. Our numbers matched what they were looking for and their training matched what we were looking for.”

Kirkbride said the certification is highly valuable because it proves that BlueScope Construction is following best environmental practices. “We don’t just say, oh, we’re environmentally friendly, we’re green. We have this certification from a third-party vendor that we’ve invested the time and energy to make sure that we do business in a way that is environmentally impactful in a good way.”

BlueScope Construction President Josh Wight agrees. “Earning the CERC certification is a reflection of our commitment to doing the right thing,” he said. “Right now it might only be a small number of customers who would know to ask about it or look for it, but we expect that to change in the future.”

The certification is also a reflection of the BlueScope Construction culture. “Our people are responsible,” said Kirkbride. “They do what needs to be done to protect against any environmental incidents. If any were to happen, our employees would make sure they own up to it and clean it up – and the CERC certification attests to that.”

Kirkbride said that the certification will also help BlueScope Construction identify good project partners. “We don’t want to tie up with somebody that’s not on board with what we’re doing,” he said. “That just makes it harder when you’re trying to complete a project, because you see violations and people who don’t have the foresight to identify problems. It will help us weed out the contractors we don’t want to work with because they don’t share our philosophy.”

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