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Responsible Care Management System® and Certification


Responsible Care® enables America’s leading chemical companies to achieve even higher standards of performance and generate greater value for their businesses. The Responsible Care Management System offers an integrated, structured approach to improve company performance in the following key areas: community awareness and emergency response; security; distribution; employee health and safety; pollution prevention; and process and product safety.  

The Responsible Care Management System’s framework is simple, building on a basic “Plan-Do-Check-Act” philosophy that raises the bar for industry-wide performance while allowing flexibility for individual companies and facilities to meet their specific needs.

Fact about the Responsible Care Management System:

  • The Responsible Care Management System is based on effective and proven management practices. The management system combines Responsible Care with the practices of leading private-sector companies, the International Standards Organization and federal regulatory requirements.

  • The Responsible Care Management System process begins with a strong commitment from company leadership. Senior management must develop, document and implement a policy that establishes a company’s framework for defining and reviewing its goals and objectives and commits to continuous improvement. 

To implement the Responsible Care Management System:

  • Companies must first PLAN – identify and evaluate potential hazards and risks associated with their products, processes, distribution and other operations. Companies then establish goals and objectives to address any significant hazards and risks, taking concerns of employees, communities, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders into consideration.

  • Next, companies must DO what they have planned. They establish, document and communicate responsibilities to meet stated goals and objectives, including processes to identify and meet staff training needs.

  • Then companies must CHECK their progress. This stage highlights performance measurement and corrective action. Activities include self-assessments – companies measure and evaluate their performance, including compliance with regulatory and legislative requirements, and take corrective and preventive action to make necessary adjustments to the management system. Companies also establish procedures for identifying and maintaining Responsible Care records.

  • Finally, companies must ACT. Senior management periodically reviews the adequacy and effectiveness of the management system and makes any changes necessary to enhance performance. The results of this process are shared with the company’s stakeholders.

A key part of the Responsible Care Management System process is mandatory certification by an independent, accredited auditor. All of the more than 220 companies taking part in Responsible Care in the United States undergo headquarters and facility audits to assure that they have a structure and system in place to measure, manage and verify performance.

Certification must be renewed every three years, and companies can choose one of two certification options:

  1. RCMS® certification, which verifies that a company has implemented the Responsible Care Management System; or
  2. RC14001®, which combines Responsible Care and ISO 14001 certification into a single, cost-effective process.

An Index of RCMS Documents and the RCMS Technical Specifications are publicly available.

The RCMS Guidance and Interpretations and the RC14001 Technical Specification documents are available for purchase at the ACC Store.

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