Twenty years ago, although the concept of EHS emerged, it was not given the right amount of importance. During its pioneering years, EHS management did not even earn a department or a stand-alone project. However, with the frequency of work-related accidents brought about by unsafe working environments and practices, this odd condition changed through time. EHS is nowadays considered a vital component for a company’s success and the prevalence of EHS programs across manufacturing companies all over the world can now be easily noticed.
What is EHS?
EHS or Environmental Health and Safety is a discipline that specializes in studying and implementing essential aspects of safety and environmental protection at work. To simply put, it refers to the set of rules, regulations, laws, programs, and workplace efforts that aim to protect both the safety and health of employees and the public. EHS has been serving as a bible in identifying workplace hazards and reducing corresponding threats and exposure to dangerous situations. From an environmental standpoint, EHS ensures that every workplace and work-related activities both done within and outside the premises of a company are safe and free from potential risks and dangers.
Although majority of the states all over the world have their own set of EHS regulations, EHS management does not exist only for legal compliance purposes. Companies are expected to see the very purpose of EHS at the least – that they should care about the wellbeing of their employees and do more for the matter than what is required by law, if necessary.
Since EHS is complex to manage and can be handled improperly without efficient protocols and management processes, nowadays companies rely on an EHS software to make EHS more manageable and implementable. But then again, EHS software, like any other systems, cannot be utilized at their optimum unless the users know very well about the process and unless they know how the software can help get things done.
The responsibility of looking over EHS in every company is big and critical so to help you get into the field smoother. Here’s a few tips:
- Data Collection is a requirement.
The processes towards an effective EHS management can never be properly defined nor implemented sans all the data as they are dependent on it. It is these data, e.g. data about employees, the company, and the workplace layouts that will be analyzed and looked into for a better EHS plan and strategy.
One study has shown that almost half of the employees were not comfortable to talk about safety risks with their employers. To avoid this from happening, feedbacks from industry experts and your employees are also an important data to take into consideration. These will ensure that your processes are well communicated to the community and that the employees are comfortable with it. Of course, some employees will tend to be uncooperative during surveys and it is most likely because they are afraid to be known as antagonists but this should not stop you. When cases like this should arise, your job would be to assure them of their anonymity, or you can give them recognitions of rewards in exchange of feedbacks. Encourage as much as you can.
- Let your employees know that EHS is for the benefit of everybody.
Employees will not participate and do their part in complying with your company’s EHS policies unless they know what these are for. Hence, the EHS or safety team should allocate a time to educate and make employees understand that what they are doing is more than a regulatory compliance but rather a move towards eradicating all risks or hazards that can harm them and affect their wellbeing. You can simply send out newsletters through your company mail outlining safety standards as frequent as possible.
- Formulate a successful EHS messaging.
EHS management is not only for high-risk workplace environments where employees are handling heavy equipment and hazardous chemicals. Regardless of the size of the company, as long as it is operating, then EHS management is vital and expectations for this matter must be clearly defined and implemented.
An EHS management process usually involves tasks like carrying out a serious risk assessment on every workplace, identifying risks, and running safety training programs from period to period for employees.
For an effective EHS managing, you can opt to hire a graphic designer to make an info graphic about EHS’s importance. And if you must, make sure all the EHS expectations are indicated and clearly understandable.
- Have your leaders motivate the employees.
In all company-related moves, including EHS management, imparting huge roles on the leaders will help reiterate that the move is a truly credible yet serious one.
- Run a self-audit from time to time.
Records show that 72% of employees in a particular company did not know what their company’s EHS section was for, what it was doing, and etc. As much as you think you’ve already gone the extra mile to let your colleagues understand the point of everything your team is doing, there’s still a chance that your employees are on a different page.
Running a self-audit regularly will help you reach your EHS goals and craft up effective EHS strategies. Knowing that your employees understand your goals, the likelihood of them participating will be boosted.
When is EHS Software a necessity?
You can always claim that you already have enough number of members to manage EHS in the entire company but let’s admit it, the manual processing and maintenance of data alone can already take too much time and yet they do not guarantee to be error free. Errors, as risky as they are, can already jeopardize the accuracy and effectiveness of the EHS policies you have defined or are still trying to define. Here’s where an EHS software can help.
Experts advise that companies that have 10 employees or more will need a modern EHS management system or an EHS software to manage EHS information. While a standard EHS software in today’s market comes at a hefty price, how it can boost productivity, management visibility, and enterprise visibility to mitigate costly risks in a company already justify how great of an investment it can be. According to the pioneering EHS software users, the ROI can rise up to 5x the cost of the program.