The Ultimate Guide to EHS Management
What is EHS Management?
Environmental Health and Safety” (EHS) refers to the management of safety, the environment, and the well-being of its specialists. It’s a system designed to lessen the adverse effects of production on people and the environment.
EHS management is the blanket term for the all-encompassing system that involves:
An EHS management system refers to the way in which a company documents, regulates, and promotes its Environmental Health and Safety goals. This includes any:
- Hazard assessment methods/applications
- Toolbox talks
- Filing methods
- Incident reporting techniques/applications
- Training methods
- Environmental protection protocols
- Awareness promotion
All of these can be considered part of the overall EHS management system. Generally, companies look at the whole picture when creating and enhancing their EHS system so that they can utilize the benefits of all these tools.
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Top Methods for Managing an EHS System
EHS systems rely on pools of data. This data can be difficult to organize. EHS data includes:
- Field Level Hazard Assessments
- Training Credentials
- Incident reports
- Time lost injury reports
- Protective measure reports
This data is often organized and collected using the following solutions:
1) Field Level Hazard Assessments
Field Level Hazard Assessments can predict problems or incidents before they occur. So these are crucial when enhancing an EHS management system. Providing team members the ability to produce quick and pertinent field-level hazard assessments gives companies the gift of foresight. Yet these assessments can pile up and are no good to anyone if they collect dust in filing cabinets. That’s why companies either use dedicated employees or FLHA software to organize and store the data so it is there when needed.
2) Training Record Management System
Most companies require many different training courses to comply with modern safety regulations. Yet these credentials all come with their own expiry dates and requirements. This is why large companies rely on software to track all their data. A training record management system stores employee credentials and alerts staff when they require renewals. For more information, check out our guide to training record management systems.
3) Incident Reporting Systems/Applications
Incident reporting, like FLHA assessments, can also become overwhelming to use in a productive manner. They are also difficult to collect and organize when required for compliance or regulatory bodies. That’s why Incident Reporting software is as prevalent today as it is. Large organizations use cloud-based Incident Management software to keep all their data in one place and accessible when required. This also allows for the fast production of metadata that exposes trends.
4) Time Lost Injury Reporting
The requirements in Canada per province for time lost injury reporting vary. To adhere to the many differences the preceding link mentions, companies use digital forms and other template systems to fill in the required data and comply quickly with regulations.
5) Protective Measure Reports
Companies will sometimes create protective measure reports when installing guiding, lockouts, and other safety systems into their equipment. It’s also popular to use software to simplify and categorize this data. Companies can even use this trend data to correlate their gains in safety to the safety systems they’ve invested in.
A number of regulatory authorities around the world enact and uphold EHS-related laws, these include:
- CCOHS is the Canadian legislative body
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA (in the US)
- ISO 45001:2018 (an international standard for EHS management systems)
- ISO 14001:2015 (an international standard for environmental management systems)
- Health and Safety Executive, or HSE (in Great Britain)
- European Framework Directive, or 1989/391/EEC (in the EU)
No matter what regulatory agency an organization must answer to, they may expect to receive some amount of supervision. For instance, a lot of different organizations have to submit computerized data on sickness or injuries. As part of an enforcement measure after a violation, other enterprises might need to go through a required EHS audit. Some firms even conduct voluntary EHS audits, which can be beneficial in identifying compliance concerns in their EHS management system.
Each organization’s EHS management system will have its own unique set of policies, but they are all derived from the same methods and procedures. That’s why most companies strive to have implemented these foundational traits in their EHS management system.
- Ongoing improvement – Workplace safety cannot simply be put in place and then left to operate automatically. It should continually be enhanced year after year to guarantee excellent safety standards.
- Risk management – Risk management helps with risk aversion so it is another key totem in a functioning EHS program.
- Stakeholder participation – EHS systems should be as immersive as possible. Everyone in the company should be involved and active in workplace health and safety. This is why so many companies keep their programs as inclusive as possible and create incentives for all levels to get involved.
- Organized commitment – The EHS system must be thoroughly planned before being put into place if the appropriate safety criteria are to be achieved naturally.
- Effective roll-out policies – When the resources and infrastructure are ready, it is time to put them to use. Among other things, this entails working out how to seamlessly integrate the new safety procedures into regular operations; employees should feel as though they are adjusting to improvements rather than being required to take on more work.
We have been concentrating on all the laws and guidelines so far. But what about the practical rationale behind an EHS management system? The many benefits include:
- Enhanced Safety – There are tons of benefits to safety. Enhancing safety can help with talent acquisition, turnover mitigation, and lower insurance premiums. Not to mention who wouldn’t enjoy enhanced safety? Proving to the world your company cares can have innumerable benefits.
- Reduced Incidents – Time-lost incidents can cost companies thousands of dollars of lost production. Not to mention, deadlines can be blown if employees and equipment are harmed or under investigation. Reducing incidents is something companies see immediately after rolling out a functioning EHS management system.
- Reduced costs – With well-thought-out systems, much of the work is automated. Especially if they incorporate easy-to-use software employees can work with via mobile and other on-the-go instruments. For instance, a training record management system can save thousands of dollars in administrative fees and clerical duties.
- Increased awareness in workers – Part of many EHS systems involves a Learning Management system. This means employees have access to courses they require and regularly renew their safety requirements. Enterprises use Learning Management Software to facilitate all the material they require. This further enhances safety while mitigating compliance fees.
- Easier regulatory compliance – Just because a company is obligated to follow a set of rules doesn’t guarantee they have an effective EHS system in place. Yet companies have continually reported having a clearly defined and well-thought-out EHS system has saved them many times in compliance.