At a glance:
– What is Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Compliance?
– Importance of Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Compliance
– Fundamental Steps for EHS Compliance
– How VisiumKMS supports EHS Compliance
In today’s world, businesses across industries realize the importance of maintaining a safe and healthy work environment. There has been a surge in the awareness of being an Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) compliant organization, and businesses have become proactive in taking the necessary precautions to prevent unforeseen accidents and work-related injuries. In this blog, we will explore the importance of EHS compliance and the steps organizations can take to implement an effective EHS compliance program.
To begin with, let’s understand What is Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Compliance?
Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Compliance refers to the set of regulations and standards that organizations must abide by to ensure the safety of their employees as well as minimize their impact on the environment. These standards vary depending on industry and location but are designed to protect individuals and the environment from harm caused by business activities.
- Environmental compliance deals with an organization’s responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint through sustainable practices such as waste management and energy conservation. This includes adhering to government regulations regarding air quality, water pollution, and hazardous waste disposal, among others.
- Health compliance is concerned with protecting employees’ physical well-being by ensuring safe working conditions that minimize accidents, injuries, or exposure to toxic substances. This may include providing protective gear for workers who handle hazardous materials or offering ergonomic workstations.
- Safety compliance focuses on preventing accidents in the workplace. Companies need policies in place concerning emergency response plans; fire prevention measures; electrical safety guidelines; slips, trips & falls prevention strategies, etc. It aims at protecting workers from accidents by identifying potential risks and taking measures to prevent them. Proper training programs, equipment maintenance checks, and safety inspections can help reduce workplace injuries significantly.
In essence, EHS compliance aims at minimizing risks associated with companies’ operations while safeguarding human health and our planet’s natural resources.
Importance of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) Compliance
Environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance is a critical aspect of any business organization. It involves adhering to regulations governing the protection of the environment, human life, and property from potential hazards. Compliance is not only essential for legal reasons but also for ethical considerations while managing an organization.
One of the most important reasons why EHS compliance is important is that it keeps employees safe. By ensuring a safe working environment, businesses can reduce incidents and accidents at work which could lead to injuries or even fatalities. This helps maintain productivity levels by avoiding delays caused by workplace accidents.
Furthermore, compliance promotes environmental sustainability as it minimizes negative impacts on air quality, water sources, and other natural resources. Businesses that prioritize sustainable practices build trust with customers who are increasingly seeking eco-friendly products. This includes proper management of waste disposal, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and implementing sustainable practices to protect natural resources.
Compliance also protects against financial losses resulting from regulatory fines or penalties associated with non-compliance. The cost of settling lawsuits arising from environmental violations may result in reputational damage leading to loss of customers.
Fundamental Steps for EHS Compliance
- Identifying requirements: Identifying requirements is the first crucial step in achieving environmental, health, and safety compliance. It involves understanding all the regulatory standards that apply to your business operations. Failure to identify all relevant laws and regulations can lead to non-compliance, which can result in serious consequences.To ensure that you are identifying all requirements, it’s important to consult with experts who have extensive knowledge of EHS regulations. Such experts can help you navigate through complex legal language and understand specific compliance obligations.
Another aspect of identifying requirements is conducting a thorough assessment of your organization’s operations. This includes evaluating potential environmental impacts as well as health and safety hazards associated with your products or services. By doing this, you will be able to create a comprehensive list of all applicable EHS regulations that need to be complied with.
- Keeping a tab on regulatory changes: Next, keeping a tab on regulatory changes is one of the most essential steps in maintaining environmental, health, and safety compliance. Regulations can change rapidly, and it’s important to stay up-to-date with them to avoid any non-compliance issues. There are many different federal, state, and local laws that may impact your operations. Hence, it is essential to know which ones you need to follow.Keeping a tab on regulatory changes requires an ongoing commitment and it is important for businesses to always stay updated to ensure employee safety management and avoid penalties associated with non-compliance issues.
Read about the top EHS certifications for safety professionals in 2023 here.
- Compliance calendar: Thereafter, one of the critical steps in achieving environmental, health, and safety (EHS) compliance is creating a comprehensive compliance calendar. The compliance calendar should include deadlines for training employees, submitting reports, conducting audits, and completing other EHS-related tasks. It should also take into consideration any changes to regulations or company policies that could affect the schedule.By having a clear plan of action outlined in the compliance calendar, businesses can avoid last-minute scrambling and minimize risks associated with non-compliance. Furthermore, it allows organizations to prioritize their efforts based on urgency and potential consequences.
- Conducting and tracking audits: Conducting and tracking audits is yet another vital step for EHS compliance. Audits are conducted to identify any potential risks or hazards that may cause harm to employees, the environment, or the public. They also ensure that an organization’s EHS programs are functioning effectively.There are two types of audits: internal and external -internal audits are conducted by trained personnel within the organization, while external audits involve third-party auditors who assess an organization’s compliance with regulatory standards. After completing an audit, it is important to track findings and recommendations for corrective action. A tracking system should be established to monitor progress toward implementing corrective actions.
Conducting regular audits can help organizations maintain compliance with environmental laws as well as protect their employees from harm. It can also improve business operations by identifying areas where improvements can be made in terms of efficiency or cost savings.
- Investigating incident issues: Investigating incident issues is a crucial step in ensuring environmental, health, and safety compliance. Incidents can occur despite all the precautions taken to prevent them. When an incident occurs, it is important to investigate and determine its root cause to prevent similar incidents from happening again.Investigations must be conducted objectively without any biases or preconceptions. Objective investigations lead to unbiased findings that help improve EHS performance by identifying areas for improvement. Furthermore, investigation reports should be thorough, documenting not only what happened but also why it happened and how it can be prevented in future instances. Corrective actions must be implemented based on those findings as quickly as possible. Taking prompt action shows employees that their company prioritizes their safety while also reducing liability risks associated with workplace injuries or illnesses caused by environmental factors.
- Implementing and tracking corrective action: Thereafter, implementing and tracking corrective action is a crucial step in EHS compliance. It involves identifying and addressing any non-compliance issues that have been identified through audits or incident investigations.Once the action plan has been developed, it’s important to assign responsibility for each task and set deadlines for completion. Regular follow-ups should be conducted to ensure that progress is being made on each task. Tracking corrective actions also requires documenting all activities related to the implementation of the action plan. This includes recording any changes made and monitoring their effectiveness over time.
To learn how to implement risk management software at your organization, read this.
- Training employees: Training employees ensures that everyone in the workplace understands their responsibilities and knows how to perform their duties in a safe manner. Proper training can help reduce accidents, injuries, and illnesses in the workplace.The first step in employee training is to identify what needs to be taught. This can include topics such as hazardous materials handling, emergency response procedures, personal protective equipment (PPE) use, and more. Once you have identified your training needs, develop a comprehensive plan for delivering the same. In addition to initial training when onboarding new hires, refresher courses are necessary for existing staff, especially after any new regulatory changes or incidents at work which may lead them into getting familiar with updated safety protocols.
Continuous monitoring and evaluation of employee performance should also take place regularly. Employers must ensure workers understand the importance of implementing EHS regulations for day-to-day operations run smoothly without jeopardizing personnel safety.
- Maintaining records: Lastly, maintaining accurate and up-to-date records is a crucial aspect of environmental, health, and safety compliance. It helps organizations demonstrate their compliance with regulations, identify areas for improvement, and document the effectiveness of their EHS programs.To maintain records effectively, companies should develop a comprehensive record-keeping system that includes all relevant information related to EHS activities. This may include incident reports, training records, inspection logs, permits and licenses obtained from regulatory agencies, etc. Electronic record-keeping systems offer several advantages over paper-based systems including easier access to data and better organization of information. Companies can also use software tools to analyze data trends over time which helps identify patterns or recurring issues in the workplace.
EHS compliance should be viewed as an essential component of any business strategy aiming at long-term growth and sustainability. By prioritizing EHS compliance, organizations can improve their reputation and goodwill, while also creating a safer work environment for their employees.
How VisiumKMS Supports EHS Compliance
For global enterprises that contend with regulated processes and complex engineering assets, VisiumKMS is a highly configurable, web-based QHSE platform connecting information dynamically, precisely, reliably and instantly – between the back office and the plant, factory, or any other site. It drives efficient, visible, and easily communicable corrective and preventive actions.
VisiumKMS removes weak links in any communication chain, providing a pillar for optimal, safer, risk-reduced, and compliant operations – enabling continuous improvement through preventive and corrective actions – for the oil and gas, chemical process, and food, drug and beverage industries.
We commit to staying ahead of the curve; to help our customers keep ahead of the business and operational pressures, regulations, and global or local challenges they face. Get in touch with us here.