For many companies, environment, health, and safety — or EHS — is a crucial part of common processes. EHS management is the codification and practice of procedures aimed at ensuring the safety of workers and their surroundings. Technology has transformed the way EHS is managed: It’s allowed management systems to become more finely tuned and efficient, and defined the role of corporate culture in boosting EHS performance.
To better understand the meaning of EHS management, we'll break down each letter of the acronym. These are some of the areas wherein EHS processes can help to protect your teams and keep them safe.
Environment: This refers to the world around you and usually concerns accident prevention or consequence mitigation — for instance, chemical spills and air pollution.
Health: This typically refers to things that can make people ill, like pathogens, radiation, and exposure to excessive noise or pollution.
Safety: The safety aspect of EHS is focused on preventing workplace accidents and injuries.
Many businesses use an EHS management system and may never stop to wonder why. EHS management system protocols are important because they prevent a significant number of illnesses, injuries, and environmental hazards. Workplaces have come a long way since the horrific tragedies that used to occur fairly regularly, like the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, which killed 146 workers and prompted greater attention to and regulation of workplace safety.
Organizations like OSHA along with worldwide EHS management efforts have made corporations safer for workers, but mine explosions and oil spills are modern-day reminders of why EHS management is so important. The bottom line is that EHS programs are important because they prevent tragedy and protect the health and safety of workers. OSHA has conducted many studies that show the clear benefits of using EHS programs.
Put simply, EHS management saves lives. As consumer goods production has expanded exponentially, so has consumption of energy and dangers to the environment and human residences. EHS has helped protect the planet from these threats while still allowing businesses to thrive. It has also helped drastically increase worker rights and safety. Not only is it the law to comply with EHS regulations, but it’s a responsibility owed to your workers and the planet. Thankfully, EHS managers and EHS management apps can make this task easier than it ever has been.
What Does an EHS Manager Do?
An EHS manager has many duties. Sometimes, there are so many responsibilities that the tasks are divided among a team of people. Overall, the EHS manager is there to identify, reduce, and control risks and hazards. Some of the tasks they may be responsible for include:
Performing job hazard analysis
Leading the safety and health management program
Assisting in running safety committees
Performing incident investigations
Tracking environmental, health, and safety training
Enforcing EHS regulatory compliance
Gathering and analyzing EHS lagging and leading indicators
Improving operational and human performance
Organizing safety committees
EHS Management System Benefits
EHS regulations are an evolving system, and keeping up with them can be a challenge, depending on the nature of your business and the field you work in. Using EHS management software can help you keep track of changes and make fully informed decisions. Using information management software has benefits that can empower you to track EHS challenges and improve your performance. The main EHS management system benefits include:
Streamlined Data Collection: Using a customizable platform allows for greater flexibility in data collection that matches your exact processes and business needs. Securely store all incident details and supporting documents you need in one central place to ensure you're in compliance and ready for any
Data-Logging on the Go: Many people are using mobile applications to improve their EHS management process because collecting data while on the move is convenient and accurate, and this information can sync directly to the database whenever you’re online. Increase safety and compliance by recording all incident information, including photos and documents, in one secure location, from anywhere and on any device.
More Consistency: Centralized information leads to better data-collection consistency and better-quality data. This enables you to make smarter decisions by gaining full transparency across sites, incident types, root cause, and more.
Improved Reporting Efficiency: Organize and streamline reporting by making it easier to track information in an integrated system. Using a flexible platform will help your company track and keep up with changing reporting standards and regulations.
Better Compliance With Regulations: EHS software makes it easier to collect data to meet OSHA standards and regulations.
What To Look For In An EHS Management System
When you begin the search for an EHS management system it’s important to begin with a comprehensive review of your organization’s needs. If you don’t understand the internal pain points you’re facing, the priorities of your EHS management program, or how an EHS management system will benefit your team, then you will not have a productive search.
After you’ve created a list of requirements you can begin your search for an EHS management system in earnest. Each organization’s needs will be unique so you must refer to your list when you begin seeking a vendor.
Outside of your own internal requirements, you’ll want to make sure you’re at least receiving a minimum number of features that should be standard for any EHS management system. For instance does the platform offer you the ability to track different sources of information in real time? Rapid response is a crucial pillar for any EHS management program and the system you choose needs to be able to deliver crucial data anywhere and anytime.
Think about the size of your organization as well. What’s the maturity of your EHS program? Do you have an entire team with dozens of members? Or are you a smaller team relying on a handful of employees to manage the program? In each case you may want a more customizable solution that allows you to set up the EHS management system in the most optimized way for your organization.
The Future of EHS Management
EHS constantly evolves as the world becomes more aware of environmental concerns, new technology develops, and new protection measures are needed. The focus of EHS professionals is to keep up with the changing times and adapt to use technology to the best of their abilities. Global expansion has a profound effect on EHS regulations; as our world becomes more connected, companies expand their business into new areas, and this new territory means that there are a host of local regulations and considerations to think carefully about to ensure compliance with EHS standards. Changing technology also affects new regulations and creates new ways to follow standards and stay in compliance.
What Is EHS Software Good For?
Here are just a few ways a customized software platform can make EHS management easier and more effective:
Identify and plan for hazards in advance
Track critical information in real time, from anywhere
Store and manage safety data sheets
Organize incident investigations
Track spill responses
Manage emissions tracking
Organize EHS training
With so many EHS management system benefits, it’s clear that an organized and custom-made system can make a world of difference to your business. Quickbase offers solutions that are easy to use and quick to deploy that can be put to work for the betterment of the health and safety of your business. Simple point-and-click software allows users to design and deploy applications and dashboards to automate workflows and create custom reports. Many businesses are making their EHS tracking simpler and workers safer by adopting Quickbase.
Quickbase is scalable to your needs, flexible, and adaptable to your changing business. The apps created with our platform are mobile-friendly, so you can access them with smartphones and tablets while giving stakeholders a means to check information on the go. Quickbase has a team of dedicated support staff that is available for one-on-one support if you need it. You can also take advantage of the knowledge other users share in our online communities.
Quickbase gives you a simple, elegant, and organized way to keep up with EHS management needs and regulations. Start a free trial today and see for yourself.