Environment, health, and safety (EHS) touch on the efforts to minimize the risks to the health and safety of workers and the general public, not to mention the environment. Within the EHS meaning, it’s imperative to make prudent use of natural resources, preserve the quality of the environment, and, above all, protect human health. The idea is to prevent harm before a hazard occurs. EHS legislation applies to all facilities located in the European Union. It aims to protect health and the environment while ensuring efficiencies are made and barriers to trade are avoided. If you’re an employer, manager, or officer at a business, you’re directly responsible for EHS risks. The management process must be reviewed after a while or when something changes.
What Are the Consequences of EHS Non-Compliance?
EU-OSHA requires corporations to operate in compliance with the rules, regulations, policies, and procedures set in place. Since breaching the environment, health, and safety directive is a criminal offense, refusing or failing to comply can result in financial penalties and indirect long-term consequences. In the beginning, a notice of improvement or prohibition is issued to the organization, yet the consequences soon become direr. More precisely, non-compliance with EHS can result in negative outcomes, such as:
- Injury & illness. The workplace should be free of known health and safety hazards. If someone feels at risk, they might complain to government authorities and ask for an inspection. Decide how many first aiders are needed and what sort of first aid equipment and facilities should be provided.
- Civil lawsuit/criminal charges. In rare cases, violations can result in a civil lawsuit or a criminal charge. Litigation can be a drain on finances, time, energy, and resources. In other words, it leads to changes in the way the business operates.
- Damage to the employer-employee relationship. Enterprises fall short of showing employees that they matter. In the event of a work accident, employees lose confidence in business leaders, and this loss of trust can cause an increased turnover.
- Risk to business reputation. It’s essential to capitalize on the growing public and political awareness of the health impact of pollution. Environmental violation events tarnish a corporate reputation, using media as a proxy. The last thing you want is attention from pressure groups.
- Threats to the environment. EHS compliance helps attract customers who are seeking environmentally-friendly products or services. Sustainability issues don’t always deliver immediate benefits to the bottom line, but profits aren’t the main objective.
How You Can Become EHS-Complaint in Your Industry
The workplace continues to evolve, so EHS compliance isn’t the primary concern for organizations, meaning it’s one of the many components of a thriving business. Nevertheless, compliance is an absolute necessity to run an effective business. Please continue reading to find out how to identify and manage risk in your organization while ensuring EHS compliance.
Find Out What Laws Are Applicable to Your Business
Environment, health, and safety rules are imposed by intermediary organizations, not by the government. EU-OSHA is responsible for collecting, analyzing, and disseminating relevant information. It’s up to you to identify the applicable policies, that is, the ones that apply to your industry. You’re not necessarily subject to all the laws, but you won’t know for sure unless you check. Identifying relevant laws is time-consuming, and it’s not a one-off event. EHS regulations are continually changing to reflect the values of the society we live in and impact everything from the choice of raw materials to employee safety protocols.
Conduct An Internal Safety Audit and Inspection
The best practice to approach compliance management is to become directly involved in the examination and improvement of work activities and results. The self-assessment takes the shape of an internal audit, which can be performed with the help of EHS solutions. The OECD encourages the use of promising new instruments for gathering information and making better decisions. Not only is it possible to obtain more information but also to reduce costs and time. EHS software has incident-tracking capabilities that save time by eliminating paperwork. Moreover, it streamlines reporting and investigation processes. The examination can reveal the need for training for managers, so they need information on different laws and legislation.
Establish Points of Change & Monitor Compliance
The question now is: What do you do with your data? The point of an EHS self-assessment is to take note of deficiencies within your company and take remedial action. What you should do is implement the appropriate programs, ensure protective safety equipment, adopt more efficient processes and machinery, and clean up any mess you make. You can assign the responsibility to certain members of your team, who must figure out corrective action for non-compliance issues. Monitor compliance to pinpoint risks before they harm your business. Worker participation is a crucial part of the monitoring system.
The bottom line is that EHS can be introduced into the workplace by employers, managers, and officers via proper awareness. Environment, health, and safety involve organized efforts and procedures for recognizing workplace hazards and reducing exposure to harmful situations/substances. Equally important is to reduce the business’ impact on the environment and preserve natural resources. As mentioned earlier, there are drastic penalties for breaching the law, but you shouldn’t neglect the impacts that aren’t immediately visible. Have an action plan for preventing incidents and ensure you benefit from technical support from the EHS software vendor to avoid downtime and troubleshooting.
A compliance calendar helps you stay on top of tasks by consolidating and monitoring essential regulations, permits, reporting deadlines, and so on. Regardless of how big or small your enterprise is, training should be the number one priority on your list. Educate individuals on how to do their jobs safely and effectively to eliminate risks that could lead to fatal accidents. Employees should be able to identify the root causes of unwanted incidents and understand what could have been done to prevent such outcomes. Finally, yet importantly, take advantage of software in managing EHS compliance and documentation. Today’s society is more aware than ever.