EHS is a vast topic. There are many means to address it, but there are some universal rules that should be followed in any company to create an efficient EHS Management System. Even though large companies have dedicated teams to work on their systems, small and medium ones can also benefit from these general guidelines below.
The EHS is responsible for the safety of employees using hazardous material at work and managing environmental risks properly. The environmental disasters we face today increase awareness of the importance of this type of management system, so they need to be taken more seriously than they were before by all big and small businesses. We gathered tips that will help you improve your Environmental Health and Safety Management:
Designate an EHS person
The number of employees should not determine whether you establish an EHS Management System or not. It is important that someone takes responsibility for this activity and leads it, no matter how few people work at the company.
Train your employees
Even if there is one coordinator, everyone working at the company must be trained about environmental hazards and risks. The training should include what to do in case of emergency (fire, spillage…) as well as regular safety measures to follow.
Work according to a plan
A flexible approach is good when difficulties arise but a plan should be drawn up beforehand with all necessary regulatory documentation for reference.
Verify your equipment
Some of the most common risks are created by outdated or defective equipment. Before starting operations, it is essential to verify that everything works properly and all employees are familiar with how to use it.
Have documents ready
Complying with environmental law may be difficult when you do not have the necessary documentation at hand. Before opening a business or moving on to another phase in production or service, make sure you have the required files on hand so there are no delays later on.
Knowledge is key
The EHS person should know about all existing standards and legislation for his/her activity. Read them carefully and keep them available for reference on an ongoing basis. Choose someone motivated and professional. All reports, documentation, etc. are useless unless there are people who know how to use them for the greater good of the company.
Take into account environmental aspects
The biggest companies have dedicated teams that work on sustainability but it is important to focus on this aspect even in small companies. Environmental protection helps you attract new customers as well as increase your production capacity because you will not be limited by physical constraints or waste disposal facilities.
Do regular tests
It does not matter whether you manufacture cosmetics or chemicals, regular audits should be part of your strategy to check equipment operation and ensure all workers follow safety procedures during their activities. Checklists are an efficient way to do this and they should be used to track compliance with regulations.
It is advisable to keep records for each audit, along with the action plan and follow-up activities. This information is useful when data must be presented or if you need to find out how compliant you are with a given standard or law.
Update your employees with any new rules that come into force in order to maintain your level of compliance with regulation over time. They must know how they can contribute to EHS issues as well as what steps to take should an incident occur at work.
Environmental Health and Safety Management Systems are increasingly important to both large corporations as well as SMEs. Fundamentally, everyone who works for the company gets involved so they all know what they have to do in specific situations. Training employees helps them understand procedures, their rights, and duties so it is a win-win solution not only because of the short-term benefits but also because of the long-term ones. These tips should be used by anyone responsible for this activity or someone who wants to implement an EHS Management System at his/her company.