Let’s face it; most business owners didn’t create their company or hire their first employee with EHS Compliance on their mind. In fact, many probably didn’t know what EHS Compliance was, until someone or something else abruptly brought it to their attention! But regardless of one’s intentions, EHS Compliance is very important not only to business owners and managers, but their employees, stakeholders, and regulatory bodies too.
But what exactly is EHS Compliance anyway, and why and what do we need to know about it?
EHS Compliance (Environmental, Health and Safety) is a blanket term that refers to all the laws, rules, regulations, procedures, programs, roles, policies and efforts put in place to help protect the safety and health of your team, the public, and the environment from workplace-related hazards and dangers. Sometimes you might also see it called HSE Compliance or even EHSQ, but they are all essentially the same thing.
EHS Compliance are the actions, activities, prohibitions and directives designed to reduce injuries, illnesses and contamination in the workplace and in the environment. Why do we need EHS Compliance? There are many examples of why, going back to the dawn of labor (ever busted your knuckles trying to shape a piece of flint into a spear tip or slice your finger open skinning a woolly mammoth?) but let’s look at a few instances where proper EHS Compliance could have really saved some lives, past and present.
The BP Deepwater Horizon explosion in 2010 killed 11 people instantly, and went on to become the biggest oil spill in history. The Bhopal Gas Leak in 1984 killed thousands of people when 45 tons of poison gas was released, and the 2018 Camp Fire was caused by faulty equipment, killing 85 people and burning over 153,000 thousand acres. These are some sensational examples of disaster, but going to work with ten fingers and coming home with 9 is a sensational disaster too, and that’s why EHS Compliance is so important.
So now that we understand why EHS Compliance is so important (to humans, animals, and the environment) how do those in EHS Compliance roles create, educate, and enforce the rules, regulations, laws, policies and procedures designed to keep us all safe?
EHS Compliance for a company or organization means more than just following the minimum set by the law to avoid fines or being shut down, it means embracing a culture that places the well being of humans, communities and the environment ahead of everything else. Companies who prioritize EHS Compliance may also experience greater employee satisfaction, higher productivity, stock prices, consumer ratings, and more.
An EHS Manager or individual in a similar role takes on the primary responsibility for making sure that the company or organization they represent is aware of, and successfully implementing and following all the rules and regulations that apply to their industry or area of practice. They take on (either alone or with a team or even an entire department) the assessment, mitigation, removal and prevention of workplace and environmental hazards, as well as the training, education, and the overall health of their company and workforce.
Everyone deserves the right to work, live and play in an environment that’s free of safety and health hazards, and that’s why EHS Compliance is so important. Not just to EHS managers, but to everyone.
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