TechDogs-"A Beginner’s Guide To Environment, Health And Safety"

Human Resource Technology

A Beginner’s Guide To Environment, Health And Safety

By TechDogs

TechDogs
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Overview

We bet you have seen wacky videos of workplace accidents where an employee leans against a rack in the warehouse and inadvertently topples it, or maybe a fast-food server who forgets to turn off the ice cream dispenser after serving a customer. You know, the ones that go viral on social media. Although they can sometimes be funny, these videos show a massive oversight. Naturally, a team or department needs to oversee everyday processes and ensure such accidents don’t happen in the workplace – can you guess who that is?

Such oversight can be above attributed directly to EHS – which stands for Environment, Health And Safety in the context of a workplace. It refers to the study and implementation of guidelines to secure the work environment and maintain the health and safety of workers. What exactly does that entail and how does EHS work? Read on to know all about it!
TechDogs-"A Beginner’s Guide To Environment, Health And Safety" Are You EHS-Friendly Yet?
Environment, Health And Safety, or simply EHS, is a set of initiatives that are deployed to comply with safety regulations and industry standards as well as to improve the environmental policies of the business. EHS ensures employees have a safe and healthy workplace that promotes higher effectiveness, productivity and output. EHS can be thought of in practical terms as a set of process guidelines, rules, standards, laws and regulations that protect the business environment and its employees from any risk. The three components are:

“E” indicates the regulations and guidelines designed to protect the workplace environment.

“S” refers to regulations and guidelines that aim to protect the safety of employees in the workplace.

“H” refers to regulations and guidelines aimed at maintaining the health of employees in the workplace.

Yet, the concept of EHS is much more complex than it seems. So, let’s explore all about the concept of Environment, Health And Safety (EHS) in detail!
 

What Does Environment, Health And Safety Really Mean?


We’re sure you have read your employment contract. Do you remember reading a section about workplace safety outlining the dos and don’ts on the office premises? Or maybe a clause about how the business ensures workplace safety through hi-vis vests and regular maintenance of all machinery. That’s all part of the work undertaken under EHS policies. If your contract doesn't have any such clauses, you may need a refresher on Environment, Health And Safety! #JustInCase

Well, EHS is a term that includes the laws, rules, regulations, programs, policies and other workplace efforts aimed at protecting the health and safety of employees in a workplace. The primary goal is to protect all stakeholders, including the public that interacts with the business, from hazards by securing the workplace environment as well as the health and safety of workers. Sometimes you may see "Q" being added to reflect that the quality of the workplace is up to certain standards (EHSQ). However, for the longest time, we did not even have EHS, let alone the debate about the Q!

TechDogs-"What Does Environment, Health And Safety Really Mean?"A GIF Showing A Man Operating An Ice-Cream Machine
So, make sure you’ve turned off the ice cream dispenser and check out how it all came about!
 

Evolution And Origins Of Environment, Health And Safety


In the United States, the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other local regulatory systems in the 1970s kicked off the concept. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was one of the driving forces behind the focus on the health and safety of workers in the workplace. Hence, the foundation for the idea of "EHS" was laid in the early 1970s.

In the early 1990s, the position of a “health and safety manager” became more prominent. The National Association of Environmental Management (NAEM) also claims that businesses had started combining various disciplines as a result of technological advancements in this era. As a result, there were no longer any organizational silos between the health and safety of workers and the strategic business plan. Procedures were soon developed keeping in mind these initiatives and policies. This change spread throughout the company, covering operations and personnel alike.

Later, formal techniques to regulate Health and Safety management, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS 18001), came into being. By the 2000s, there was an increased awareness of global warming and climate change. This led to a higher focus on corporate sustainability and compliance with environmental laws. As a result, several businesses intertwined their environmental efforts with the existing health and safety initiatives. This led to the emergence of the full-fledged EHS initiative we see today.

So, what exactly does EHS aim to achieve?
 

What Are The Effects Of Implementing Environment, Health And Safety?


Management teams should be able to look at the bigger picture of challenges and risks within their organization. Looking through the lens of EHS allows businesses and decision-makers to do this.

Compliance is a fundamental aspect of any business. No matter whether its sales or R&D is class-apart, they have to be compliant to stay operational. Staying compliant with industry guidelines and laws through EHS helps them avoid costly fines and reduce workplace accidents through constant vigilance. Moreover, through compliance and vigilance, decision-makers can better identify, mitigate and manage risks within the organization.

Having a robust EHS policy in place allows teams to regularly review their operational data and identify areas of improvement. This allows them to develop new EHS initiatives that are more in line with the existing risks and challenges to their workforce. Naturally, this can boost the efficiency of workers and reduce friction points within the work environment. For example, if your forklift operators keep dropping the payload, EHS teams may be able to identify if the payload needs more packing material or if the operators need better training. (We hope it wasn’t fragile cargo!)

When EHS becomes an integral part of the company’s strategy, management teams can influence processes, procedures and personnel to improve their efficiency while ensuring compliance and quality. Above all, EHS managers are key in engaging employees with EHS policies, training and communication. Without EHS, workplace risks and challenges cannot be addressed in a timely and effective manner. You can bet this comes with a bunch of benefits!
 

Benefits Of Environment, Health And Safety


TechDogs-"Benefits Of Environment, Health And Safety" A GIF Of A Workplace Accident
For starters, that will never happen if you have the right EHS guidelines in place!

Businesses that develop a relevant, all-encompassing EHS policy will see many advantages, including:
 
  • Improved Business Bottomline

    Failure to follow industry regulations can result in fines or higher compensation for unsafe employment conditions. EHS gives businesses the incentive to review workplace and employee health standards and improve on them. This enables them to save money and reduce financial business risks. Additionally, the cost of repair and reparation is lower when accidents are less frequent.

  • Enhances And Protects The Company's Standing

    The public is more aware and sensitive to the sustainability and EHS-related standards of businesses, thanks to the Internet and social media. Hence, businesses with subpar EHS standards risk having their reputations irreparably harmed by online criticism. EHS enables them to showcase the company's efforts toward workplace safety and workforce health, protecting the company's reputation.

  • Assists In Recruiting And Retention Of Employees

    Employees are also more environmentally conscientious today and expect their employers to follow suit. Companies can demonstrate their dedication to the environment and their employees’ safety by implementing EHS policies. This also serves as a powerful incentive to retain and hire top talent.


Although most businesses deploy EHS in some way or form, even smaller businesses will get the need to get in on it soon. The future of work will see employees demand better EHS policies from employers. Let’s hop into the time machine and see what the future holds for EHS.
 

What’s The Future Of EHS?


TechDogs-"What’s The Future Of EHS?"A Meme Showing An EHS Meme
Well, here’s a quick look at the future of EHS, since you missed the meeting, Dennis!

With changing workplace dynamics, such as the introduction of hybrid work culture, EHS will also need to evolve and change. EHS must be a dynamic concept. The responsibilities of EHS managers will need to adapt to future demands. This change will happen on two fronts:

Technological Change: Technology will give businesses the right tools they need to improve operations and secure the workplace. It will be necessary to modify EHS policies and procedures as a result of disruptive innovations in EHS technologies. For instance, EHS teams will need to ensure that wearables used to track employees' health and safety must not collect personal information.

Focus On Employees: To make the business sustainable, focusing on the employee’s mental and physical health will be increasingly important. This will lead to changes in the organizational strategies, budget allocation, etc. to create not only a safe workplace but a happy workforce.
We believe that EHS is no longer optional and soon, every business will have a dedicated EHS team which will lead to improved working conditions across teams and designations. We’re all in for this change!
 

Conclusion


Environment, Health And Safety are the core pillars of how a business manages its processes and personnel. A robust EHS policy will only lead to higher effectiveness, lower operational costs, streamlined processes and a satisfied workforce. Who can deny the power of EHS?

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Environment, Health And Safety Really Mean?

 

Environment, Health And Safety (EHS) encompasses a comprehensive set of laws, regulations, programs, and policies aimed at safeguarding the health and safety of employees within a workplace. These initiatives ensure compliance with industry standards and legal requirements while striving to create a secure and healthy work environment. EHS efforts not only protect employees but also extend to the broader community, emphasizing the importance of workplace safety and environmental responsibility.

How Did Environment, Health And Safety Evolve?

 

The origins of Environment, Health And Safety (EHS) trace back to the 1970s in the United States, with the establishment of regulatory bodies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Over time, EHS evolved in response to technological advancements and growing awareness of environmental issues. By the early 1990s, businesses began integrating various disciplines to address health, safety, and environmental concerns more holistically. Formal standards such as the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series (OHSAS 18001) further solidified EHS practices, leading to the integration of environmental sustainability efforts into organizational strategies.

What Are The Effects Of Implementing Environment, Health And Safety?

 

Implementing Environment, Health And Safety (EHS) initiatives yields numerous benefits for businesses and their stakeholders. Compliance with EHS regulations ensures legal adherence, minimizing the risk of costly fines and workplace accidents. Additionally, EHS facilitates continuous improvement by enabling organizations to identify and mitigate risks through data analysis and operational reviews. Enhanced efficiency, reduced friction points, and improved employee engagement are byproducts of robust EHS policies. Moreover, EHS initiatives safeguard a company's reputation, enhance its standing in the eyes of the public, and contribute to employee recruitment and retention efforts. Ultimately, EHS serves as a cornerstone for sustainable business practices, aligning organizational goals with societal and environmental responsibilities.

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EHS Employee Health And Safety Health And Safety EHS Workplace Health And Safety Employee Safety Safe Workplace Environment

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