Managing environmental health and safety regulations and compliance with standards is a critical and multifaceted job. It’s no longer practical to manually keep track of everything associated with an EH&S management system. Technological advancements have made it possible to centralize data, automate assignments, generate reports and streamline the entire process. EH&S software can help free up valuable time and provide a more accurate snapshot of a company’s status.
Environmental Health and Safety
Ensuring the health and safety of employees and making environmental protection a top priority has become a major concern for most organizations. Companies are required by law to comply with the health and safety standards set by OSHA and other international standards boards. Additionally, many are also required to comply with environmental preservation regulations . Today many companies are choosing to be as committed to environmental responsibility as they are to providing quality products and services. Maintaining EH&S best practices is important because it improves brand image and reputation while keeping risks and liabilities under control. To simplify these tasks and stay organized many companies establish a department responsible for managing them and often choose to implement an EH&S management system.
EH&S Management Systems
An EH&S management system is an implemented procedure for achieving a desired level of environmental health and safety performance. Mandatory compliance with legal standards for EH&S means that a company must have adequate measures in place to prove they practice safe, environmentally friendly, and sustainable procedures. Implementing a management system that addresses the issues surrounding EH&S can help companies to comply with the legal standards. An EH&S management system can also help minimize employee risk, better handle any incidents that occur, and improve reliability. Based around a continuous improvement model, these management systems can benefit any organization, ensuring it’s always addressing new challenges and constantly progressing in EH&S.
Common EH&S Management Challenges
There are many different challenges that accompany EH&S management because there are so many components and uncontrollable factors that come into play:
- Monitoring and ensuring compliance to EH&S regulations across the board becomes extremely difficult when the use of multiple different suppliers, who in turn have suppliers of their own, has become the norm for most businesses, especially for manufacturing companies.
- Regulations may be frequently updated and changed and keeping track of these changes and implementing them can be demanding and time consuming for organizations.
- Managing sudden changes within the industry, such as product variations and shifting suppliers, can create challenges when trying to find solutions that still comply with EH&S regulations.
Maintaining sustainability while complying with regulations is not easy to do. However, it is important for organizations to keep track of these challenges if they want to uphold a good reputation and reduce risk.
How to Approach EH&S Management
Nearly all EH&S management systems are made up of multiple different systems that are managed together via a larger framework. This is because EH&S is a major component of how a business is operated and there are a lot of different regulations that must be addressed within the system. Typically, both the individual systems and the framework are built around the Plan-Do-Check-Act methodology. This method of developing a management system promotes the idea of continuous improvement within the company’s processes. The Plan-Do-Check-Act procedure works as followed:
- Plan: identify the problems and generate objectives to solve them
- Do: develop and test a potential solution
- Check: Determine how effective the test solution was and consider ways to improve it
- Act: Apply the improved solution entirely
Applying the PDCA method allows you to ensure that a potential solution will be effective and make improvements to it if need be. Using PDCA makes implementing an EH&S system more manageable while simplifying the process of maintaining the effective solutions.
How to Manage Competencies and Risk
Keeping track of your employee’s competencies and skills is an important part of risk management because it helps you see who is capable of preforming certain tasks in safe and effective ways. This can be a difficult job when dealing with many individuals across multiple departments. It’s not uncommon for organizations to use things like spreadsheets and paper certifications to keep track of this information. These systems are outdated and can be disorganized, further complicating the process. It has become increasingly clear that there is a need for greater organization, efficiency, and a more progressive approach.
In order to stay organized and keep current with the changing business world many companies are now opting to use software designed specifically for EH&S and regulated industries. While these tools can be extremely useful, for companies on the smaller side of the scale, purchasing and implementing an expensive EH&S software tool might not be economical. Luckily there are other, more affordable options emerging that address these challenges and more while keeping costs low.
Benefits of Software
Using software to keep track of your company’s employees and manage their individual competencies, training’s, and documents will help automate and organize the process. Transitioning from the outdated methods of paper and spreadsheets to an entirely online system provides countless benefits, such as:
- Reducing cost, time, and effort associated with older methods
- Reducing the risk of an insufficient or incomplete management system
- Proving and maintaining the competencies of employees
- Facilitating compliance with regulations
- Measuring progress within your organization
- Standardizing requirements and nomenclature
- Maintaining records and documentation
Implementing a software system to keep track of your EH&S management system will make the process of setting it up easier, reduce stress when adapting, and improve risk management as it allows you to take a preventative stance rather than a reactive one.
CABEM’s Competency Manager
The Competency Manager can be used to standardize requirements, nomenclature and implementation company wide. One of its key functions is to facilitate the management and implementation of regulated systems and assist with an audit.
For the employee, CABEM’s Competency Manager allows users to see their status and satisfy requirements for their assigned competencies and roles. For the Manager or SME, the Competency Manager allows them to assign and approve requirements, post documentation using the document manager, and see status by individual, roles, team and the organization at large. All of these functions and more are put in place to help organizations pass audits and assure compliance. Having all of the necessary documentation and data in the software makes this job easier for auditors as well as the companies themselves. In addition, the Competency Manager is equipped with a robust Risk Management tool that enables Administrators to assign risks and a risk priority number based on the company’s own parameters.