EHS is an acronym for Environment, Health, and Safety, and it is a system that many companies implement to promote the safety of their workers, the general public, and the local environment. It involves a variety of regulations and processes that ultimately ensure there are no negative consequences resulting from a company’s day-to-day operations: no workers are injured on the job, hazardous materials and emissions are controlled to prevent air, land, or water contamination, and the wellness of the local community is preserved. Depending on the business, the acronym for their EHS program may come in variations such as SHE or HSE.
An EHS program is an integral aspect to a company’s reputation and performance, as it concerns both the company’s local and global role. Communication is emphasized since it requires a company to be honest about their day-to-day operations and how these may have an impact. EHS encompasses a variety of occupational factors, including:
- Waste management
- Water and energy conservation
- The transportation and management of hazardous material
- Traffic safety
- Emergency preparedness and response
- Disease prevention
- How onsite hazards are addressed, reduced, and eliminated
- Extensive training procedures
- The availability and use of personal protective equipment
EHS programs are typically developed and supervised by EHS managers, who are responsible for safety training, risk management, and ensuring regulatory compliance. These managers should be familiar with applicable safety regulations and able to determine which standards apply to their business. There are a variety of requirements that may be relevant; EHS adheres to regulations established by agencies such as OSHA, the EPA, the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), and others, including local authorities such as the fire department.
EHS managers also conduct safety meetings such as toolbox talks and regularly remind workers of established EHS procedures and policies. On top of all this, EHS managers need to maintain records on training and identify the areas that need improvement so they can make informed decisions about their company’s overall safety program. By implementing an EHS strategy, companies can ensure a positive reputation as they work to protect the health and safety of workers, bystanders, and the environment.
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