What is EH&S and What Does It Mean?
EHS focuses on occupational safety and harmful environmental releases.
EHS or EH&S can refer to laws, regulations, programs, and other efforts done by employers to protect the environment and their employees from workplace hazards. It includes the development and implementation of health and safety policies as well as compliance with federal regulations such as OSHA. The main purpose of EH&S is to prevent workplace injuries and fatalities as well as harmful environmental releases.
What Does EHS Stand For in EHS?
EH&S stands for Environment, Health, and Safety.
- E: Managing environmental waste, releases, and spills as well as reducing carbon footprint.
- H&S: Creating measures to address workplace health and safety issues such as air quality, hazardous materials, hazardous noise, hazardous equipment, and others.
The Environmental part is regulated individually by an environmental agency while Health & Safety are often managed together by a single agency.
Other Variations: EHS, HSE, SHE, EHSQ…
EHS can come in different variations depending on the country. Some call it ESH, SHE, or HSE but all of these are the same. Some variations even include Q (Quality) to make it EHSQ.
Keep reading to know more about the importance of EH&S and how it can benefit your company.
Environmental Health and Safety Standards
Every company has a set of rules and regulations regarding EHS that they must meet at all times. Even for small businesses without much industrialization, there is likely a large folder’s worth of standards and expectations set by various government entities, like the US Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
But, the two major agencies that mandate environmental health and safety are OSHA and EPA:
- OSHA: Requires employers to train employees on how to handle and deal with hazardous materials as well as provide a safe workplace.
- EPA: EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulates the proper management and cleanup of hazardous and solid waste.
Take note that there may be other local and state laws that govern EHS which businesses must follow to avoid penalties.
Importance of Meeting EHS Standards: Why Is EHS Important & How Can Your Company Benefit From It?
You need to be sure that your company meets EHS standards and that your managers and employees know why, so there is a clear culture in your organization to uphold them diligently.
It is important to know about and meet EHS standards because:
1. It Saves Lives
- Being EHS compliant means you are taking the steps needed to help protect your employees, management team, third-party vendors, and anyone else who interacts with your business. Plus, employers are responsible for creating a safe workplace to protect their employees from hazards.
- EHS rules promote health and safety, of course, so falling short on this can lead to health and safety risks, legal liabilities, and in some cases even fatalities.
2. It Saves Money
- A company that does not comply with EHS standards is going to be in hot water if an inspection is carried out by OSHA or another regulatory agency. The fines for failing to meet a safety standard or environmental code can be substantial, ranging into the millions depending on the size of your company, the extent of the harm or possible harm caused by the standards lapse, and the violation in question.
- A solid EHS management program also saves money by reducing worker lost time, workers’ compensation insurance, and other savings related to risk management.
- In addition, the overall employee and customer perception of a great EHS track record can lead to increased business. Together, this represents a great long-term return on investment.
3. It Helps Build Your Company’s Reputation
- Complying with EHS standards allows you to perform business in an environmentally friendly manner especially if you are in the manufacturing industry. This helps in improving your company’s reputation as many consumers are now becoming more environmentally conscious.
In addition, EHS can help save lives and money through the following:
- Identifying workplace or environmental hazards
- Ensuring compliance with local, state, and federal EHS laws and regulations
- Providing employee training on how to deal with hazards
- Developing an effective EHS program
EHS Management: What Are EHS Programs?
Companies should have the means to manage and improve their EHS performance. This is through EHS management programs which aim to identify and remove or reduce workplace and environmental hazards. They also help ensure that your company is following the best EHS practices.
Since managing EHS is a challenging task, businesses often hire third-party EHS consultants or specialists. These professionals help companies develop effective programs that are customized to meet their specific needs. Businesses also often designate a separate department to handle all operations concerning EHS where they can hire EHS managers and other professionals.
What Do EHS Professionals or Managers Do?
Below are among the many duties of Environmental Health & Safety managers:
- Identifying and analyzing EHS hazards and risks
- Doing worksite inspections
- Developing and implementing EHS management programs
- Developing H&S procedures for various areas of the company
- Implementing controls to address workplace hazards
- Scheduling employee trainings to improve workplace safety
- Ensuring EH&S regulatory compliance
- Creating inspection reports
- Managing records of employee exposure to hazards
- Taking EH&S Into Consideration During Renovation Work
- Environmental Compliance Audits: What Are They & How Are They Conducted?
- Safety Audits & Remediation: Everything You Need to Know about EHS Auditing
EHS or EH&S means Environment, Health, & Safety and is used to refer to various regulations and programs that aim to protect workers and the environment from hazards.
EHS includes developing a management program to improve the company’s EHS performance. It covers the following:
– Identifying and mitigating workplace hazards
– Providing employee training on how to deal with workplace hazards properly
– Reducing the company’s carbon footprint
An EHS hazard refers to anything that endangers workers and the environment. Some EHS hazards include the following:
– Biological hazards
– Physical hazards
– Chemical hazardsRadiological hazards
– Chemical hazards
– Air contaminants
– Heavy metals
– Toxic waste
Hiring RPF Environmental for Comprehensive EHS Training Tailored for Your Business
Across New England, RPF Environmental provides environmental testing and consulting services to companies in a number of industries. For more than 25 years, we have been working with executives, managers, supervisors, and employees alike to help ensure companies are meeting industry standards and government regulations. Throughout the years, we have seen, again and again, a common concern among numerous companies: a general misunderstanding of the importance of environment, health, and safety (EHS) standards and training.
RPF Environmental is all about empowering through consultations with our ABIH Certified Industrial Hygiene and Certified Safety Professionals, along with a wide range of EHS training and certification programs. If you are worried your business might not live up to EHS standards, you can call on us to help with an inspection of your properties, work processes, and related safety records.