Environmental health and safety (EHS) regulations compliance is important to many companies and organizations around the country. These rules and regulations were devised to keep employees safe while they are at work and to make sure companies and organizations do everything they can to not hurt the environment. According to research, as many as 45% of workers would like to have the chance to give feedback and help shape their employer’s EHS policies and compliance. Many have turned to inspection software to help with compliance. There are other things your company can do to ensure you are in compliance.
- Know the regulations. It is nearly impossible to comply with rules and regulations if you do not have a clear understanding of what they are. In a similar vein, you cannot follow the speed limit if you do not know what that is. This may sound like it is a given but many organizations do not take the time to really understand what is expected of them. There should be more than one person at the organization who knows what regulations apply to the company. Most companies and organizations today make their staffs multitask and handle more than one job function. That is ok and may be necessary but there needs to be some redundancy in the EHS compliance system. While using inspection software can help, nothing can replace human understanding of the process and the rules. This is not the time to pay lip service to compliance.
- Collaboration, not competition, is the key to compliance. Having one person in charge of EHS compliance management is not the way things can be done. There was a time when that was the case and it made the most sense. That day is long gone. The best way to make sure your are not just relying on inspection software to ensure compliance, is to develop a process by which all of the departments and levels of your company are involved in EHS compliance. Having clear definitions of work roles and making sure everyone is clear on who is responsible for what will make this process a lot smoother and easier to manage. This includes the creation of a clear chain of command that everyone understands. It is also crucially important that departments communicate with each other. Information is not a commodity to hoard but a common asset to be shared.
- Take advantage of technology. Many companies rely on inspection software packages that are outdated and not effective. If your firm relies on Word and Excel, you need to reevaluate your software options. There have been a number of advancements in the area of EHS compliance software and EHS mobile software. These applications make it possible to compile the data and to manage the compliance system. These can make the entire process a lot more manageable.
- Make training available and mandatory. This is one reason many companies do not upgrade their software systems. They are concerned that it will be too hard to train their people to use the new applications. It is essential to do this however. The good news is that many companies who make the software will provide training. In addition to that, these software packages are becoming more and more user friendly. After the training, there need to be refresher courses and ways to tell that the staff is using the software correctly.
- Evaluate your EHS compliance system. If you are interested in improving your EHS compliance program, you have to know how good it is to begin with. When many companies want to improve overall, they do what is called a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of their business. Before you embark on making improvements to you EHS compliance programs, you need to do something similar to your compliance system. A big part of that will be to thoroughly and honestly with your processes and evaluate the results you get from the internal audits that you conduct. Unless you are willing to do that, you will never be able to improve your EHS compliance.
EHS compliance is very important for many organizations. It is possible to improve and enhance your process and system for such compliance. These tips offer a start.