What is EHS | Environmental Health & Safety

EHS Safety (Environmental Health and Safety) is an incredibly important discipline for modern businesses. This has also led to a proliferation of Environmental Health and Safety jobs. The concerns of an EHS expert aren’t strictly environmental but relate to the harm that could befall the environment, citizens, and the workforce. An Environmental Health and Safety degree will deal with regulations and requirements, with an Environmental Health and Safety Salary directly relative to experience, training, and certification.

Those who want to pursue a career in EHS have a multitude of options open for them. Most companies today have the need of an EHS expert. Regulations and environmental protections are advancing, and people are becoming steadily more aware that environmental health is the responsibility of everyone, not just a few. It’s in a company’s best interest to engage in regular environmental health and safety training, as well as to procure environmental health and safety certification for their professionals. There are many such certifications, ranging from broad to niche.

Companies today need to protect their employees and the public. This comes with reporting and deadline requirements, as well as increased responsibility in managing and maintaining the dangerous chemicals or hazardous substances they might use. In the past, companies weren’t necessarily required to report incidents or respond to them quickly; now companies have a vested interest in making sure that they have a comprehensive disaster plan.

As an EHS professional, an individual will go over the plans of companies, their manuals, and their reporting. EHS professionals will often use EHS software or spreadsheets to ensure that they are meeting deadlines and regulatory standards. And they will continue their education well into their career, as regulatory standards can change. Most EHS professionals will have a degree in something related to environmental health, occupational health or safety engineering.

EHS Meaning

The first step toward understanding EHS as a career involves understanding what is EHS and what is not EHS. The EHS definition is Environmental, Health, and Safety. These are three separate, but overlapping, important subjects. Meanwhile, HSE meaning is Health, Safety, and Environment. It’s the same, just with a separate emphasis. EHS training is going to cover:

  • Environmental. This relates to environmental protection but also regulatory compliance and notifications. Citizens need to be alerted when environmental issues occur, such as spills, because otherwise they could be impacted by chemical spills that they aren’t aware of. Companies need to protect the environment not only because of the environment itself but the potential impact on those who live in the environment. Environmental protections have improved considerably within the last few decades, which also means that companies have more responsibility and accountability than they ever had before.
  • Health. Occupational health is another category outside of general safety. Consider: Employees could be exposed to risks during the course of their work that cannot be removed. A construction worker might always have a certain amount of fall risk or potential damage to their hearing. Health requires that companies do as much as they can to reduce potential harm to their employees but that doesn’t mean they can reduce all risk. Because there will always be some risk, this is an even more complicated topic. Companies have to show that they are doing what they can to limit risk in inherently risky fields.
  • Safety. OSHA safety requirements play a huge part in the safety of an organization. An organization has to make sure employees are well-trained, that safety processes are engrained, that a culture of safety has been developed, and the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) has been provided. Further, safety isn’t just about the company’s employees, but also anyone who might visit the company’s premises. Safety itself is often the full-time task of an individual or a department. Departments also need to be able to effectively investigate any incidents that do occur and determine why they occurred. Otherwise, they can’t prevent incidents from happening again.

Of course, there’s some overlap in these categories of EHS safety, and that’s something any HSE definition will need to cover. Because these categories are broad, important, and overlapping, an EHS professional actually needs to undergo a significant amount of training. After training and education comes certification, and certifications can be required for advancement throughout the EHS professional’s career.

Companies wanting to manage their EHS need to invest in training, seminars, and technology. Periodic internal and external reviews can be used to ensure that the company is still meeting its EHS goals and companies need to be able to respond to incidents quickly. EHS software is becoming a popular way to make it easier for companies to manage their EHS requirements. Companies that aren’t dealing properly with their EHS requirements could find themselves experiencing significant fines, penalties, or lawsuits, or dealing with morale issues.

Some companies have their own EHS professionals while other companies might have outsourced their EHS. Outsourcing to a professional or to a management team can be easier for companies that don’t want to have to maintain their own internal issues of compliance; it can also be more cost-effective for small and mid-sized companies that cannot afford their own internal EHS departments.

EHS Safety Training

EHS safety training can be done in-person or online, with EHS training online being a common way to gain certificates and other EHS support. Training can involve training in a particular EHS management system or training in standard processes such as the RACI matrix.

The RACI matrix is a responsibility assignment chart that’s designed to map out every task, milestone, or key decision involved in completing a project. A RACI matrix example might have to do with writing a manual for continued EHS or conducting EH&S training. Responsibility assignment charts are incredibly important for the purposes of accountability. When someone knows they are responsible for something they are far less likely to forget about it, and when everyone else knows about it they can hold them responsible as well.

Companies may engage with an EHS company for training and use something like a VelocityEHS login (or other solution login) to train employees online. EHS training can be directly for EHS professionals trying to manage the company, as well as general-purpose training for employees who need to learn more about their own responsibilities. Personnel who are working with hazardous chemicals need some level of EHS training, for example, even if they aren’t responsible for or a part of the company’s EHS department.

EHS systems and training contribute to an environment of safety and protection. Ultimately, companies need to be able to build their company culture toward caring about these elements, as this is what informs employees regarding what they should actually do. Though a company may have comprehensive processes in place regarding what employees should do in certain situations, they aren’t going to be able to follow these processes if they feel rushed or if they feel that it doesn’t really matter to their supervisors.

EHS safety training should be conducted both when companies first onboard employees and periodically, as a refresher. If companies don’t continue to conduct their safety training, employees will fall behind on key regulations and changes. The more current and up-to-date the company is, the less likely it is to fall behind on things like deadlines and documents. An EHS software system will also make it far easier for employees to maintain and track their compliance requirements.

It’s not possible to ensure that every company is completely devoid of risk or that incidents never occur. Instead, EHS targets making sure that people are prepared, while also reducing risk. If companies are able to better prepare for the potential for a risk (and work with other government agencies to prepare as well), they are also able to better protect the environment and people around from potential danger.

Environmental Health and Safety Course

How do companies advance their employees along the health and safety track? Health and safety guidelines can be updated regularly through an Environmental Health and Safety PDF, EHS training courses, or an EHS training program. Velocity EHS training can be used for those who need to go through training online and an EHS training can further help employees maintain their knowledge and advance it. Organizations should also maintain their own EHS roles and responsibilities matrix.

What is EHS disease management? What are EHS professionals really responsible for? It usually depends on the EHS officer roles and responsibilities, their position within the organization, and the risks the organization itself has. EHS programs examples can be quite niche, dealing with more advanced programs and processes. Companies needing to learn more can use EHS support phone centers, look for EHS training near me, get an EHS training certificate for employees, or look up other EHS training topics.

To begin, there’s free EHS training online for simple things, such as “What is EHS policy?” Companies can learn more about EHS and make sure that their professionals are relatively well caught up. But to advance further, there are paid certifications. Some certificates are fairly involved. Entry-level EHS certificates may only cost a few hundred dollars and be a hundred questions long. But they are aimed at making sure that an individual or associate has basic EHS knowledge. Other certificates will require that the EHS professional have up to a decade of knowledge within the industry.

It’s always in a company’s best interest to continue their EHS training and ensure that their EHS professionals are keeping up to date on their knowledge. Some of these can provide EHS insight or allow for EHS processes to develop.

But the environmental health and safety courses aren’t one-size-fits-all. Companies need to look into exactly what they need to train their employees. Sometimes they may need to train them on specific chemicals that they’re using, but other times they may need to train them on more advanced regulatory and compliance measures.

EHS training programs are varied, but there are some that can be engaged with online for free for companies that want to learn more. Some companies may want to outsource their EHS management, while others may want to invest in sophisticated EHS solutions to forego any of the traditional complexities. For companies that are looking to now develop their EHS programs and want to learn more, they can look at the EHS manuals and other information provided. EHS manuals can be used as the basis to create other information, and companies can look toward the EHS processes in other businesses to find out more about what they should be doing to be responsible and in compliance.

Otherwise, companies will need to connect with their local government to find out more about their reporting and training requirements. Some EHS programs connect directly to government agencies for the purpose of reporting, and these EHS programs are far more effective at helping organizations maintain their compliance. Other EHS programs simply manage EHS documentation, manuals, and processes, so companies are able to successfully grow.

If you’re interested in how Encamp helps EHS managers deliver consistent processes and first-rate compliance programs, request a demo.

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