For Success: Avoid Pitfalls, Ask Questions, Follow These Steps, Says EHS Management Report

by | Oct 24, 2017

When EHS management is completely integrated within a company’s strategy and operations, it plays a crucial role in running the business successfully – but that level of maturity is one that few companies have yet to reach. In general, most organizations are still at a relatively low to moderate level of maturity, says Peter Bussey, research analyst with LNS Research.

Improving EHS management can improve excellence, create better shareholder value, and increase profits. But while companies generally do a good job of defining their EHS management systems and programs, and the standards they want to meet, there are still several main hurdles to effectively operationalizing EHS management systems, according to a new special report from Environmental Leader, EHS Management: A Look Forward to 2018.

One common frustration EHS managers face, says Bussey, is that of executive indecision. When leaders struggle to make decisions about EHS solutions and actually stick with them, that constant reopening adds costs and extends time required for implementations. Other challenges include software system integration, straining IT resources, and the challenges inherent in DIY installations. These EHS challenges, along with tactics for overcoming them, are detailed in the report.

EHS Management Struggles

Siloed information is the blindfold that many organizations struggle to pull from their faces when it comes to implementing a solid EHS management program, according to the report. For EHS performance, those silos result in disconnected processes, lack of visibility and control, and not having the right information at the right time.

Say, for example, that a company’s engineering department making a change in the materials used in a production process. Unless that change goes through a cross-functional review process, new risks could be introduced without the awareness of the plant operations, maintenance, and EHS teams. In that scenario, the change alters the risk profile for the company. Without an end-to-end process to manage changes and evaluate risks in a closed loop, opportunities for applying corrective and preventative actions get missed.

Another main challenge is inconsistent execution of the EHS management system that defines what the company wants to do. At a strategic level, that could mean a lack of executive sponsorship to undertake a technology improvement initiative. Without a strong executive sponsor, those efforts tend to die on the vine.

Avoiding Pitfalls

A mature EHS management program means improved operations and reduced risk, but getting there can be tricky. The report details common mistakes to avoid such as (to name just a few):

  • automating a flawed process;
  • ignoring the right stakeholders;
  • focusing too exclusively on user-friendliness.

By avoiding pitfalls such as these, a company’s EHS management program rollout is likelier to meet with success, according to the report.

Complex, Challenging, and Necessary 

While EHS management can be daunting, complex and challenging, the opportunities that present themselves with a successful implementation are vast. The days of environment, health and safety management being synonymous with “compliance cop” are long gone. As organizations reach a high level of maturity with their systems, companies will begin to see greater operational excellence, better shareholder value, and increased profits.

Download the Environmental Leader report EHS Management: A Look Forward to 2018.

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