Communicating in Crisis: Preparing the Public Information Officer

In Part Six of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” a checklist for the EHS professional provides insight into the information you might  be asked to provide in a crisis.

Depending on the magnitude of the crisis, the role of the EHS practitioner in many cases is not only to gather and report information but to anticipate what information will be asked Shot of two warehouse workers standing on stairs using a digital tablet and looking at paperwork.

The EHS practitioner likely will lead or be a big part of gathering data and producing information that will be used for communications with the public, media sources and officials affected by the crisis. In most organizations, there is a role defined as public information officer (PIO), and while various titles may be used organizationally, it is this person who serves as the public face for the organization.

The Role of the PIO

Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Emergency Response Planning, Preparation and Training

In Part Five of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains why you should not leave crisis planning to chance.

It’s not if but when a crisis event occurs at your facility, so make sure you have planned for it and employees are trained in emergency response.

How an organization handles emergency response during a crisis – and the communications of such events – cannot be left to chance. Planning, preparation and especially, training contribute to successfully managing emergency response. So, handle these in a way that benefits you as a practitioner and the organization you represent.  

Personally, and with few exceptions, I always was totally surprised when a crisis event happened. Some were small events, others quite large and complex, but most were very unexpected. Don’t think that a crisis event might happen, because at some point, such an event will occur. Prepare employees by providing emergency … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Government Agencies

In Part Four of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to know and understand regulations – local, state, and federal – that require reports to be filed following an emergency situation such as an environmental spill or employee injury.

Some emergency situations require reporting to local, regional or federal agencies, which may step in to coordinate a response.

There are no “hard and fast” rules for the EHS practitioner in reporting a crisis event to government agencies. So, know the regulations required by the specific agency that has jurisdiction over your operation.

For instance, in the United States, an environmental emergency is reportable to EPA when there’s a threat that reaches a threshold limit. Likewise, OSHA has similar protocols when fatal or specifically defined injuries occur.

Understand Reporting Requirements

It is vital that you understand the reporting requirements for all government … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: Employees

In Part Three of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains how important it is for EHS practitioners to be as honest and transparent as possible when communicating to employees about a crisis situation.

Unless employees are front row center as a crisis unfolds, it’s a safe bet that only versions of the truth are being shared with them by coworkers.

First and foremost, it is paramount during a crisis that the EHS practitioner and the management team be as upfront and honest as possible with employees. This does not mean the organization is admitting fault or taking the blame, but is communicating what is known as truth at the time the crisis is occurring. Unless employees were front row center as the crisis unfolded, it’s a safe bet that only versions of the truth are being shared with various fabrications of the facts crafting a new storyline as … Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: The Role of EHS in Managing Communication

In Part Two of the series “Communicating in Crisis,” Scott Gaddis explains the role of the EHS function in gathering information to help the organization make informed decisions as part of crisis management efforts. Read Part One, “Communicating in Crisis: The Role of the EHS Practitioner.”

The EHS function often plays a role in internal and external communication during crisis management.

The EHS practitioner is likely to work along several paths in dealing with and communicating in a crisis.  In an emergency, the practitioner has multiple audiences that will need to be informed including employees, senior management and government agencies. The media and the public also are a consideration, but usually with the idea of supporting that activity with data that will be shared externally by others.    

It is imperative to gather as much information as you can about what happened. Taking for granted that people have … Read more...

How AI Might Impact Sustainable Development Goals

How can the EHSQ community contribute to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals? One way is through strategic investment in AI. Find out the focus areas here.

In 2015, the United Nations established its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to “provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.” The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provide an actionable basis for participating countries to advance the SDGs through their local policies and initiatives. The 17 SDGs (that are associated with 169 more specific targets) are:

GOAL 1: No Poverty
GOAL 2: Zero Hunger
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 5: Gender Equality
GOAL 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
GOAL 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 10: Reduced Inequality
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities… Read more...

Communicating in Crisis: The Role of the EHS Practitioner

How you manage crisis events impacts their lasting effect on employees, the business, the community and your value as an EHS practitioner.

It’s a safe assumption that you will face a situation at some point, either manmade or natural, in which the need for effective crisis communication is likely.  

Crisis communication for the EHS practitioner is a necessary skill to master and should be part of your skills toolbox. Whether you are a staff-level specialist, leading a program or working within a defined incident command system, there is a need to be able to actively listen, gather and analyze information and deliver credible communications in high-stress situations. 

Granted, and I would venture a guess that this is true for most of us, there are organizational policies that dictate specifically who speaks in crisis and who does not. At least for me – and for most of my career it was … Read more...

Driving Next Level Safety Outcomes – Trends Oil & Gas Safety Professionals Need to Know About

New decade, new perspective. Do you know the five major trends forecasted to hit the Oil and Gas industry in 2020 and how they might affect you, your safety management system, and your company?

During the webinar “Driving Next Level Safety Outcomes – Trends Oil & Gas Safety Professionals Need to Know About,” Bobby Bourque of Industrial Scientific Corp. and I will discuss actions you can stay on top of these trends while future-proofing your safety initiatives and operational performance overall. We’ll also cover ways to protect your organization against any negative impacts the trends may pose and discuss how solutions from Intelex, Industrial Scientific, and Predictive Solutions can play a positive role in your safety management system. Whether you’re a seasoned safety professional or new to the job, we’ve designed the webinar for EHS professionals looking to stay ahead of the curve through technological adoption and intelligent management.

Although … Read more...

The Campbell Institute Releases Strategies for Injury and Fatality Prevention

Organizations that pursue strategies to eliminate serious injuries and fatalities have reached a level of maturity in their safety management systems that allows them to identify the most serious risks to workers.

The Campbell Institute, the global Center of EHS Excellence at the National Safety Council, has released a new white paper, Designing Strategy for Serious Injury and Fatality Prevention – the second in its series on this emerging safety trend. The report shares the perspectives of 11 Institute member and partner organizations on a variety of topics surrounding the development of their serious injury and fatality (SIF) prevention strategies and long-term goals, including metrics, tools, communication, and performance.

“We’re finding that organizations pursuing SIF prevention strategies have reached a level of maturity that goes beyond focusing on near misses and injuries to identifying the most severe risks,” said John Dony, director of the Campbell Institute. “Organizations working on SIF … Read more...

Streamlining Compliance: Using AI to Solve Pain Points in Your Regulatory Compliance Efforts

Artificial Intelligence doesn’t have to be scary or confusing. Find out how AI works behind the scenes to help update your database of regulations and permits in this webinar from Intelex Technologies and EHS Today.

Ever wonder why, if you click on an online ad, you suddenly start seeing ads for similar products? Or why, if you join a Facebook group, you suddenly start receiving suggestions of other groups you might want to join? The answer is artificial intelligence. It tracks our browsing habits – that’s what those “cookies” are for – and fuels the suggestions search engines and powerful online entities like Facebook and Amazon make for us.

AI in the Workplace

By 2035, it’s projected that the construction industry will see a profit increase of 71 percent by making use of artificial intelligence (AI) to streamline operations and increase precision. Neoteric, in “10 use cases of AI Read more...