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...

A Checklist for the 10 Leading Indicators That Predict Employee Safety Engagement

Employee engagement in safety can be a predictor of employee engagement in the success of the organization as a whole.

Safety, regardless if you are the CEO or the newest hire, is almost always a shared value. Increasing workers’ level of engagement with safety practices is a key goal of many organizations. Employee engagement in safety can be a predictor of employee engagement in the success of the organization as a whole and a leading indicator of a solid safety management system.

From an organizational business perspective, workplace safety is a common area where transformational change is best realized using human capital. Safety is the part of the management system for which it is easiest to gain “buy-in” from workers and the management team.

Increasing engagement—like building culture—is easier said than done. Competing priorities, such as challenging production goals, unforgiving supply chain schedules, and other factors tied directly to the … Read more...

Business Continuity in the Time of Coronavirus

Employers are encouraged to develop a business continuity plan to survive the Coronavirus outbreak.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has released a guidance for employers to help them protect employees and provide business continuity for their organization. All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from the Coronavirus to ensure business continuity.

As with all illnesses, employees diagnosed with Coronavirus should stay home and away from the workplace. While at the workplace or home, it is important to use cough and sneeze etiquette. Encourage employees to frequently clean hands with soap and water, and routinely clean commonly touched surfaces.

The guidance is based on the latest information from the CDC and offers this advice in advance of diagnosed cases:

Is Flex Working an Option?

Review human resources policies. Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours.

Remind employees that if they become sick, they should telework instead of coming into … Read more...

What Is EHS Compliance?

EHS compliance becomes more important as companies expand global operations.

EHS compliance refers to the environment, health and safety (EHS) regulations and workplace procedures that are designed to protect workers, the environment, the public, and production. 

Businesses that operate globally must contend with regulations that are unique to every jurisdiction, and the regulations for each jurisdiction can be extremely complex. Some businesses are responsible for complying with regulations in several or many jurisdictions, which adds to the workload of EHS teams that already are stretched thin.

EHS Compliance Part of OPEX

For many companies, EHS compliance is an aspect of operational excellence, and it is an important component if you want to operate a safe and productive business. Managing EHS for multiple facilities, in multiple countries and across multiple functions can be a daunting task. Often, compliance must be achieved without a lot of resources.

Failure to comply with EHS laws not only can lead to devastating injuries and business … 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...

Coronavirus: Will It Cause Workplace Distraction?

Mention the word Coronavirus, and an unsettling knot grows in your stomach. It is sweeping across the globe with great voracity.  Every newspaper headline screams it. Every television news program I’ve watched over the last month leads with it.  

While we can’t dismiss Coronavirus as a medical concern, what is it doing to the mental health of workers?  As a safety practitioner, I’m concerned about how much distraction this creates in the workplace. This especially is true in those work environments where an absolute focus on work tasks separates staying safe or becoming a tragic loss statistic.

Don’t allow workers to become so distracted by the latest news about Coronavirus that they become so distracted that they commit unsafe acts.

My Experience

Years ago, I worked in a paper mill that was progressive in the care for its people. You knew you were driving into a different type of manufacturing plant when you passed signage in the parking lot with the company name … Read more...

You Need More than Compliance to Achieve Operational Excellence in Quality

Since its introduction in 1987, ISO 9001 for Quality Management Systems (QMS) has become the most popular standard in the world. The latest iteration, ISO 9001:2015, outlines a framework for improving quality and a vocabulary of understanding for any organization looking to provide products and services that consistently meet the requirements and expectations of customers and other relevant interested parties in the most efficient manner possible. It incorporates principles such as customer focus, process orientation, data-driven decision making, and systematic risk management to help organizations improve their operations across all areas. As a result, many organizations report reduced costs and improved quality and productivity after an ISO 9001:2015 implementation. 

However, not every ISO 9001:2015 implementation brings success. For some organizations, the time and effort dedicated to certifying to ISO 9001:2015 produce nothing but disappointing results such as increased costs, more bureaucracy, and even business failure. If ISO 9001:2015 is so … Read more...

GDPR Consent: Legally Managing Data about EU Citizens

If you collect data in the European Union, you’re well aware of GDPR and potential for steep fines if you are not compliant. Find out which consent rules are key.

It’s been well over a year since the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect. Proposed in 2012, the regulations were approved in 2016 to provide consistency between data privacy and protection regulations across EU member nations.

The cornerstone of GDPR is consent: information about a person belongs to that person. If your organization is collecting data thatin any way relates to a citizen of the EU, that person should be informed about how you plan to use that information and kept informed as your organization’s data management strategy evolves. It doesn’t matter where the individual is located — universities who have even one student who is a citizen of the EU must also comply.… Read more...