How Technology is Improving Workplace Safety

There’s a digital revolution underway in EHS, and it’s helping make workplaces the safest they’ve ever been. Safety professionals today are being asked to not only protect their employees, but also their company’s bottom line.

To improve safety capabilities in all areas, safety leaders are increasingly turning to digital technologies.

A new e-book offers suggestions on how to discover and measure the value of EHS technologies, how to manage their implementation, and how to gain buy-in both from senior management and the employees who will be using and benefiting from the technology.

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Tackling the Evolution of Your EHS Program

It can be hard to step away from the day-to-day demands of managing an EHS program and take a critical look at what needs to evolve. Often, the people, business and goals of the organization evolve while safety processes remain the same.

Identifying areas for improvement can include leveraging leading and lagging metrics, getting stakeholder and employee feedback, or learning from peers.

Once opportunities for improvement are identified, a structured process to make those changes is required. This will require securing stakeholder improvement for the new ideas, initiatives and tools.

Want to learn more? Access our free webinar to listen to Billy Powell, an EHS Director for Smith & Nephew, talk about the challenges he faces today and how he evolves his EHS processes.

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Are You Ready if an EHS Crisis Happens?

It is important to have a clear plan should an EHS crisis happen. Your stakeholders, employees, external publications and the public all expect communications to be clear, transparent and timely. Without a plan, misinformation can spread, negatively impacting both your personal and corporate brands.

When creating your plan, it is important to involve stakeholders and executives. All employees should understand the plan, including where to access it in time of a crisis. For example, it is best practice to identify one employee as the official communicator, instead of having multiple individuals communicating with external sources and publications.

A successful plan will reduce the negative brand and financial impact of an EHS crisis. Download our free guide today and learn how to build an executable plan should an EHS crises happen, including:

  • Identifying corporate communicators
  • Avoiding costly misinformation
  • Acting in a timely manner
  • Involving shareholders, executives and the community

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On Environment: WOTUS – 5 Simple Words with a Complex Definition

This post provides three main points to enhance the situational awareness of EHS managers and staff when thinking about the new proposed WOTUS rule.

Waters of the United States (WOTUS). These are the 5 words that have been at the center of a contentious legal battle since the 1980s. These words have been argued over in the United States Supreme Court, they’ve been interpreted broadly and narrowly, and they’ve been analyzed by legal minds around the country (and perhaps the world, too).

The regulatory history is a topic for a legal journal, not for this blog. Similarly, opinion about the interconnectedness of water resources is most appropriate for a debate among passionate friends and coworkers.

I’ll therefore limit this post to three main points that I think will enhance the situational awareness of EHS managers and staff when thinking about how this new proposed rule will affect their roles and, … Read more...

The Ultimate ISO 45001 Checklist

Demonstrating performance of environment, health, and safety (EHS) initiatives is a challenge. There are the obvious legal compliance and established safety policy obligations, but to truly optimize an EHS management program, there also must be a management-led culture of a commitment to safety, inclusive and open communication among employees, and demonstrated continuous improvement of risk management. The purpose of ISO 45001, the Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard published by the International Standards Organization (ISO), seeks to provide employers of all sizes worldwide a tool that will enable them to proactively identify and manage EHS risks and specifically evaluate the performance of EHS programs.

Although ISO 45001 is an effective way of enhancing EHS performance, it can be a cumbersome task to fulfill its requirements. This checklist will audit your conformance with the evaluation components in section 9 of the standard. Even if you are not seeking official ISO 45001 … Read more...

How to Sell EHS Software to Your IT Department

As all successful marketers know, to win over your target audience you need to: one, know what your audience cares about, and two, speak their language. Trying to get IT approval on your EHS software initiative is no different. Identifying how your EHS software initiative will improve your IT department’s pain points and understanding the key terminology they use will go a long way to securing their approval.

So, what does your IT department care about?

  1. Resources (Time & Funding)
    Each system in your organization needs to be maintained. That can include adding users, managing permissions, updating software to more secure versions, or paying renewal fees. The more software a company uses, generally the bigger headache for IT. Therefore, consider looking at fully integrated EHS management systems over point solutions. It’ll be easier and more affordable for your IT department to maintain. Ever better – showcase how your proposed EHS
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The ROI on EHS Process Automation

As an EHS professional, your responsibilities include safeguarding employees from deadly workplace hazards and managing the potentially paralyzing mountains of regulations and paperwork that go along with them. But just as technology has revolutionized so many things, from assembly lines to transportation, it can also revolutionize your ability to manage workplace hazards, regulatory compliance, and all those reams of data.

Here are ways that automating your EHS processes can improve your productivity and help achieve your EHS goals:

Staying Compliant

  • Identify and keep up-to-date with the EHS regulations you need to keep track of, across various locations, job types and industries
  • Simplify compliance reporting requirements
  • Automate and track training schedules
  • Organize and streamline document control

Anticipating Hazards and Managing Incidents

  • Standardize your incident management process so that required information is captured and can be turned into prescriptive insights
  • Standardize job safety analysis processes so that they are the same regardless
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HSE Prioritizes High-Risk Industry Inspections in 2019

The U.K.’s Health and Safety Executive is making inspections in high-risk industries a priority for 2019, along with the completion times of investigations and subsequent decisions, according to the body’s 2018-19 business plan.

The recently released document provides an overview of what the HSE says it has accomplished in the 2018 and a full list of where it intends to focus its energies in the coming year.

The HSE will carry out 20,000 proactive inspections and increase its use of campaigns that focus this work on “specific issues and activities found in high-risk industries.” This will include a sustained focus on health risks associated with occupational lung disease (OLD) and musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs).

As part of this targeted effort, the HSE will deliver five major inspection campaigns, each with at least 500 inspections in the following sectors: metal fabrication; agriculture; waste and recycling; food manufacturing; construction refurbishment (one that … Read more...

Suspended Loads and Respecting the Fall Zone

In almost every industry, a load of some kind is being lifted, manipulated, lowered or carried in a way that poses risk to workers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are more than 50,000 “struck by falling object” recordable injuries every year in the United States. That’s one injury every 10 minutes caused by a dropped object in the workplace.

Understanding the Fall Zone

The fall zone as defined by OSHA is “the area including, but not limited to, the area directly beneath the load in which it is reasonably foreseeable that partially or completely suspended materials could fall in the event of an accident.” OSHA goes on to state that standing under a suspended load is prohibited and that “while the operator is not moving a suspended load, no employee must be within the fall zone, except for employees (who are): engaged in hooking, unhooking or … Read more...

Walking-Working Surfaces and Pedestrian Safety: Assessing the Risks – Part 1

Working alongside a wide range of material handling equipment, on ill-prepared work surfaces and dealing with elements like weather, congestion and poor illumination are, in many cases, part of work for many. Added to this is the reality that we now deal with the distraction of things like cell phones, creating a perfect storm of substandard conditions met by an increase of substandard behaviors.

Pedestrian safety is not an issue to be overlooked. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that on average, slips, trips and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year. OSHA reports that as many as 30,000 forklift accidents occur annually in the United States and close to 20 percent of those accidents involve a pedestrian being struck by the forklift. Of these forklift events, 35 percent resulted in the pedestrian’s death.

Fall injuries also have a considerable cost, with workers’ compensation totals estimated at $70 billion … Read more...