Is It Time to Upgrade your EHS Software?

There’s a shelf life for everything.

Even software has an expected existence. For most well-designed systems, a useful lifetime can be six to eight years. For systems that are less well designed or for applications that evolve quickly, the useful life of business software can be as short as three years.

According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Association for Environmental Management (NAEM), most companies that are looking at replacing their environment, health & safety (EHS) software have a system in place that is less than five years old   – so, if your system is approaching five years old, it probably is or soon will be outdated.

How do you know your current software is due for a major refresh? You may need new EHS software if:

  • Your EHS software needs to integrate with your other IT systems. Many companies have other business software systems for non-EHS applications

The Murky World of EHS Non-Compliance Costs

Administrative fines and enforced remediation costs are among the obvious and often highly publicized consequences of failures to comply with environment, health and safety (EHS) laws. But what about the things that are much more difficult to assess, predict or calculate?

Consider expenses such as those associated with workplace incidents and accidents. These can be unpredictable financial obligations, including payments for insurance premiums or workers’ compensation plans that cover resulting harm, necessary medical expenses and compensatory benefits for those who are injured. What about litigation?

The only way to lower the cost of workers’ compensation in the long run is to lower the frequency and severity of the claims that are driving those costs. It can be a tall order, particularly because premiums have been steadily rising. In the United States, the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) estimates employer costs associated with workers’ compensation totaled US$94.8 billion in 2015 … Read more...

Managing QMS Validation the Modern, Efficient Way

With every trip to our local pharmacy, grocery store or corner variety shop, we pass hundreds of products that have reached the shelves only after a lengthy process designed to ensure their quality.

It’s not something the everyday consumer thinks much about. But without this crucial element of the manufacturing process, we would never be able to trust the quality of the many products whose high standards we take for granted. It’s quite easy to envision the catastrophes that would result.

Core to the process of ensuring quality is the concept of validation. This is the process whereby pharmaceutical manufacturers provide objective, documented evidence that their processes, equipment and computerized systems are checked and validated to ensure the quality of their medicines and medical devices.

Central to the validation journey is the required documentation produced with each step. To satisfy regulators, companies must record evidence to prove what work was … Read more...

Wellness Matters: More than 130 Million American Adults Suffer Chronic Health Conditions

A new frontier of employee health and safety awareness is rising. It’s the idea of wellness and a practice that’s good for people, plus there’s clear business value in the efforts made by workers to maintain and improve their good health and in the support employers provide to employees in helping them achieve that end.

An unhealthy workforce is one that’s less productive than it could be. This may be most obvious during times when there’s something “going around,” and many employees are out sick during the flu season. Productivity suffers. Workers who are sick either don’t come to work (absenteeism), or they come to work (presenteeism), but don’t get much done. Absenteeism and presenteeism are well-recognized drains on productivity, not just for individual employees but for an entire organization. A single absent employee can affect the productivity of an entire unit.

More than 130 million American adults suffer from … Read more...

What Can Go Wrong, Will Go Wrong: Quality Case Studies

How do Quality failures happen? What causes a self-driving car to kill a pedestrian? Or a well-known food brand to be contaminated with bacteria that cause a massive listeria outbreak? The sheer scale of some of these types of disasters might lead us to believe that the causes are equally large, that they ought to have been obvious to anyone or that only willful ignorance could be to blame. In reality, disaster is often the result of a cascading series of tiny, almost imperceptible Quality failures. They build slowly over time in organizational cultures not in the habit of looking for them or of being mindful of their presence and meaning when they do appear as smaller symptoms.

Quality Management isn’t simply a series of abstract ideas we follow to get a certification that allows us to bid on certain contracts from our customers. Quality Management serves a higher purpose; … Read more...

Technology Helps Drive Improved Safety Commitment

Technology might just be the solution needed to break through employee resistance to safety program participation and drive personal commitment and engagement to new heights of effectiveness within many organizations.

Today’s high-tech safety innovations can be of benefit to workers and also enhance safety in many workplaces. The key is to align the use of technology with the needs of workers, and do it in ways that will help get your workers, your technology and your safety goals all pulling together.

Some of today’s technology solutions have a clear and obvious part to play.

Tablets and smart phones, for example, have virtually endless applications in workplace safety. Workers can use them to access chemical hazard information and specific safety procedures, or to report hazards and make suggestions. Devices can enhance security for lone workers, or summon assistance in the event of an accident or medical emergency. There are apps that … Read more...

What is Quality Management?

When people use the word “Quality,” it’s usually as a synonym for “good.” Many brands tout their products as “high quality” or “superior quality” in just this way without really defining what the characteristics of “Quality” are, and we’re more likely to see it in marketing material than in integral business process or policy documents. This is the first in a series of blogs that will explore the fundamental concepts of Quality and how you can apply them to your organization.

Quality is about much more than describing a product or service as “good.” Quality Management professionals see Quality as the following:

  1. Satisfying a set of explicitly or implicitly defined inherent characteristics.
  2. Providing products or service features that customers need. These features lead to customer satisfaction and exceeding customer expectations, which, in turn, lead to increased revenue for the producer. Ensuring Quality by adding features that customers want while ensuring

OSHA’s Most Common Citations: Hazard Communications

Hazard communication is one of OSHA’s perennial top-10 citations. Without the labeling and training required by the hazard communication standard (29 CFR 1910.1200), workers might not realize that the chemicals they work with every day could be causing cancer, allergies, lung disease or reproductive harm.

After all, while you can clearly see that a sharp blade might cut your arm off, the link between a chemical exposure and a cancer that doesn’t appear until 20 years later is much less visible.

That said, the requirements of the hazard communication standard are fairly straightforward.

  • Employers are required to make a list of all chemicals that are present in the workplace.
  • Employers must have a written hazard communication plan that addresses all facets of compliance, including in-house labeling systems, contractor chemical safety, and unlabeled pipes.
  • Chemical manufacturers, importers and distributors are required to ensure that chemicals are properly labeled. Employers receiving these

Quality Management Requires a Cross-Industry Approach

The fundamental guiding principle of Quality Management lands squarely upon the business need for continuous process analysis and improvement. Doing it successfully results in increased customer satisfaction, employee engagement and organizational efficiency. Every organization, regardless of industry or size, should have Quality Management as a core pillar upon which objectives and strategy are based.

Yet there is no single way to apply Quality Management that makes it effective for all. While you can certify to a standard like ISO 9001:2015, those standards don’t tell you how to uniquely apply quality to your businesses or provide a simple path to achieve a Culture of Quality. Every industry, from food production to automotive manufacturing, has a myriad of different priorities, obligations, and requirements that shape the way they engage with and apply the principles of Quality Management.

Read Intelex’s new Insight Report, “A Cross-Industry Look at Quality Management,” to learn the … Read more...

Taking the Headache Out of Health and Safety Compliance

It’s a cold, hard fact of doing business: at some point, you’re going to have to prove to regulators that you’re providing your employees a safe and healthy workplace. Demonstrating your company’s compliance with Health and Safety regulations can take many forms, including regularly submitting accident and injury reports to government or providing necessary data to inspectors, should they show up at your door.

Maintaining compliance can be an onerous task, what with capital expenditures on equipment, staff training costs and keeping reports and data organized and easily accessible. A new Intelex Insight Report looks to help take the headache out of the compliance process by examining:

  • The key areas that regulators such as the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) demand compliance on.
  • The benefits of being compliant. While risk can never be completely eliminated from the work process, maintaining compliance can result in numerous monetary and non-monetary