Have you ever wondered what EHS stands for and its roles and responsibilities? In today’s fast-paced business world, workplace safety has become a top priority for companies of all sizes.
With a growing emphasis on protecting employees and the environment, the roles and responsibilities of EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) professionals have become more critical than ever.
EHS professionals ensure that employees are safe, healthy, and productive. They also help companies to meet regulatory requirements, minimize environmental impact and maintain a positive reputation in the community.
As an outcome, various industries are experiencing an increased demand for EHS specialists.
If you’re an employer, employee, or just someone interested in workplace safety, understanding the roles and responsibilities of EHS professionals can help you appreciate their work’s importance.
If you want to discover more about the tasks and responsibilities of EHS specialists, this blog is for you.
It’s packed with information that will help you understand what these professionals do and how they help keep employees safe.
So let’s get started if you’re ready to find out more about the crucial duties and responsibilities of EHS professionals.
Here Are the Roles and Responsibilities of EHS:
EHS stands for environmental, health, and safety. It is a department responsible for ensuring that the employees and stakeholders of a company are safe.
The EHS’s responsibilities and roles are as follows:
One of the primary roles of an EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) professional is to conduct safety assessments to identify potential hazards in the workplace.
This involves analyzing the physical environment, work processes, equipment, and procedures to ensure they meet safety standards.
A comprehensive safety assessment will identify all potential hazards associated with your business’s operations and take steps to eliminate them. In addition to identifying these hazards, EHS professionals will also create a plan for how they will be addressed.
This can include providing training on how to avoid or mitigate them and implementing new practices or procedures that help ensure employee safety is maintained at all times.
Develop and Implement Safety Policies
EHS professionals are responsible for creating and implementing safety policies that help prevent workplace accidents and injuries.
This may involve developing procedures for handling hazardous materials, establishing employee safety guidelines, and making emergency response plans.
Developing these policies requires understanding the dynamics of a workplace environment and the potential risks associated with working at that particular location.
Employees with an EHS background understand how to implement these policies to keep everyone safe while allowing them to do their jobs efficiently.
Conduct Safety Training
EHS professionals are crucial in ensuring that employees know potential hazards and how to stay safe on the job.
They provide training on topics such as workplace ergonomics, proper lifting techniques, and the use of personal protective equipment.
Safety training is vital for preventing accidents and injuries, helps employees understand their rights as workers, and allows them to speak up about potential hazards they may see on the job.
Investigate Accidents and Incidents
When accidents or incidents occur in the workplace, EHS professionals are responsible for conducting thorough investigations to determine the cause and identify opportunities for improvement.
They then develop recommendations to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
These investigations aim to identify what went wrong, who was responsible, and how to prevent it from happening again.
This may involve interviewing witnesses and employees, reviewing internal documents such as incident reports and emails, and examining physical evidence such as equipment or tools used during the incident.
The investigation can also include gathering information from outside sources such as government agencies or previous customers who have had similar problems with your business’s products or services.
Monitor Regulatory Compliance
EHS professionals must stay up-to-date with regulatory requirements and ensure that the company complies with all relevant laws and regulations.
This includes monitoring air quality, water quality, and hazardous waste disposal.
This may involve researching new laws or regulations and updating the organization’s EHS policies accordingly.
For example, if a new law requires companies to report certain chemicals’ release into the environment, an EHS professional would work with management to develop a policy on handling these situations.
Conduct Risk Assessments
EHS professionals analyze potential risks to the company’s employees, customers, and the environment. They identify areas of concern and develop strategies to mitigate risks.
Risk assessments are conducted to ensure compliance with local, state, and federal regulations and corporate policies.
They may also be undertaken to assess environmental impacts or other situations that might harm a company or its operations.
Risk assessments are typically performed by an EHS professional or team of professionals working with management and other stakeholders to determine what hazards exist in the workplace and how they should be addressed.
Risk assessments may include:
- Physical hazards such as chemical spills or falling objects.
- Psychological hazards include stressors caused by communication issues between employees and management; bullying; harassment; etc.)
- Environmental hazards include overexposure to toxic fumes from machinery used for manufacturing.
Implement Environmental Sustainability Initiatives
Environmental health and safety professionals help companies reduce their environmental impact by implementing recycling programs, energy-efficient practices, and reducing the use of hazardous materials.
These initiatives are an essential part of any company’s commitment to sustainability.
As companies become more aware of how their actions affect the environment, they will also be more likely to invest in environmentally friendly practices.
Collaborate With Other Departments
EHS professionals work closely with other departments, including human resources, legal, and operations.
They collaborate to ensure that all employees have a safe and healthy work environment.
Collaboration allows EHS professionals to identify hazards early in the development process and develop strategies for mitigating those hazards.
It also enables them to share best practices across all industries, which can help prevent injuries, illness, and fatalities.
In addition to collaboration with other departments, EHS professionals also collaborate with outside stakeholders such as suppliers and contractors.
This helps ensure that all parties involved in developing the product or service understand the risks associated with using or working around it.
Train Emergency Response Teams
The role of EHS is to train emergency response teams, create a plan in case of an emergency, and protect the workplace.
They are also responsible for developing an environmental program that monitors the air, water, and soil quality at a job site.
In addition, they are responsible for developing a contingency plan for major incidents, such as fire or explosion.
They also need to ensure that all employees are trained in first aid and CPR.
Inspect Safety Equipment
EHS professionals ensure that safety equipment and supplies, such as first aid kits, fire extinguishers, and safety harnesses, are readily available and in good working condition.
This is a crucial part of the job because it can save lives in an emergency.
EHS professionals also inspect safety equipment to ensure it’s up to date and meets all standards the company or industry sets.
Conduct Safety Audits
EHS professionals perform safety audits to assess the effectiveness of safety policies and procedures. They review safety records, interview employees, and inspect equipment and facilities to identify areas for improvement.
EHS professionals are responsible for identifying potential hazards and assessing the risks associated with these hazards so they can determine appropriate controls.
For example, an EHS professional may conduct an audit of a chemical storage facility to determine if there is an adequate fire suppression system in place.
Safety audits are performed regularly to ensure that new hazards are addressed as soon as they arise.
If a risk is identified during an audit, it should be addressed immediately by implementing controls or taking corrective action as required by law or regulation.
Communicate Safety Information
Communication is the cornerstone of EHS and safety. While it may seem like communication is a simple concept, it’s pretty complex.
EHS professionals communicate safety information to employees through various means, such as safety meetings, newsletters, and safety posters.
They also ensure that safety information is clearly and prominently displayed throughout the workplace.
To ensure that employees have access to all relevant information about their work environment and duties within it, EHS professionals must communicate effectively across different mediums—from verbal to written communications—and with different audiences: from managers to workers on site.
EHS professionals constantly seek ways to improve safety, health, and environmental performance.
They use data analysis, benchmarking, and employee feedback to identify areas for improvement and develop strategies to achieve better outcomes.
EHS professionals work closely with management to set goals for continuous improvement in critical areas such as employee training, equipment maintenance, and replacement schedules, waste disposal procedures, reporting systems for injuries and illnesses, etc.
They also oversee the implementation of these improvements by communicating clearly with staff members about their roles in achieving better outcomes.
Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) plays a significant role in today’s companies.
The EHS department has many different responsibilities, but one of the most important is to monitor Standard Operating Procedures (SOP).
They make sure that the procedures are being followed correctly by employees.
This includes checking for things like:
- Are there any safety hazards? Are they being addressed? Do they need to be addressed?
- Are employees following proper safety protocol? Are they wearing the right gear?
- Are they using the correct equipment? Are they working with chemicals properly?
- Is there an emergency plan in place in case something happens?
Work Permit Requirements
An employee or contractor must have a valid work permit before starting their job.
A copy of this permit should be given to their supervisor as soon as possible so they can begin working on-site.
An employee or contractor must have a valid work permit to enter the building once they have obtained one from the EHS department.
This is important because it ensures that all employees are qualified for the work they are doing in your company.
It also helps reduce accidents and injuries on-site by ensuring that all workers have been appropriately vetted before entering your facility.
The roles and responsibilities of EHS (Environmental Health and Safety) are vital to ensuring the health and safety of workers and protecting the environment.
EHS professionals are critical in developing and implementing policies, procedures, and programs that promote safe and healthy working conditions, reduce environmental risks, and ensure regulatory compliance.
The EHS function has become increasingly important in recent years as organizations recognize the importance of promoting a safe and healthy workplace.
Ultimately, the EHS function is essential for maintaining employee health and safety and safeguarding the environment.
Organizations prioritizing EHS can create a safer and healthier workplace and improve their bottom line by reducing accidents, injuries, and associated costs.