What Is EHS Data?
Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) is the department of a company that regulates and oversees areas of production that involve environmental impacts, worker health and safety, as well as compliance and best practice. Recently, software applications which include data from such areas as: medical, environmental, waste management, occupational health and safety and industrial hygiene have been developed to more easily track EHS related data. Data collected from such applications are used to make well informed decisions and changes to health and safety programs.
What to Look for in an EHS Software Program
With ever-increasing EHS software options, it is important that you choose a program with a proven track record. You do not want to invest in a program that is outdated before you purchase it, so do your homework. Choose a program that is user friendly, quick and easy to input data and allows visibility of real-time data and sharing throughout your business and with other companies. Ensure it includes everything you need to update your existing reporting and analysis system.
Why Use EHS Software Programs?
Protecting its employees is a major responsibility of businesses and organizations. Environmental health and safety regulations change frequently, adding stress for individual owners to keep up. Failure to comply can be costly financially, as well as possibly costing human lives. OSHA reports that fines for non-reporting and non-compliance with stipulated regulations can run into the millions. Additionally, company officials responsible for health and safety can even be incarcerated.
The newest Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) regulations require that all work-related fatalities be reported within eight hours and any significant work-related injuries be reported within a day. Keeping up with these paper-work demands without a data system is near impossible. As a business owner or supervisor designated to oversee health and safety, you must be able to adapt to changing regulations with a clear compliance plan. EHS data management can be a time-saving software allowing safety professionals to:
Collect data efficiently
EHS software allows companies to collect data on environment, health and safety, security, workplace injuries. It can compare your company’s data with specific criteria, so your information can be collected in a manner that is most meaningful for your organization. Ultimately, this allows your enterprise to respond quickly and accurately to incidents and move to make changes where warranted.
Indicate what action is required
Data collection is only the first step. Once it has been collected, EHS data can indicate which actions are required to improve the health and safety of employees. Having a means to log health and safety incidents quickly, accurately, and consistently means that analysis is made simple, and a plan for correcting hazards can be made more efficiently and effectively.
Central location for health and safety data
EHS software allows employees to log on from anywhere in the company on any computer or hand held device and fill out incident reports. These reports are then available to all departments for future downloads and updates. Rather than filing these reports in a physical file at an office, the paperwork is housed in an accessible location where it can be reviewed easily.
Efficient accurate reporting
When an EHS data system is used, reporting is easier, completed more quickly, and available to all employees immediately. Data can be also more easily be tracked and analyzed. Effective EHS software allows employees to include OSHA compliance as well as risk management in one single system, which avoids the need for duplication and adds depth to what can be done with incident report data.
Logging on site
Since EHS software supports mobile reporting hardware, it is feasible for a supervisor to log in and report an incident right at the site. This means data is immediately available to those who are in a position to correct a health and safety hazard before it becomes another injury report, or even before an initial incident occurs.
Beyond compliance to trouble shooting
With today’s more complex EHS software, businesses are able to go a step beyond OSHA compliance. Focusing on analysis and prevention, they can track areas where potentially dangerous situations exist and turn these into safer workplace sites. Performance analysis and environmental management have significantly reduced reported injuries while at the same time increased reporting of potential dangers to health and safety in the workplace.
Risk management bases
EHS software makes it possible for businesses to develop risk management logs and provide employees with practical suggestions for such things as working in temperature extremes, proper use of protective gear, high risk workplace areas, etc..
EHS software enables owners and supervisors to highlight key health and safety ‘hot issues’ and then create teams of employees to collaborate on learning and information dissemination. These teams can be highly effective in making areas safer and preventing recurring injuries.
Studies show that when emphasis is placed on environmental health and safety in the workplace, employees have a heightened awareness of household health and safety concerns and home accidents have been reduced.
In the Future?
With the rapid improvements in software and hardware, EHS systems will become more user friendly and more mobile. Sharing will be virtually instantaneous. Duplication of data will be eliminated as data collection, analysis and sharing becomes seamless. Software will become even better at collection, analysis and synthesis of data, and, eventually, health and safety strategies will be generated by EHS software packages.