Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) (EHS)

Definition - What does Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) (EHS) mean?

Environmental health and safety (EHS or HSE) is the department in a company or an organization tasked with ensuring that the work undertaken by the company does not cause undue environmental damage, put the workers' health and safety at high risk, complies with applicable legislation, and follows best practices.

EHS aims to prevent and reduce accidents, emergencies, and health issues at work, along with any environmental damage that could result from work practices.

Safeopedia explains Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S) (EHS)

Environmental health and safety departments take a systematic and empirically informed approach to preventing accidents and injuries. They oversee a range of hazards, including ergonomic hazards, exposure to carcinogens, falls from height, and heavy machinery.

The work undertaken by EHS departments is motivated by a number of concerns:

  1. The protection of workers, their health, and the natural environment
  2. Compliance with legal requirements and regulatory standards
  3. The increase in productivity, profit, and morale that comes with a safe and healthy workforce

Regulatory History

The formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the 1970s initiated environmental management requirements. Soon after, the EPA regulations were followed by other regulatory systems at the state levels.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 imposed additional regulatory requirements on employers.

International EHS standards have been set by ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

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