Environmental, health and safety is not a destination. It’s a process of continuous improvement, and it requires everyone in your organization to make it work.
You have to be committed. You have to be willing to learn. And you have to focus on the right goals.
It all begins with setting the right tone. EHS best practices help you do that. Here are four that your business should be following.
1. Leadership and Employee Empowerment
Excellence in EHS relies on making use of your best asset: your people. But in order to do that, you have to empower them to take charge.
From the CEO to the newest part-time employee, everyone plays a role in ensuring the success of EHS. A truly strong safety culture leverages every member of your organization to exert a positive influence and reinforce safety practices.
It starts with a commitment from your management team to prioritize safety and health. From there, that commitment must be communicated to employees every day.
At the same time, empower employees to speak up about health and safety issues. And when they speak up, follow through to fix the problem. Otherwise, they won’t be inclined to speak up again.
2. Define Compliance and Audit Expectations
Part of this process involves clearly defining your compliance and audit expectations.
Clearly defining compliance obligations and outlining compliance tasks is the best way to ensure that the whole team knows what’s expected of them. They know what they need to do, what standards they need to meet, and how they should work to ensure safety.
Treat this as part of your obligation to train your employees on the proper health and safety practices for the job. If you have employees who have been around for a while, talk to them to see how you can better communicate standards and expectations.
3. Always Revisit KPIs
Your department key performance indicators (KPIs) are critical safety metrics in measuring your success, which is why it’s so important to make sure that your KPIs are actually relevant and effective.
Good KPIs are measurable, achievable, timely, and aligned with your goals. Keep in mind, however, that KPIs that worked five years ago may be outdated.
After all, your business and regulatory standards evolve all the time. Your KPIs should evolve to reflect that.
4. Invest in Change Management
On a similar note, you should make sure to invest in change management.
Many organizations don’t like to think about change. But that stubbornness will hurt you if your business has to adapt. Change management is the process of helping individuals transition from your old system to your new system with minimal growing pains.
Good change management allows your company to continue communicating effectively, maintain a strong culture of safety, open communication, and employee involvement. It also allows you to quickly readjust your metrics to measure your performance effectively.
Remember, businesses change all the time. That’s not a bad thing. In many cases, it’s a sign of growth. But you don’t want your rate of change to outpace your safety protocols.
Taking Charge of EHS Best Practices
Taking charge of EHS best practices requires the right tools for the job. It’s not enough to be committed – you have to have the means of keeping up with the health and safety demands of your daily operations.
Further reading: How to Measure the Success of Your EHS Program