Environment, health and safety

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The Goal of Environmental. Health and Safety (a.k.a. EHS or SHE or HSE) is to protect employees, the public, the environment and to comply with applicable laws and protect the Company’s reputation. EHS departments, of some companies are responsible for environmental protection, occupational health and safety at work. According to C. Stephan,[1] EHS management has two general objectives: prevention of incidents or accidents that might result from abnormal operating conditions on the one hand and reduction of adverse effects that result from normal operating conditions on the other hand.

For example, fire, explosion and release of harmful substances into the environment or the work area must be prevented. Also action must be taken to reduce a company’s environmental impact under normal operating conditions (like reducing the company’s carbon footprint) and to prevent workers from developing work related diseases. Regulatory requirements play an important role in both approaches and consequently, EHS managers must identify and understand relevant EHS regulations, the implications of which must be communicated to top management (the board of directors) so the company can implement suitable measures. Organisations based in the United States are subject to EHS regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations, particularly CFR 29, 40, and 49. Still, EHS management is not limited to legal compliance and companies should be encouraged to do more than is required by law, if appropriate.[2]

From a health & safety standpoint, it involves creating organized efforts and procedures for identifying workplace hazards and reducing accidents and exposure to harmful situations and substances. It also includes training of personnel in accident prevention, accident response, emergency preparedness, and use of protective clothing and equipment.

From an environmental standpoint, it involves creating a systematic approach to complying with environmental regulations, such as managing waste or air emissions all the way to helping site’s reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Successful EHS programs also include measures to address ergonomics, air quality, and other aspects of workplace safety that could affect the health and well-being of employees and the overall community.

Regulatory Agencies[edit]

  • Federal / International
    • Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)
    • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
    • Mining Safety & Health Administration (MSHA), etc.
    • European Union (EU Standards) –Health & Safety At Work Act
  • State
    • Safety & Health Council of North Carolina, Massachusetts Nuclear Regulatory Commission, etc.
  • Local
    • Fire Department, Building Code Inspections

General EHS Guidelines[edit]

The General EHS Guidelines contain information on cross-cutting environmental, health, and safety issues potentially applicable to all industry sectors. The Guidelines contain the following information:

1. Environmental
1.1 Air Emissions and Ambient Air Quality

1.2 Energy Conservation

1.3 Wastewater and Ambient Water Quality

1.4 Water Conservation

1.5 Hazardous Materials Management

1.6 Waste Management

1.7 Noise

1.8 Contaminated Land

2. Occupational Health and Safety
2.1 General Facility Design and Operation

2.2 Communication and Training

2.3 Physical Hazards

2.4 Chemical Hazards

2.5 Biological Hazards

2.6 Radiological Hazards

2.7 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

2.8 Special Hazard Environments

2.9 Monitoring

3. Community Health and Safety
3.1 Water Quality and Availability

3.2 Structural Safety of Project Infrastructure

3.3 Life and Fire Safety (L&FS)

3.4 Traffic Safety

3.5 Transport of Hazardous Materials

3.6 Disease Prevention

3.7 Emergency Preparedness and Response

4. Construction and Decommissioning
4.1 Environment

4.2 Occupational Health and Safety

4.3 Community Health and Safety


The first formal EHS management approach was introduced in 1985 by the chemical industry as a reaction to several catastrophic accidents (like the Seveso disaster and the Bhopal disaster). This worldwide voluntary initiative called “Responsible Care” is in place in about 50 countries and centrally coordinated by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). It involves eight fundamental features that ensure plant and product safety, occupational health and environmental protection but also try to demonstrate by image-building campaigns that the chemical industry acts in a responsible manner. Still, this initiative is restricted to the chemical industry.

Since the 1990s, general approaches to EHS management that may fit any type of organisation can be found in international standards like ISO 14001 for environmental management and OHSAS 18001 for occupational health and safety management or the European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS). In 1998, EHS guidelines were also created by the International Finance Corporation.

A typical example of the activities of a company’s working group Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) focuses on: · exchange of know-how regarding health- safety- and environmental aspects of a material; · promotion of good working practices, such as post use material collection for recycling.[3]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Stephan, Constantin (2012), Industrial Health, Safety and Environmental Management, MV Wissenschaft, Muenster, 3rd edition 2012, ISBN 978-3-86582-452-3
  2. ^ Kavianian, Hamid R. "Occupational and Environmental Safety Engineering and Management", Van Norstrand Reinhold Company, New York (1990), ISBN 0-442-23822-3
  3. ^ TEPPFA. "Structure of Working Groups & Application Groups". TEPPFA, The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association.