Environment, health and safety
Environment, health and safety (EHS) is a discipline and specialty that studies and implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work. In simple terms it is what organizations must do to make sure that their activities do not cause harm to anyone.
Regulatory requirements play an important role in EHS discipline and EHS managers must identify and understand relevant EHS regulations, the implications of which must be communicated to executive management 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.
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 HSE 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.
HSE goes by a number of acronyms which may exclude environment or include security and quality.
|OHS||Occupational health and safety||Occupational health and safety|
|WHS||Work health and safety||Work health and safety|
|HSE||Health, safety and environment||Health, safety and environment|
|EHS / EH&S||Environment, health and safety|
|SHE||Safety, health and environment|
|QHSE||Quality, health, safety, and environment||Quality, health, safety, and environment|
|HSEQ||Health, safety, environment and quality|
|HSSE||Health, safety, security and environment||Health, safety, security and environment|
|QHSSE||Quality, health, safety, security, and environment||Quality, health, safety, security, and environment|
|HSSEQ||Health, safety, security, environment, and quality|
- 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
- Safety & Health Council of North Carolina, Massachusetts Nuclear Regulatory Commission, etc.
- Municipal fire departments (building code inspections)
- Environmental Management Agency (EMA)
EHS guidelines cover categories specific to each industry as wells as those that are general to most industry sectors. Examples of general categories and subcategories are:
|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
1.8 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
|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|
4.2 Occupational health and safety
4.3 Community health and safety
The chemical industry introduced the first formal EHS management approach in 1985 as a reaction to several catastrophic accidents (like the Seveso disaster of July 1976 and the Bhopal disaster of December 1984). This worldwide voluntary initiative, called "Responsible Care", started by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (formerly the Canadian Chemical Producers' Association - CCPA), operates in about 50 countries, with central coordination provided by the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA). It involves eight fundamental features which ensure plant and product safety, occupational health and environmental protection, but which also try to demonstrate by image-building campaigns that the chemical industry acts in a responsible manner. Being an initiative of the ICCA, it is restricted to the chemical industry.
Since the 1990s, general approaches to EHS management that may fit any type of organisation have appeared in international standards such as:
- the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS), developed by the European Commission in 1993
- ISO 14001 for environmental management in 1996
- ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety management in 2018, preceded by OHSAS 18001 1999
In 1998 the International Finance Corporation established EHS guidelines.
- 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
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (United States)
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS)
- EHS Today
- Safety+Health Magazine – National Safety Council
- Environmental Leader
- Occupational safety and health
- National Safety Council
- Robert W. Campbell Award, an Award for Business Excellence through EHS Management.
- Safety engineering
- Kavianian, Hamid R. "Occupational and Environmental Safety Engineering and Management", Van Norstrand Reinhold Company, New York (1990), ISBN 0-442-23822-3
- "H&S, OHS, HSE, HSSE, HSSEQ, HSSEQ/CSR … Alphabet Soupization". Redlog Environmental Ltd. 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
- "Model WHS Laws". Safe Work Australia. 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
Compare: TEPPFA. "Structure of Working Groups & Application Groups". TEPPFA, The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association. Retrieved 2016-07-19.
Concentrates on: [...] exchange of know-how regarding health- safety- and environmental aspects of plastic pipes and fittings; [...] promotion of good working practices, such as post use material collection for recycling.
- "United States Department of Labor". United States Department of Labor. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety". Retrieved November 4, 2017.
- "EHS Today". EHS Today. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "What you need to Know to Prepare Your Organization for Electrical Compliance". Safety+Health Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "Environmental Leader Is Your Source For Energy, Environmental & Sustainability News". Environmental Leader. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "Safety and health at work - EU-OSHA". osha.europa.eu. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "ISHN.com - the magazine for safety & health professionals who direct safety & health programs in high-hazard workplaces". www.ishn.com. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "CDC - The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
- "Occupational Health & Safety". Occupational Health & Safety Online. Retrieved 2017-04-07.