Environment, health and safety

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Environment, health and safety (EHS; or health, safety and environment –HSE–, or safety, health and environmentSHE–) is an interdisciplinary field focused on the study and implementation of practical aspects environmental protection and safeguard of people's health and safety, especially at company level and in an occupational context. It is what organizations must do to make sure that their activities do not cause harm. Commonly, quality - quality assurance and quality control - is adjoined to form a company division referred to as HSQE or equivalent initialisms.

From a safety standpoint, EHS 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.

Better health at its heart, should have the development of safe, high-quality, and environmentally friendly processes, working practices and systemic activities that prevent or reduce the risk of harm to people in general, operators, or patients.

From an environmental standpoint, EHS 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.

The activities of an EHS working group might focus on:[1]

  • 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

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. Organizations 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]

Other names[edit]

Notwithstanding the individual importance of these attributes, the various institutions and authors have accented the acronyms differently. 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. Another researcher transformed it as SHE in 1996, while exploring the "concept of 'human quality' in terms of living standards that must follow later than the health.....[as per the] paradigm of SHEQ, ....raising up the importance of environment to the 'safety of people as a prime consideration'".[3] It is because "Safety First" is called in for the commitment to transform the safety culture of countries.[4] Quality is "fitness for purpose",[5] and without it, each and every endeavour will be futile.

Abbreviations used include:[6]

Acronym Name Group
OHS Occupational health and safety Occupational safety and health
WHS Work health and safety[7]
HSE Health, safety and environment Health, safety and environment
EHS 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


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 Valdez Principles,[8] that have been formulated to guide and evaluate corporate conduct towards the environment.

In 1998 the International Finance Corporation established EHS guidelines.


General topics covered by EHS include:

Regulatory agencies[edit]


United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Compare: TEPPFA. "Structure of Working Groups and Application Groups". TEPPFA, The European Plastic Pipes and Fittings Association. Archived from the original on 2019-01-14. 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.
  2. ^ Kavianian, Hamid R. "Occupational and Environmental Safety Engineering and Management", Van Norstrand Reinhold Company, New York (1990), ISBN 0-442-23822-3
  3. ^ "Editorial in J. Adv. Res. Prod. Ind. Eng. 2016; 3(2)". 2016-10-14.
  4. ^ "Safety First". 2016-10-14.
  5. ^ Joseph M Juran, Joseph Defeo. Juran's Quality Handbook: The Complete Guide to Performance Excellence, Mcgraw Hill, 2000
  6. ^ "HS, OHS, HSE, HSSE, HSSEQ, HSSEQ/CSR … Alphabet Soupization". Redlog Environmental Ltd. 2016-03-14. Retrieved 2016-06-08.
  7. ^ "Model WHS Laws". Safe Work Australia. 2017-11-03. Retrieved 2018-06-12.
  8. ^ Sanyal, R. N. and J. S. Neves: 1991, 'The Valdez Principles: Implications for Corporate Social Responsibility', Journal of Business Ethics 10, 883- 890.
  9. ^ "EHS Today". EHS Today. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  10. ^ "Environmental Leader Is Your Source For Energy, Environment and Sustainability News". Environmental Leader. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  11. ^ "ISHN.com - the magazine for safety and health professionals who direct safety and health programs in high-hazard workplaces". www.ishn.com. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  12. ^ "Occupational Health and Safety". Occupational Health and Safety Online. Retrieved 2017-04-07.
  13. ^ "What you need to Know to Prepare Your Organization for Electrical Compliance". Safety+Health Magazine. Retrieved 2017-04-07.

External links[edit]