EHS Risk Management: Frequently Asked Questions
The process of recognizing, evaluating, mitigating and managing environment, health and safety risk is collectively referred to as EHS Risk Management.
EHS Risk Management software supports health, safety, environmental and quality management programs that help promote a culture of safety and quality, drive ongoing improvement efforts, and allow teams to track and report on overall operational performance.
Environment, health and safety (EHS) programs cover a large range of a company's operations and personnel, including certain processes, equipment and facilities. Each individual program within the EHS mandate is important and relevant to the overall compliance and conformance of a company with respect to applicable rules and guidance. EHS risk assessment usually focuses on evaluating the following areas:
- Risks to the health and safety of employees and the general public (e.g., hazard exposure, occupational injuries, releases and offsite consequences, etc.)
- Risks to human health and safety, facilities and the environment (e.g., spills, fires, explosions, releases, deviations from permit conditions, etc.)
- Risks to business operations and business continuity (e.g., catastrophic failures, closures, hefty monetary penalties, reputational risk etc.)
A successful digital transformation empowers operational excellence, enabling functional integration for greater transparency, efficiency and collaboration, ensuring continual business growth and continuous improvements. Digitalization brings EHS management and operational risk management together for comprehensive risk management by enabling risk management across assets, facilities and workers. Integrated EHSQ management systems allow operational excellence, focusing on the vital elements of risk management and reporting.
Risk is defined as the probability of an event compounded by its impact or severity. In any EHS environment, effective risk management rests on four basic elements:
- Hazard identification to uncover potential risks involving people, processes and equipment.
- Risk assessment to prioritize which risks need controls. This ensures that you are allocating your resources in the right places, instead of trying to spread them across the entire organization.
- Implementing controls such as additional training, knowledge sharing or engineering controls.
- Monitoring of controls and measurement of risk to ensure controls are effective.
Centralizing all risk items in a Risk Register. This democratizes access to information and gives companies an easily accessible source for assessing risk across the organization.
Creating reports and dashboards that show risk across different organizational areas to enable more strategic decision-making.
Establishing risk frameworks and templates for different types of risk scenarios, including who is responsible and what strategic actions should be undertaken.
Silos of data, processes and information flows are among the most commonly cited obstacles to integrated risk management. Additionally, lack of organizational alignment, integration of risk into every part of the business, and cultural factors are prevalent as well. Using a modern, purpose-built EHS platform can help address some of these concerns - especially on the technology side of the house - by centralizing all the EHS risk data in one place and introducing and standardizing risk management practices across the enterprise.
EHS Operational Risk Management (ORM) is the practice of identifying and assessing environmental and safety-related risks and implementing programs to manage those risks to acceptable levels. ORM is critical for any organization striving for operational excellence.
Proactive risk mitigation and developing leading indicators to manage the environment, health, and safety (EHS) performance are good examples of use cases that capitalize on the confluence of EHS-focused software platforms (IT), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), and data analytics (BI/Big Data). Data sets from various leading indicators can be collected and analyzed using advanced analytics tools embedded within EHS software programs to identify emergent risks and risk patterns. This information can then be used to control risk, which leads to predictive and prescriptive risk management and performance improvement.
Intelex's EHS risk management software applications broadly enable the following primary use cases as they relate to operational risk management:
- Incidents/Events [Incident Management Software]
- Risk Mitigation [Corrective and Preventative Action (CAPA) Software, Safety Observations Management Software, Near Miss Reporting Software, Enterprise Risk Register Software, Industrial Hygiene Software, Occupational Health and Safety Software]
- Risk Assessment [Inspection Management Software, Job Safety Analysis(JSA) Software, Audit Management Software]
This comprehensive toolset allows EHS practioners and decision makers to drive operational risk management programs with clarity and confidence while monitoring outcomes on an ongoing basis.
Within the practice of EHS, organizations generally come up against four categories of operational risk: people risks, process risks, incident/events risks, and regulatory compliance risks. Using manual or paper based methods or legacy technology can seriously limit the ability to have a holistic view of operational risks organizations face. Making the move to an advanced EHS operational risk management software stack can help them uncover several types of risks, create action plans and ensure continuity of business operations.
Effectively managing health and safety risks establishes a workplace where employees feel safe to work, be engaged and be productive. A safe and healthy workplace also helps them produce a consistently good quality output, which ultimately benefits the organization through higher profit margins and a good reputation.
While responding quickly to safety incidents and minimizing the harm to people and equipment has been a standard practice for some time now, heading off potential safety events before they happen is a key component of operational risk management strategies. Using purpose-built EHS management software applications that help manage and mitigate risks, companies can move quickly from reactive to predictive safety management by capturing observations, near misses, safety behaviors and inspections to spot trends and patterns, isolate problem areas, and tighten up safety processes - all in one place through their EHS risk management software applications.
Risk assessment is an important part of any company's health and safety management plan. When organizations do a proper assessment, it helps them uncover hazards and risks; identify the people, equipment and facilities that might be at risk; and discover where control measures are needed to prevent illness, injury and environmental harm.
A solid and comprehensive compliance risk management software toolset helps organizations reduce the likelihood of a major non-compliance event or failure to comply with EHS-related reporting requirements. It helps increase the quality of business processes and customer satisfaction, which enables an organization to set itself apart in the marketplace from its competitors.
A successful EHS compliance program helps companies reduce or prevent injuries and illnesses by providing workers with a safe work environment. It also helps prevent or reduce the environmental impact on the company's workforce and surrounding communities by strictly adhering to environmental compliance obligations. The company's key stakeholders such as customers, regulatory authorities, contractors & suppliers and investors need to know how the company is doing on key compliance parameters.
While the methodologies and approaches to achieving compliance may vary for companies, these are the common threads that characterize how companies can minimize the risk of non-compliance with respect to their EHS programs - by putting their EHS Risk Management software applications to work.
1. Ongoing Training
2. Governance & Leadership
4. Risk Assessment
5. Deployment of EHS Risk Management Software Applications
While multiple regulatory compliance frameworks proliferate the domain of environmental, health and safety (EHS), companies need to report or adhere to compliance mandates from OSHA, ISO (ISO 45001, ISO 14001), HSE, EPA and NIOSH - to name a few in order to satisfy compliance mandates.