by Anthony Ortiz
St.Germain Collins | Sentry EHS®
Managing environmental, health and safety (EHS) compliance is difficult whether you are managing one site or one hundred.
For a single location, the person responsible for EHS is usually wearing multiple hats and has little time for the effort that is needed for compliance. While at a company with many locations the resources are available for EHS compliance, but the number of requirements multiplies exponentially, which makes it difficult to account for all the details. That is why it is important to proactively assign compliance tasks to members of your team and track those tasks to ensure completion.
Proactively managing your compliance will help:
- * Ensure Continuity: What if a key employee leaves? Critical EHS program information may be out the door and you are left starting from scratch.
- * Facilitate Audits: Ensures that your records are organized so you can quickly show evidence of inspections and training.
- * Avoid Potential Fines: Easily tracking tasks helps to not miss any regulations.
- * Avoid Injuries: Better compliance management allows individuals to identify possible holes in safety programs.
- * See the Big Picture: See ahead of time which programs are lacking so you can fix them instead of reacting to a crisis.
There are many ways to proactively manage your compliance, and every method has its pros and cons. Some examples are:
- * Excel Spreadsheets
- o Fairly easy to use
- o Needs to be manually updated (regulations often change)
- o Typically the person who develops the spreadsheet is the one who must ensure it’s being used properly
- o Disconnected data
- o Little to no visibility to management
- * Outlook Calendar and Email
- o Practical to have connected to calendar and emails where individuals are always looking
- o No regulatory updates
- o Not easy to track multiple people’s responsibilities
- o Relies on organizer to setup each year
- * Sticky Notes (you’d be surprised how many folks actually do this)
- o Decent visual reminder
- o Can be lost easily
- o Accumulate over time
- o No long-term agenda
- o Messy, not organized
- o Can’t easily track completion
- o Not easy to assemble reports from this method
- * Folders or files on internal server
- o Managed in-house
- o Need an assigned person to keep regulatory information up-to-date
- o Lacks visibility to key employees and management
- o Lacks metrics to demonstrate compliance
- * EHS Management Software Programs, like Sentry EHS
- o Regulatory specialists monitor regulatory changes for you
- o Can be used anywhere that there is internet access
- o Allows tracking of tasks and due dates
- o Assigning responsible parties to delegate tasks
- o Online document management
- o Individuals need to be trained how to use the program
- o Easy to use
- o Automated reporting features
- o Enables management oversight of EHS program
Having a good system for easily assigning tasks and verifying that they are being completed successfully is essential to reducing environmental risk, making life easier, and improving health and safety of your staff.
For assistance determining what EHS compliance management method might work best for you, please email or call 207-591-7000 x 32 to speak with me about your particular needs.