Environment, Health, and Safety, or popularly referred to as EHS is an ambiguous term referring to EHS regulations and rules mandated by a state, as well as the efforts and programs companies carry out in a workplace to protect and uphold the wellbeing, safety, and health not only of their employees and customers but also of the public within the same environment. A part of its fundamental goals is ensuring that a workplace is free from hazards and risks.
“The main purpose of EHS mandate is to urge companies to implement EHS programs that monitor and prevent work-related incidents such as illnesses, injuries, and dangerous environmental releases.”
The concept has been founded to address the rising number of work-related incidents and accidents that had been noted in the past. A few of these unforgettable, tragic incidents were the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire, Union/Bhopal Carbide explosion that took place in the mid 1980s, the Upper Big Branch Mine-South explosion and the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill that went down in 2010, and the tragic fire and building collapse of Savar in Bangladesh that happened in 2013.
Hazards in a workplace do exist and this is exactly what EHS laws and EHS management programs are trying to eradicate; to ensure that employees are working under safety standards and no one in the public suffers the potential consequences or effects of business operations. To better exercise this goal, the law mandates employers to comply and take part in it.
Companies with an active EHS culture are less prone to incidents and injuries and this has proven to have boosted the morale of employees as they felt more valued and secured. Other proven after-effect of a good EHS management includes higher productivity and retention rate.
EHS Software; A digital EHS management support
EHS management is more than just for compliance but it is a huge responsibility with a number of critical areas that need to be monitored and analysed from time to time. Because of this, a lot of companies nowadays invest in a digital EHS management support known as EHS software to better keep up with the EHS regulations while maintaining safety in any business operation.
What is EHS software?
EHS software is a type of information system that is designed to help companies monitor, reduce and prevent work-related incidents and maintain compliance to the government’s EHS regulations. Most EHS software comprise of a wide variety of functions from straightforward to sophisticated ones. Majority of these functions help achieve safety in a workplace and regulatory compliance through a comprehensive compliance registry that enables classification based on the incident reporting dashboard, location, compliance task management, and internal audit resources.
Common modules of a basic EHS software includes Safety Data Sheet Management, Health and Safety Management, Incident Investigations Management, and EHS tracking. More specialized types of EHS software, meanwhile, feature Spill Responses Management, Confined Entry Permits Management, and Emissions Tracking Management.
All sizes of businesses from small, medium, to large enterprises can benefit with such a digital tool as it features management of environment and safety risks to the employees, customers, and the rest of the community.
Factors to Consider Before Buying an EHS Software
EHS software is continuously becoming a hit for more businesses who want to maintain compliance and prevent incidents like injuries, illnesses, and hazardous releases in the environment. Thus, it is no longer surprising how EHS software is flooding the current online market. Most of them vary in terms of price and features but business owners are advised to make sure that majority of the features in their chosen EHS software will definitely be of great use for their company. Huge options are just a google away but it must take numerous considerations before finding the best one.
Besides affordability and quality of an EHS software, other essential factors that should be taken into account before buying an EHS software are listed below:
Just because the EHS software is priced within the affordable range, it does not necessarily mean it is a good deal worth grabbing. Cheap price tag could imply that the software has limited features or functionalities or it could be because the software provider is just starting up and it is selling it at an affordable price as a part of its introductory promotional stunt. Nonetheless, this does not guarantee the reliability of the software.
Before buying, make sure that the EHS software you are considering is developed by a reputable software provider with excellent track record. You would know that the software company is a good choice if it has awards, certifications, or recognitions to show and these are posted on their website. This is also the time where you should use feedbacks and reviews to base your decisions on.
Before you decide on buying a particular EHS software, make sure you already have taken a look at the features it offers. Always look for a digital solution that is user friendly but is powerful enough to function as required.
An EHS software is either packed with basic features or it has advanced features to offer on top of its basic functions. It is okay to fall for the latter but do note that more likely than not, these digital solutions are priced according to their featured functions and if you are to invest a huge amount for it, might as well make sure you can really utilize these extra features in the company.
The nature, size, and requirements of your business may change over time. If your business is just starting up, you will want to buy an EHS software that is scalable should you decide to venture into other market. The EHS software should be able to adapt to whatever situation you are in. If it can, you will no longer need to buy a new one each time your business changes.
Although you can find a lot of EHS software providers in the market today, it is not a guarantee that you will find a software that has all the EHS tools your company will need. If you want to use one platform for the entire business operations, you should consider choosing an EHS software that is integration-ready with third-party applications especially those HR related. This facilitates a more flexible EHS management.
Reliable Technical Support
Regardless of the EHS software’s price or number of features it has to offer, the likelihood of you or your EHS staff encountering technical issues, e. g. glitches, bugs, or user errors, is still there. Though EHS matters do not require urgency, downtimes can still take a toll on a company’s EHS efforts. This is where reliable technical support becomes vitally important.
A good EHS software provider must have 24/7 chat and phone support, responsive email support, video tutorials, customer trainings, or other protocols that can fix issues immediately.
Timely Software Updates
An EHS software is supposed to alert users whenever there are changes in the government’s EHS regulations. Hence, it is vital that you choose one that provides timely software updates.
A good EHS software offers all the things you need for a streamlined and more efficient EHS management at a very reasonable price.
The Importance of EHS Software Usability
Utilizing an EHS software for a company’s EHS management can be hard for a lot of reasons however. One of the common failure causes is poor user adoption; if employees are struggling in using it, then the purpose may be bound to fail.
In this digital age, end users prefer a simple, intuitive system above anything else. This is probably why Amazon has become a hit, e.g. buying from it takes no effort in terms of navigation and usability.
Developing or purchasing an EHS software solution for EHS management should not be easy after all as there are a number of factors that can make or break the user experience. EHS software should work according to the requirements the management defines while taking into account the end users’ preferences as well. Otherwise, user adoption will fail and the purpose of investing in an EHS software will be ruined.
If users avoid the software, then it is one strong sign of low adoption and this can worsen the issue. EHS software are supposed to strengthen the implementation of standard EHS operating procedures in a company. If the software is unwieldy, it can draw users away or push them to skip vital steps that could significantly decrease organizational risks.
Eradicating Poor User Adoption
Usability protocols have been identified ever since the era of digital solutions began. If you are to gauge each of your EHS software options, you might want to look into the following factors:
This identifies whether the EHS software enables users to share their work or open it for review, comments, and approval.
This looks into the software’s speed performance and reliability regardless of the size of data being processed or the number of users accessing the system simultaneously.
This gauges the average learning curve of users.
This assesses the intuitiveness of the system and if there is a help feature.
- Value or the presentation of EHS-relevant data and how these can aid in EHS managerial decisions