EHS management faces significant challenges: New and potentially hazardous chemicals are present in the workplace in ever-increasing amounts, while corporate investment in industrial hygiene programs is on the decline. Faced with increased risks and smaller budgets, managers are turning to EHS software for solutions to safety and industrial hygiene (industrial hygiene is the science of protecting and improving the safety and health of a workforce).
What is EHS Software?
EHS software stands for Environmental, Health, and Safety software. The software is an EHS management system designed to streamline hazard assessments, ensure compliance, review safety metrics, and schedule employee training, among other features. Here’s a list of seven ways an EHS management system helps you monitor and enforce safety and industrial hygiene:
EHS software provides employees with the tools needed to take real-time action regarding safety and hygiene. As employees can access EHS software through their own smartphones and mobile apps, they can quickly perform acts that would have previously required laborious paperwork, including:
- Reporting near-miss events.
- Implementing stop work interventions in response to safety issues.
- Identifying preventative actions to prevent future safety issues.
- Sharing safety suggestions.
- Conducting safety assessments.
- Filling out compliance reports in a timely fashion.
EHS software helps identify exactly what chemicals and hazardous substances are present in the workplace and in what amounts. Such information is vital for accurately written hazard communication plans, safety data sheets, and workplace labels. A thorough understanding of your chemical inventory is also needed to meet regulatory requirements and train employees in the identification and response to hazardous substances.
An EHS management system makes it possible to track “hidden hazards,” such as the chemicals present in pre-made substances used in the workplace, whose product names may not indicate the presence of hazardous substances that require regulatory compliance.
The most efficient step in the hierarchy of controls is to remove hazards from the workplace. EHS software helps limit exposure to hazards by generating approval workflows.
Approval workflows require sign-off by authorized personnel before a hazardous substance is used or enters into the workplace. You can also use EHS software to alert employees to hazardous products that are banned from the facility.
Forming SEGs (Similar Exposure Groups) is a cost-efficient alternative to assessing the risk exposure of individual employees. EHS software can identify employees with similar exposure to workplace hazards, location, and job tasks.
SEGs make it easier to identify employees who require medical surveillance, qualitative exposure assessments, specific safety training, and other important industrial hygiene activities. In the case of medical or legal inquiries, SEG reports act as documentation of exposure histories.
An industrial hygiene sampling plan requires an up-to-date inventory of hazardous materials and exposure assessments. An EHS management system provides such information.
You’ll also be able to answer questions from compliance officers immediately, whether they want to know the date of your last exposure assessments or the nature of any chemicals recently added to your inventory.
OSHA requires employees to receive training on health hazards, physical dangers, proper storage and disposal, and emergency response before working in hazardous conditions.
A robust EHS management system will include access to online training and tutorials so employees can access training when and where they need it. Additionally, EHS software helps schedule essential safety training, generates notifications regarding training deadlines, documents completed training, and provides certifications to employees upon successful completion of training programs.
Employees have the right to access EHS sampling results. EHS software increases the transparency of your health and safety program. The system can also send automated notifications of sampling and monitoring results in compliance with certain standards.
Should an employee request exposure and/or medical records, OSHA requires such records to be delivered within 15 days. With an EHS system, honoring such requests occurs automatically, while flagging situations in which notifications should be sent.Need more information on EHS management software? Check out our Employee Safety and Performance Software for insights into how environmental, health, and safety software can benefit your facility.