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No EHS Department Is an Island

No EHS Department Is an Island

Any organization that excels in EHS management only can do so if it incorporates all workers – including contractors and other third-party employees – into the equation.

The chain of links in this graphic below shows the complex web of relationships around EHS.

For example, hazardous-materials management deals with substances that present risk for the company, its employees and the environment. The same substances become an integral part of the exposure profiles in industrial hygiene as soon as people are exposed to them. 

The exposure profiles within health-risk assessments and information from human resources together form the basis for medical protocol planning in occupational health. There also is a clear link between waste management and hazardous-materials management, since hazardous substances often end up as waste, and this waste often has to be handled as a special form of hazardous substance. Waste management also is connected to purchasing and material management, to a certain extent, in terms of the procurement of waste-disposal services and the storage of waste.

Furthermore, the financial dimension of waste disposal is important, since waste-management costs contribute to overall material costs and can influence purchasing decisions regarding alternative substances. As a result, it's necessary to link this component with cost accounting and financial accounting. Waste Management also incorporates environmental compliance, i.e. legal reporting with respect to appropriate waste disposal.

The aftermath of an incident often brings numerous other functional areas into play, including claims management, disability management and return-to-work. Injuries and subsequent medical treatment necessitate the involvement of occupational health – for example, information about the injuries and first-aid treatments that are needed as input for incident reporting.

The link between incident management and industrial hygiene is especially important as a principal trigger of incident prevention, since the incidents, hazard reports and near-miss reports are a key starting point for corrective-actions measures designed to make work areas safer.

There also is a strong link between the areas of disability management, human resources and occupational health. The reintegration strategies for co-workers with restrictions are compiled in cooperation with reintegration managers, human resources and occupational health, along with additional input from industrial hygiene such as information about exposures in alternative work areas.

Human resources is interlinked with many functional areas in EHS related to the workforce – namely any area that deals with safeguarding employees. There also is a link to third-party management, since whatever applies to in-house employees also applies to external employees such as contractors.

There's another interface that should be mentioned: the human interface. Any organization that excels in EHS management only can do so if it incorporates all workers – including contractors and other third-party employees – into the equation. Integration of people should be a core element of the EHS management system from the very beginning.


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