Achieving and maintaining compliance with safety regulations is an unquestioned duty for any organization, but even companies that have compliance under control sometimes struggle to rise to the next level in occupational safety. EHS professionals can elevate their programs—and improve work habits, safety culture, and profits in the meantime—by applying a “risk lens” to their EHS practice, according to a new white paper from Workiva.
Applying a risk lens means looking beyond the prevention of accidents to focus on reducing the risks that have the potential to cause those accidents, and is the next step in continuous improvement for any EHS program. “If your EHS department doesn’t have the commitment or resources to effectively and quickly respond to worker EHS issues and doesn’t have the cooperation of senior and line management, then the workers will not believe that the company really cares about their safety,” says Robert Najjar, Ph.D., QEP, director of environmental health and safety with The Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.
According to the Workiva white paper, EHS departments can use the following tips to improve their EHS programs:
- Fostering employee engagement;
- Ensuring leadership buy-in;
- Becoming strategic;
- Employing pilot programs;
- Conducting comprehensive audits;
- Investing in systems and tools;
- Starting small;
- Making safety interesting.
Compliance will only take an EHS program so far. In order to create a superior safety program, EHS professionals must broaden their view and apply this risk lens to all programs, practices, and policies, Workiva suggests. As a result, this risk-based approach can have positive and far-reaching effects on workplace safety, performance, and culture.