Environment, health and safety (EHS) professionals know their job isn’t simply achieving compliance, but rather sustaining compliance in an ever-changing regulatory environment. But staying on top of changing regulations and requirements is difficult at best.
For tech companies with facilities around the world, the challenge to stay current on changing requirements can be incredibly complicated. From ambiguity to breaks in communication, it’s critical for companies to have the tools and protocols in place to manage change so they can sustain compliance, keep their employees safe, and avoid potential damage to their brand.
Below we offer some tips and best practices tech companies can use to manage compliance at their facilities around the world.
1. Develop an EHS compliance checklist for each facility
Creating a tailored EHS checklist for EHS managers and facility managers on the ground will keep compliance priorities accessible and top of mind.
Consider using a cloud-based platform as a home for your checklists and any other related materials. Each global facility will have unique requirements, so it’s critical that updates can be made quickly and easily as changes come through.
2. Create a system for staying current on new regulations and changes
Despite your best efforts, things can get missed when offices and facilities are operating thousands of miles away from corporate headquarters.
Create a detailed workflow that maps roles and responsibilities at every level. In addition, develop a system to ensure that responsibilities are agreed upon by all parties, actions are completed on schedule, and results are documented and communicated. This will not only help you stay on top of changing regulations, but also defend against communication breakdowns and make sure every team member is educated on their role as it relates to global protocols.
3. Create a company culture around EHS
Making EHS an integral part of your company’s culture can drive employee understanding of what EHS is, why it’s important and how they can contribute to creating a safer and healthier environment.
Blending EHS into your company culture will take a collective effort, but begin by getting buy-in from top leadership and executives. Use data to show that EHS programs not only keep employees safe and facilities in compliance, but can also positively impact productivity and profits. Getting leadership onboard will give your EHS programs credibility and momentum throughout the entire organization.
4. Invest in management tools, technology and services
When you’re managing compliance across multiple facilities and countries, EHS compliance management software and EHS regulatory subscriptions can help you improve EHS visibility, establish accountability and collect important data. Before choosing a software system or regulatory subscription, look for an integrated system, read reviews and ask for a free trial so users can test the system.
While hiring an outside firm is an additional upfront cost upfront, it’s typically cost-effective in the long run. Building an in-house team of experts that encompasses the knowledge of an entire firm can be cost-prohibitive and time consuming. When researching firms, look at customer testimonials and case studies to learn more about their reputation and approach to EHS.
5. Review and share incident and near miss data regularly
Incident and near miss data provides the insights you need to know what is actually happening on the ground, helping you ensure compliance and find opportunities for improvement.
Don’t just focus on the number of incidents. Track what people are doing to prevent incidents, too. When you’re able to pinpoint what’s working to prevent incidents, you can develop processes to ensure that those proactive activities continue to happen. And share information between facilities to share the learnings.