AHC Group

Coming of age for EH&S professionals

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Courtesy of AHC Group

If EH&S professionals are uniquely suited to serve as the corporation's external window on the world, its problem-solvers and visionaries, how can they get management to listen?

Having entered a new century, we find that we are no longer in the infancy of the EH&S movement in the United States, and some nations have advanced beyond our present level of care. In the U.S., we have experienced more than 30 years of aggressive advocacy, legislation and litigation in the name of environmentalism and employee and public protection, with many notable successes, such as much cleaner water and air throughout the nation. But, as we move forward, more will be expected and the rolls of the EH&S professionals will dramatically change. Thus, we must consider what management needs to hear from us, and how we can make ourselves heard.

Not surprisingly, it is clear that virtually every responsible corporation is diligently searching for the formula that will provide financial success with no negative EH&S consequences. Basic corporation mantra virtually always includes a statement of corporate vision that provides the corporation will ensure its activities protect the environment, the health and safety of its employees, its customers and the public in general. These statements have become so routine that they are a given. But, how they are implemented varies from company to company. All too often in its benchmarking exercises, AHC finds that corporate goals and objectives are top-down mandates that shape corporate structure and programs to achieve EH&S compliance without causing unacceptable harm to the bottom line. However, EH&S excellence is not often achieved by such mandates. Like seed, the concept of excellence must be planted throughout the entire organization and constantly nurtured to ensure that it is woven into the fabric of the entity, irrespective of who might be the CEO on a given day. And the planters of the concept will be the EH&S leaders of the future.

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