Sharing Is Caring: Knowledge Exchange Boosts EHS Competency And Compliance

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Sharing Is Caring: Knowledge Exchange Boosts EHS Competency And Compliance

Compliance can be a tough gig. Large firms often have multiple facilities spread across different countries. Each region has its own set of rules and regulations that organizations must comply with. In high-risk industries, these requirements are extensive as failure to meet them can have a stark impact on workplace safety. As a result, firms are subject to harsh penalties if they don’t achieve compliance.

EHS professionals play an important role in ensuring that organizations maintain compliance and avoid noncompliance risks. Various responsibilities include managing reporting deadlines and inventories for chemicals, collecting environmental data for Tier II reports, and maintaining Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) compliance. When these tasks are scattered across multiple solutions, it can be tough to remain up-to-date. Environmental compliance requires proactive planning, which helps relieve the heavy workload for EHS teams.

EHS professionals often struggle to gather accurate and timely compliance information. This is because data is collated from multiple facilities and often held across various software systems, becoming vulnerable to reporting errors and data silos. To solve these issues, firms could deploy a centralized EHS software system that unifies modules previously been held by several solutions. This gives organizations a single source of truth, ultimately increasing data validity.

In high-risk EHS industries, compliance reporting can become complex and detailed. For example, in Europe, firms that sell products with a registered substance of very high concern (SVHC) in their make-up must report the ingredient and possibly replace it. Regulatory bodies in both Europe and the US add new chemicals to this list each year. Teams gain the details of regulations like this – and other relevant compliance information – incrementally, as individuals amass their own knowledge banks that benefit not just the function but the entire organization. If an EHS team member decides to leave, then the firm also loses valuable industry-based knowledge. New team members may lack subject-matter expertise, which places the organization at risk of non-compliance, and in turn can harm its brand reputation. However, centralized EHS software systems consolidate vital information onto one platform that can easily be shared across the team. This reduces the time lost from employee turnover and enables new team members to pick up from where their previous counterparts left. EHS software firms have accommodated this by improving their product compliance capabilities. For example, EHS software vendor TenForce has partnered with compliance provider Enhesa to gain access to the latest regulatory content.

To avoid compliance-related data silos, EHS functions must connect with other departments across their organization. This includes educating colleagues on regulatory expectations and explaining how legislation can impact their daily tasks. This highlights the importance of EHS data and environmental compliance, as well as creating a stronger safety culture. Some EHS software vendors have built their solutions on common business applications to help increase this connectivity. Software providers ComplianceQuest and Pro-Sapien, for example, built their solutions on Salesforce and Microsoft 365 respectively. This means that EHS data stands alongside information from other departments, highlighting its importance and overlap.

As environmental awareness continues to grow, firms and EHS functions will have increased responsibility to meet ever-increasing regulatory requirements. To read more about EHS compliance, click here.

Zain Idris


Zain is an Analyst in the Verdantix EHS practice. His current research agenda focuses on total worker health and software vendor partnerships. Prior to this role, Zain completed an internship at Verdantix recording major mergers and acquisitions within each practice. Zain holds a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick.