Q&A: EHS Management Challenges
What are some of the critical environmental, health, and safety management challenges that companies are facing? What are emerging industry trends that organizations are implementing to address those challenges?
More and more frequently, companies are transforming the role of their EHS management organization to effectively meet the many challenges that affect business performance. These challenges include industry and supply chain consolidation, evolving technology, global market fluctuations, and labor force availability.
Organizations are integrating EHS management and compliance into their global business enterprise, and applying state-of-the-art tools and technologies to manage ever-changing regulatory requirements. Companies are also using this strategic approach to improve operational performance, reduce liability and risk exposure, decrease operational costs, and enhance brand reputation. This approach shifts an organization’s focus to a “value-creating” EHS management strategy.
Langan recently had a utility client who wanted to automate their data collection, information management, and compliance reporting efforts to strengthen their environmental compliance assurance processes and reduce the risk of non-compliance. Langan assisted the utility with developing and implementing a technology-driven compliance tracking and reporting system. The system optimized the EHS team’s effort to collect environmental data, assign compliance-related tasks to staff, and report regulatory compliance to agencies with the following features:
- Access and analysis of environmental sampling information originating in the utility’s Laboratory Information System (LIMS), as well as real time air and water quality parameters stored in an electronic library.
- Use of sampling results and real-time environmental data to determine sample schedule requirements through algorithms based on the existing environmental regulations and permits to determine compliance with the regulations.
- Identification of reporting requirements to regulatory agencies through algorithms based on the regulations and permits as well as issuing reminders to employees on pending compliance tasks and reports.
- Generation of compliance reports for submittal to regulatory agencies.
Langan’s development and implementation of our client’s environmental management system successfully standardized the utility’s business processes creating more consistent and transparent compliance activities. This system also increased the quality of data and information used for the utility’s compliance assurance and regulatory decision making.
Answer provided by Gary Bacon, PE, MBA
Gary has over 30 years of experience in environmental engineering, design, procurement, permitting, and compliance assurance for a broad range of industries. His experience also includes regulatory applicability determinations; environmental permitting; compliance audits; air emissions inventories; licensing support of energy facilities; and implementation of environmental, health, and safety (EHS) management information systems at public and private sector facilities located nationally.