Just like all the other professionals out there, the Environmental, Health, & Safety (EHS) profession changes with time too. If you wish to remain at the top of your industry, you must keep up with the latest trends. This allows you to implement the industry best practices ensuring you're always seen as an asset, not a liability, by your company. In addition, you’ll always be a pioneer when it comes to the safety of your employees.
To help you figure out what trends drove EHS professionals, I’ve put together this list of six trends that drove EHS professionals in 2019.
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and nearly 62% of businesses experienced phishing attacks in 2018. About 68% of organizations also feel that cybersecurity risks are increasing. However, on average, only 5% of companies are well-protected.
As a result, EHS professionals have started viewing cybersecurity as a part of safety too. This is because a cyberattack can pose a risk to your employees, assets, and even the environment. For instance, the NotPetya ransomware attack cost Merck over $300 million.
Similarly, a hacker disabled three offshore oil platform’s leak-detection system in 2009. Thankfully, there was no oil spill.
With the advent of IoT, more data and devices are becoming vulnerable to such attacks. This has led the EHS professionals to invest in cybersecurity measures to prevent cyberattacks.
In the US, musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), such as sprains from overexertion, account for 31% of all workplace injuries. Soreness and pain is the second most prominent injury and accounts for 16% of all the injuries. This can lead to a great loss of labor-hours. It also causes massive economic losses. In fact, the costs of treatments of MSDs were estimated to be $849 billion, which accounts for 7.7% of the GDP.
As a result, EHS professionals paid a lot of attention to ergonomics in the workplace. After all, when it’s executed correctly, it improves your employee well-being and the performance of your business. It’s essential to identify problems, provide relevant training, and encourage early reporting of MSD symptoms to reduce the damages.
3. EHS Spending
According to a Verdantix survey, worldwide spending on EHS was expected to increase by 4% in 2019. Additionally, 58% of businesses planned to invest in EHS software. With the widespread availability of cloud-based EHS software solutions, more companies are expected to adopt them. That’s because nearly 68% of EHS managers consider private cloud deployment as acceptable.
This is because these systems usually are affordable for small and mid-sized companies and can be implemented quickly too. As a result, 2019 saw the increased adoption of these technologies through increased spending to improve their preparedness for any emergency.
4. Risk Management
According to LNS Research, 78% of EHS professionals stated that risk management was crucial for their success. Additionally, 66% of those who planned to use software also stated it as the most critical area for EHS success.
There are a variety of risks that every organization runs, and thus, managing them well is of the utmost importance. Additionally, the risks can be both internal (e.g. workplace fire) and external (e.g. active shooter).
To manage these risks better, EHS professionals throughout the US are purchasing more EHS software such as mass notification systems. These can come in very handy during emergencies to inform all your employees about the issue instantly. Many of these systems have their smartphone versions as well, so that you can easily manage the risks.
The market for drones is expected to grow by 8.2 times in the coming decade in North America. According to the National Association for Environment Management (NAEM), nearly 14% of the surveyed companies are using drones for data collection, inspections, and EHS monitoring.
Drones can monitor a wide area quickly allowing for problems to be quickly identified and action to be taken that much sooner. This reduces the cost of containment too. Drones allow for a variety of capabilities like thermal imaging that can help you find victims in case of any disaster. At the same time, EHS professionals can equip them with emergency equipment such as defibrillators to improve their response to health-related emergencies. Their usage growth has been especially rapid in the construction, mining, and agriculture industries.
6. ISO 45001
ISO 45001 is an international standard published in 2018 that specifies the requirements for the Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Management System. It’s designed to enable organizations to improve their safety to prevent injuries and health-related emergencies.
According to this provision, the responsibility of safety is not entrusted to a single person or team. Instead, the entire framework is designed such that all risks are assessed beforehand. This is in stark contrast to working backward once the events have unfolded. At the same time, this framework puts the responsibility on safety leaders on all levels. Major companies like Toshiba America Business Solutions have adopted this standard, and more companies are thus expected to adopt it soon too.
EHS professionals need to constantly be on the lookout for new technology that can improve the safety of their employees, assets, and environment. As a result, in 2019, EHS professionals adopted more technology to manage risks better. At the same time, they paid more attention to ergonomics and cyberattacks too. The usage of drones increased, and many major corporations adopted the latest ISO 45001 standard in 2019 for preventing injuries at the workplace.
What are the other EHS trends that drove you in 2019? Let me know in the comments.