5 Interesting Findings About 2017 EHS Priorities
In this post, we share the top five interesting findings about 2017 EHS priorities that caught our attention from the ISHN survey results. We also briefly explain the lesson that we can learn from each item.
1) Ergonomics Hazards Are the Most Serious Ones
The ISHN survey asked about the most serious hazards confronted by EHS professionals. The commonly cited hazards were: Ergonomics (cited by 44% of respondents), Falls (38%) and Hand and Arm Injuries (38%). The lesson is: an EHS management software should also help to keep your employees fit for work. Your EHS management program should cover ergonomics, but also occupational health and industrial hygiene. Give the “H” part of “EHS” the respect that it deserves!
2) Encouraging Safe Behaviors is a High Impact Challenge
The ISHN survey asked about “high impact” challenges facing EHS professionals in 2017. One of the challenges in first place (cited by 52% of respondents) is “Employee behavioral reliability / consistent safe behaviors”. The lesson is: companies should encourage workers to report observations. Implement a Behavior-Based Safety (BBS) process to capture and analyze at-risk and unsafe behaviors, in order to reduce them and better prevent incidents.
3) Making Safety as Important as Production is Also a High Impact Challenge
Another high impact challenge in first place (cited by 52% of respondents) is “Putting safety on equal footing with production”. The lesson is: despite the growing awareness around the importance of occupational safety, there are still too many instances where productivity takes priority, thus potentially leading to situations where people cut corners regarding safety. But safety and productivity do not have to be mutually exclusive. A study revealed that 83% of senior management and operations personnel have observed an increase in productivity over time due to the implementation of a safety program.
4) Building or Maintaining a Safety Culture is a Top Goal for 2017
The ISHN survey asked EHS professionals what they hope to accomplish in 2017, i.e. their goals. One of the goals in first place (cited by 56% of respondents) is “Build / maintain a safety culture”. The lesson is: the focus on safety should go beyond compliance, and also include the development or improvement of a safety culture that seeks buy-in from all levels of the organization, from the plant manager to the CEO. Make sure to take steps that cultivate an efficient safety culture.
5) Reducing Serious Injuries and Fatalities is Also a Top Goal for 2017
Another 2017 goal in first place (cited by 56% of respondents) is “Reduce serious injuries and fatalities”. The lesson is: some things never change, nor should they. All safety initiatives must contribute to achieve the same result: Reduce incidents, including accidents that lead to injuries and fatalities. Moreover, numbers of incidents, accidents, injuries and fatalities are lagging indicators that can be used to run correlations between lagging and leading indicators to evaluate the effectiveness of leading indicators.
Finally, it’s worth pointing out that three of the five items on the list (ergonomics, safe behaviors, safety culture) have one thing in common: proactive prevention of incidents. The ISHN survey results are encouraging because they show that most EHS professionals recognize the importance of implementing proactive and preventative initiatives to improve safety performance.
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