Environmental, health and safety (EHS) managers face the formidable challenge of managing regulatory compliance, often across multiple facilities and with limited budgets, on a daily basis.
In a blog post, environmental consulting firm Antea Group highlights these challenges and provides tips for improving EHS management.
Air emissions and inhalation are high-risk areas for EHS managers. “Because of the relative ease with which hazardous and toxic chemicals can enter the air, inhalation usually becomes the first opportunity in the workplace to be exposed to an unsafe condition,” Antea says.
To help address potential unsafe conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified various types of Occupational Exposure Limits (OELs) involving respiration.
Air emission permitting, which in many cases must be obtained prior to building or installing the emission source, can also pose a business risk. Antea advises corporations start the air permit application process early because it can be a lengthy process.
“Between time needed to obtain the appropriate permit and/or to make the required modifications, your business could encounter lost time just when that great business opportunity walks through the front door, resulting in lost revenue,” the blog says.
Non-compliance with EHS regulations can result in costly consequences, including fines, stopped production, reputational damage, high employee turnover and workers compensation insurance, and even criminal charges — a threat Volkswagen executives are facing following the emissions cheating scandal.
Environmental enforcement actions alone cost companies $13.7 billion last year, according to the EPA’s annual tally.