Keeping environmental, health and safety (EH&S) compliance goals a consistent priority can be challenging. Productive and profitable commerce keeps a company in business and while that aspect is no doubt important, some organizations drift off target when it comes to balancing shareholder interests against other stakeholders. There are many variants that cause such problems. Sometimes companies simply fail to properly recognize EH&S as value added. Or companies try to implement and manage an EHS management system that may not fit their needs or is simply too grandiose to be practical. In other instances, some companies sort of scramble to manage an EHS program and end-up either reacting to one crisis after another or maybe switching out systems expectations are not met. In that case, there is often a chain of failed attempts to implement an effective EHS program if only because there is a lack of commitment and patience and also effective EHS administration. There are other reasons why EHS programs falter or languish. In a recent case, one company president noted that because a workplace accident occurred despite their best efforts to prevent them, he lost interest in being a champion of EHS and consequently for a time, the program became all but invisible.
Bottom line, an effective and value-added EHS program requires careful crafting and consistent application. It also requires patience and especially in the health and safety realm, there is an often-overlooked vital element to administration and success of the program. An effective EHS management system must key in on and utilize dynamic use of the human element; aspects such as: social dynamics, group cooperation, training and comprehension, consequences for failure and even psychology. You can’t force a management system on people and expect the same level of benefit and utility when stakeholders have little or no say.