When you run a business, you have a lot on your plate. There are so many things to keep in mind, and before making any decision, you have to carefully weigh what the consequences might be. Sometimes, a certain choice can help you improve your sales, but it might have a detrimental effect on working conditions and cause your employees to become stressed or overworked. Making a wrong decision can cause you to succeed on one side and meet with failure on another.
Enter Environment, Health and Safety, commonly referred to as EHS. In today’s business world, when ethics and fair practices are becoming increasingly important, it is a vital aspect for the well-functioning of any company. Entrepreneurs look to make it a core aspect of their enterprise and incorporate it into their overall development strategy. But what is EHS exactly, and how is it set to evolve over the future? Let’s have a closer look at the facts.
The history of EHS
In the United States, the beginnings of EHS regulations appeared around the 1970s, with the introduction of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there were a series of industrial hazzards that resulted in disaster across the world. The Seveso disaster, which occurred at a small manufacturing plant roughly 20 km north of Milan, resulted in the exposure to dioxin of a large number of the residential population. The exact effects on health couldn’t be accurately determined, but it has been posited that the individuals who were exposed had a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The Bhopal disaster, which took place in 1984 in India, resulted in immediate death for nearly 4,000 people, as well as numerous long-term health conditions. The cause was a Methyl isocyanate leakage, a hazardous compound used in the production of adhesives and rubbers.
These incidents outlined the importance of safety for workers and the environment. The focus has been placed on promoting good working practices in the manufacturing process, the materials used, and post-use disposal or recycling. There should also be significant emphasis placed on how the work and conditions can impact the safety of the employees and the surrounding environment. Any leakage of dangerous substances from a manufacturing environment can result in significant pollution, which affects the surrounding residential areas.
The importance of EHS
EHS has surpassed its initial designation as a tool employed for the sole purpose of complying with regulatory measures to become a veritable necessity for any business that looks to grow and progress. From a financial standpoint, EHS simply makes sense. For example, cost-saving appliances are also likely to be more efficient, better for the environment, and also made out of materials derived from recycled materials or renewable sources. Moreover, failure to maintain working conditions within standards can result in compensation claims filed by employees who have become injured or saw their health deteriorate as a result of the precarious conditions. The fines that you can incur for not upholding regulations are also substantial, and if you’re just starting on the path of entrepreneurship, you don’t want to see your revenue go down the drain making up for penalties.
The EHS definition dictates that correct practices can not only protect but enhance your company’s reputation. In nowadays’ market, competition is fiercer than ever, and it’s undoubtedly set to become even more intense over the following year. With the current economic situation being decidedly unstable and with inflation raising the prices, many businesses are ousted out of business and forced to file for bankruptcy. As such, you need to use any tool at your disposal to gain an edge over your competitors.
Since the general public is becoming increasingly more aware of sustainability and what constitutes ethical business practices, buying habits have also changed. The modern customer is likely to skip your brand if they discover that you’re not as eco-friendly as you could be and that your employees aren’t treated appropriately. Given the wide range of options out there, there are plenty of competitors they can choose from. And since you don’t want to see another business stealing your clients, you must be ready to improve your business to raise up to the standards.
Important for your team
Having sound business processes isn’t only crucial for sales and retaining a loyal customer base. It also helps create a team of professional employees. Your company cannot progress unless you work with talented or knowledgeable people. Some of them may have already worked in the field and have experience, while others might be newcomers to the workforce market. Regardless of the case, the common denominator ought to be that everyone is willing to learn new things, develop, and offer their input in the process. You can obtain winning ideas for any of your employees, particularly in areas where they work and are, therefore, familiar.
Respecting EHS practices and procedures can also work as a sound recruiting tool. Employees, particularly those that are just taking the first steps into the job market arena, are determined to work for companies that treat them respectfully and emphasize the importance of a healthful balance between work and private life. And with a lot of employees quitting if they don’t feel well-respected, EHS can also act as a hedge against resignation. Workforce retention has been a challenge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, as workers have been dealing with the effects of burnout and considering a change of career following the confusing and troublesome years of the pandemic.
EHS is vital for businesses. It protects employees by ensuring ethical work practices are set in place. It keeps buyers happy as they know they’re spending their money on brands and retailers that respect their workers as well as the environment. In turn, these two aspects help maintain a good reputation in the business world, which is crucial for your long-term success. And when all these factors are grouped together, you’ll see that your business grows slowly but steadily.