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EHS Managers: Properly Analyze Incidents for a Healthy Management of Your Organization

24 October 2018

EHS Managers: Properly Analyze Incidents for a Healthy Management

Incident management for a Health, Safety and Environment manager has several components, including important aspects of compliance, costs and due diligence. 

In the role you have been given, you must ensure that your organization complies with the laws and regulations regarding incident reporting. In addition, you must compile, analyze and control the costs associated with incident management. You are also asked by your organization to do everything in your power to maintain all defenses and ensure due diligence. 

1. Incident Management: Compliance with Laws and Regulations 

In terms of environment, health and safety (EHS), organizations must comply with the recordkeeping laws and regulations. Your organization must know which authorities to report the incidents to and fill in the required reports within the stipulated time. 

The more geographically spread out your organization is, the more complex this task becomes, especially when you must perform a regulatory watch. The authorities will change, the amount of reports will increase, and the deadlines will vary. Moreover, in some countries, you must comply with regional and local laws in addition to national laws. 

Evidently, reports are domain-specific. There are “health and safety” and “environmental” reports. 

In short, compliance with laws and regulations requires constant monitoring, appropriate tools and a proactive team. 

2. Incident Management Costs 

Incident management costs mainly involve the time invested by your teams for the effective management of incidents. 

A lot of time is invested in incident management to: 

  • Declare the incidents
  • Gather the facts 
  • Investigate and analyze the facts 
  • Set up corrective and preventive actions
  • Communicate the lessons learned. 

In every organization, regardless of its business sector, time is a key factor. However, in terms of incident management, it is often necessary to invest a lot of time to go through all the steps mentioned above, to know the real extent of the deviations in your processes and procedures. By taking the time to thoroughly examine every situation, you will be able to prevent further incidents, which are more time consuming than the investigation itself. 

As an EHS manager, you also need to spend time on different tasks that involve costs for your organization, such as:   

  • Prepare reports, correct them and have them validated 
  • Build statistics and dashboards. 

The larger the business, the more complicated the task of compiling and analyzing costs. 

An incident management software will allow you to automate these processes so that you can focus on tasks that add value to your organization.  

Key Performance Indicators (KPI) in Incident Management

As mentioned earlier, your role as an EHS manager requires you to provide health, safety and environmental performance indicators. These often affect the management of incidents in some way. Some important indicators that can help to properly assess the condition of your program are given below:  

  • The number of incidents 
  • The frequency rate 
  • The number of days of absenteeism  
  • The severity rate of incidents 
  • The severity index 
  • The percentage of incidents investigated 
  • And the duration of investigations. 

By following the above, you can identify the areas where it will be more beneficial to invest time to improve your performance in incident management. Once again, using software can help you obtain that data in just a few clicks.

3. Due Diligence

You have ensured that compliance with laws and regulations is a priority, you manage your costs as per best practices, you conduct programs for prevention, training, equipment and safety products, but despite all of that, you may face an incident such as a death or a major spillage.

Due Diligence Defense 

The organization may be prosecuted for criminal negligence. In this case, it could rely on one or more defense arguments based on due diligence. 

Jurisprudence in EHS identifies three elements essential to this defense: foresightefficiency and authority. As EHS managers, you are responsible for providing the necessary tools to facilitate this defense. 

Obligations of an Employer: 

  • The employer has the obligation to identify the risks and to take the appropriate measures to eliminate them 
  • He must not ignore the risks. Ignorance is not a defense. He must issue guidelines to ensure that the risks he has identified do not result in an incident. He must adequately supervise the completion of the work 
  • The employer also has the obligation to effectively manage health and safety records. He must not only issue directives but must also provide the necessary tools to complete the work. He must ensure that the equipment is in good condition and ensure its maintenance 
  • Finally, the employer must exercise his right of management with authority, must not tolerate any breach of security rules and must not hesitate to impose sanctions. 

In Conclusion

Your role as a manager does not stop at ensuring that your health, safety and environment team effectively manages incidents that occur in your organization. You must also ensure consistent compliance with standards and laws, tightly manage costs, and provide due diligence to your organization. 

The use of a computerized system helps you in every step of this process, for example by speeding up the incident management process, maintaining data, speeding up communication between levels of the organization and also easy and fast creation of dashboards that help in decision-making. 

Contact the CONFORMiT team of experts for more information on incident management or for an assessment of your current situation.

Maxime Ouellet CGO CONFORMiT
Written by Maxime Ouellet