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The environment is one of the most invaluable resources of your business, and without it, life probably would not exist on earth. We depend on the planet for a home, water, food, and so much more.
As a business owner, you are using the environment’s resources (raw materials, water, air, the land that your business is currently sitting on) to keep your venture running to generate profit. You also require a dedicated team of employees to keep all the functions in your business that you are not qualified to handle running.
ESH has two major dimensions that are critical for proper business operations:
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1. Occupational Health & Safety
Occupational health and safety seeks to ensure that the business environment for both employees (regardless of position) and visitors is a place where they can carry out their daily activities without the threat of any injury, whether in the short or long-term.
Workplace safety is incredibly important, especially for your employees. Health and safety are some of the most important factors influencing the productivity and wellness of both employers and employees.
Every person in an ESH career will tell you the importance of occupational health and safety.
Is it your moral obligation
Even though you pay your employees for the services they provide you with, you also owe them the right to go home every day in perfect health. Every employee that goes home has a family and friends, and it would be a disgrace to your company if they ended up in the hospital due to an accident that could have been prevented.
Any accident that may occur in a factory, extraction, construction, or any such site often leaves the affected people with a severe sense of loss. Even worse, such incidents can be fatal, and human loss is immeasurable and unbearable for family, friends and you as an employer. As an employer, you should devote resources and time to identify the most potent risks in your company to keep your employees as safe as possible.
The management should involve the employees in identifying the areas that concern them the most to ensure that the safety measures they put in place are relevant and practical. To provide you with insight into what an OSHA-compliant company includes in its environmental health and safety campaign, below are a few pointers:
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Discourage Wrong Tool Usage
Often, employees use shortcuts to reduce their workload or level of discomfort, in the name of efficiency. Qualified ESH consultants will advise your employees against such behaviour as it can often lead to disaster.
Such a policy will highlight the right tool or equipment for each process and job, thus reducing the possibility that an accident may occur. Supervisors will also be bound to ensure that such inappropriate equipment use does not occur.
It ensures the availability of emergency exits
The workplace is a place where accidents may occur while employees least expect it, and emergency exists will make it easier for as many employees to get away and survive any incidents unscathed. Such exits must always remain clear of any debris, materials, machinery, or other blockages that may make them ineffective.
The Use of Mechanical Assistance
Lifting heavy equipment or inventory is another main cause of workplace injury and daily discomfort, such as back and neck pain. Environmental health and safety guidelines encourage the use of forklifts, conveyor belts, or dollies to lift and move heavy items. These tools eliminate the risks of back pain or spinal disk displacement, muscle displacement, or even the loss of the load itself in case the employee carrying it drops it.
Involves the supervisors
Your supervisors have a huge role to play in ensuring employee safety. As the immediate superior, they are legally bound to ensure that all staff working with them are in a safe working environment. They, as well as the people holding es&h jobs and ESH careers at your company have a role to play in workplace safety. They must also listen to employees’ grievances to understand the hazards they face at work and what can be done to eliminate them.
Includes the importance of alerts and signs
If a certain room has the risk of leaking carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, yet highly toxic gas, a new employee or visitor may not know the massive hazard that lurks in such a place unless there is a notice at the door and even inside. Such risks are only mitigated by notices and warnings.
What’s more, if employees and visitors are not alerted to the existence of such notices, they may not see the warnings, leading to disaster.
Proper PPE Usage
Personal protective gear such as helmets and lab coats are a must-have for employees working in high-risk places like environmental high-tech engineering. Employers are required to provide these to all employees and visitors in their workplace.
These protect them from spills, biohazards, radioactive waste, noise exceeding 80 decibels, and other dangers that make the sites harmful. The employers must also ensure that this personal protective equipment is in excellent shape, is replaced as required, and available for all personnel regardless of their position.
All employees that spend their shifts seated must be provided with ergonomic chairs to provide them with comfort over the period they will be working. They must also be taught to adjust these seats to use them appropriately and how to keep a proper posture.
Hunching the back, bending, stooping, and twisting are all harmful for the back and neck. Training to show employees the importance of keeping their equipment close in reach will also avoid reaching forth and twisting, which may cause pain.
Breaks for employees in noisy, energy-intensive workstations are important to ensure they get sufficient rest from the potentially stressful and overwhelming environment. These breaks will also boost productivity.
Occupational health and safety is essential to reduce workplace stress, keep the best employees on your staff, and for compliance. As a forward-looking company, you must go the extra mile on the compliance guidelines from OSHA and EPA to motivate your staff and maintain a spotless corporate image.
2. Environmental Health & Safety
Most businesses are also looking into their eco-friendliness to boost corporate image and remain in good standing with customers that place environmental responsibility above all else. Today, businesses that pose a severe threat to the environment include:
All Of them
This may not sound like something you want to hear. However, as long as you are a business with employees that use various means to get to work and energy to manufacture your products, you are harming the environment. EPA estimates that the commercial use of energy in electricity generation, industrial processes product transportation, and other functions make up for almost 30% of the US’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
There is one distinguishing factor: are you willing to reduce the impact you are having on your environment? Are you willing to do and be better?
What gets measured gets done
You may have heard this mantra being used in business, and it is not a cliché, not if you are talking about the impact of business activities on the environment. If you are running your business operations with little regard or awareness of your carbon footprint, you are among the businesses that are harming the environment.
For instance, if you run a massive facility and use energy to keep it warm in the winter and cool in the summer, you are pumping massive quantities of particulates and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, all of which contribute to poor air quality. Oil, gas, electricity, and coal come directly or indirectly from fossil fuels, which are irreplaceable, and failing to measure and take steps to reduce their consumption has harmful short-term and long-term effects on the environment.
Another way in which you may harm the environment is by operating in buildings that do not meet the EPA standards. By choosing a particular building to escape paying a larger amount of rent, you probably make up for it with a larger electricity bill and escape your green responsibilities as well.
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle
Reducing, reusing, and recycling materials and utilities are among the best ways to save the already struggling environment. Many businesses believe that they have the most robust of recycling policies but fail to look at small areas such as their paper usage and the impact of their quality assurance policies. Paper usage in business results in heaps of it in landfills, yet it is possible to reduce this paper usage by going paperless.
Another area where businesses fail is in quality control and warranties; too much product is going to waste while it may be recycled back into the manufacturing process. Other defective products that can be dismantled and reused in making new products end up rejected, with customers piling up electronics that they will never get used. While these are clearly indicated not to be discarded in bins, disgruntled customers are often left with little choice.
The impact of standard business hours
Standard hours are among the biggest threat to the planet, with the levels of nitrous oxides, carbon monoxide, and particulates being known to rise dramatically during the ‘rush hours.’ During rush hours, your employees, as well as those of millions of other companies in the country, are scrambling to get to work or get home on time using all forms of transportation.
Every Monday to Friday, subways, buses, cars and other vehicles choke up the atmosphere twice a day, using up tons of fossil fuels and releasing equally massive amounts of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases and particles.
As an individual business, you will make a great difference by choosing to have your staff come in and leave at hours outside these standard business hours; you make a choice to reduce these emissions, as well as their exposure to these substances.
What’s more, you will make their lives infinitely easier, as travel is cheaper and less stressful outside the hours preferred by many as the “standard hours.” You will also agree that the standard business hours are not always most convenient for your clients or employees.
Green Management is a must-have for optimal business practices
Most businesses focus more on the short-term benefits that exploiting the environment brings. Whether you are a small business or a massive, well-established enterprise, you can start making a difference by choosing more sustainable business practices.
As seen above, there are many aspects of running a business that you may not notice that are causing the environment a significant amount of harm.
Hire Professional ESH Consultants
Bringing a professional environmental health and safety consultant on board is your best shot at eliminating any and all business processes and practices that harm the environment. We at Safe T Professionals are an es&h consulting and training group with a team of scientists, engineers, and ESH construction professionals that will adequately handle your environmental safety and health concerns.
From immediate threats, the aftermath of a terrible accident, or the development of a robust environmental health and safety strategy for short or long-term use, you can rely on our es&h environmental services.
With a proper ESH Consult, you will be better equipped to evaluate and manage any issues with compliance or staff exposure, as well as avoid or minimize unexpected environmental health and safety-related events that may have a severe impact.
We also have a database of qualified persons seeking es&h careers and es&h jobs that will make the implementation of OSHA guidelines seamless.
With our ESH audit, your business will be better equipped to make a more robust and comprehensive green business strategy. It will also be easier to involve your employees, especially those in ESH jobs, to reduce, reuse, and recycle as many resources as possible.
It is possible for your business to be more carbon neutral and triple zero (zero waste, zero accidents, and zero delays). By aiming for this monumental achievement, you will become a better and bigger supplier of choice for your customers.