EHS stands for Environment, Health, and Safety. EHS software can be vaguely defined as an enterprise solution driven by a background database application that covers many areas of business such as the environment and management of waste, safety and general health of the employees, customers, and other related personnel, and industrial hygiene. A company often assigns a person to manage EHS. This manager is typically tasked to oversee the gathering and storing of EHS data for his/her company using the EHS software. Another aspect of an EHS manager’s job is to use the EHS software to create reports relevant to EHS. These reports are obtained from mining data, risk analyzing and trending over long periods of time. It is the EHS manager’s responsibility to ensure the company’s compliance, risk limitation and cost-cutting corporate-wide using EHS software as the main tool.
Normally covers broad fields. Because of this, it is typical for EHS software to be developed and sold modularly. These modules are used to deal with industrial hygiene, occupational health and safety, medical, environment, and waste disposal management. There is a number of modules that EHS software offers. These includes modules ranging from the collection of air quality testing information, MSDS(Manage Material Safety Data) management, general health monitoring, safety monitoring, parking collision mitigation and permission acquisition, electrical wiring safety, office space ergonomics analysis, incident reporting and investigation, personal protective equipment monitoring, liquid waste spill analysis, solid waste management, gaseous emissions calculator and tracking, greenhouse gas monitoring and so much more.
It is common for EHS software, and truly, any form of enterprise software to involve discussions regarding software integration, database management, microservices, API development and the like. These are some of the methods that aim to create a central repository for all the data collected and stored by enterprise software. Usually, it is driven by one of the more common database providers like Oracle, Microsoft, IBM and popular open source solutions like PostGre, and MySQL. This is vital for the synthesis of information from data sets that are collected and gathered over time. Trends can be analyzed, while correlations can be studied. The company can then decide to act on them based on the findings. This specifically is the most important functions that the EHS software gives – Risk Analysis and Management.
Risk management is the collection of processes and exercises that allow a company to forecast possible dangers and pitfalls before proceeding. The main goal of risk management is to reduce uncertainty before making major decisions. In EHS, risk involves the chance of damage done on the health and wellness of people, and the possible negative environmental effects done by the company. The proper use of EHS software is crucial to the success of an EHS policy. EHS software allows the visualization of current company practices and can then simplify policy making to change EHS towards company benefit. This can only be possible using an EHS software that is properly integrated into a central database system and rigorous data gathering and information interpretation.
EHS software Implementation
Oftentimes, part of the hassle of implementing an overall enterprise solution is having to integrate the pre-existing separate software systems and making sure that they all work together. It is not so different from EHS software. From the get-go, these applications should be able to work independently of each other, but once it is successfully implemented, the real value should arise through cross-system analysis, data mining and information synthesis. In simpler terms, this is like having your word processor application, interact with spreadsheet application concurrently and having the information centrally stored in a server using a database application. The challenge is to ensure each application are not working in conflict with one another yet they should be linked intelligently enough to be able to create valuable information that can only be generated by a successfully integrated enterprise system.
In installing an EHS system, it is important to note some important steps. These are:
- Planning and Analysis – Before choosing the which EHS solution that is right for you. You should take into account all the parties involved. Given that safety is everyone’s concern, this should include a whole lot of people. In particular, though, you should communicate with your health and safety officers to find out if they have particular needs that need addressing. The legal team whose main contribution to EHS is by keeping the company abiding with the state’s laws regarding EHS should be consulted as well. It is important that you find out if the EHS software you are procuring is currently up to date on the current legislation. It is a good idea as well to look for EHS software that can be easily configured so as not to hit a wall when trying to update to meet future demands.
- Deployment – During installation, there are a few things that you have to keep in mind. First of all, you should know what environment the application will run on. This includes a survey of the operating system, the needed drivers and runtimes, and devices as well. There is a good chance that you have to upgrade your computer systems should you buy top of the line EHS software. And you should do so as well. Keep in mind that updating your software platform is a security requirement that should be diligently looked after.
- Legacy migration – If you already have a working software system and only wish to upgrade. You should find out first and foremost how to transfer this information to the new system. This is not always easy to do. So, short of trying to manually enter all the values, you should ask the supplier to create the scripts for you for the extra payment that they might charge you.
- Training – Much like a weapon, software is only as good as the person who wields it. Make sure to train your employees on how to use the application and to set up protocols should a system fail for any reason.