25 Tips for EH&S Success
The duties of an EH&S professional can vary greatly depending on the size and nature of their organization; however, success is usually defined using similar variables, such as compliance, safety, and sustainability.
The following tips will help EH&S professionals achieve success and maintain a safe, compliant, healthy, and sustainable operation. Grouped into three segments (Safety, Waste Management, and General EH&S), these tips are meant to serve as stepping stones for EH&S success, and may not be applicable in every situation.
- Give positive recognition to those leaders in your organization who uphold safety in the lab and throughout your facilities.
- Have a near-miss program in place that includes reporting incidents and reviewing how to prevent similar situations in the future.
- Consider yearly purging of chemicals in your inventory; especially highly reactive, peroxidizable, and explosive materials. (High-Hazard Chemical Management Tips)
- Ensure weekly activation of plumbed eyewash and safety showers to meet ANSI standards. (More Eyewash & Safety Shower Best Practices)
- Review and evaluate your Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP) each year, and update if necessary.
- Conduct a written job hazard analysis for each operation to ensure that proper PPE is being used.
- Know the time limits on waste accumulation in your work areas, and make sure that you do not exceed the regulatory limit.
- If you are tracking waste generation manually, consider automating your system to save you time and energy.
- Utilize an electronic or web-based manifest, profile, inspection, and inventory tracking tool for centralized data collection and easy reporting. (Check out our cloud-based EH&S data management platform here)
- Don’t daisy chain extension cords in the lab.
- No open chemical waste containers in the lab! Do all researchers know about this rule and understand why it’s important?
- Label used oil containers/tanks with a “used oil” sign - pretty straightforward.
- Inspect hazardous waste storage areas every single week, or be subject to fines.
- As soon as a container has any sort of waste in it, it MUST be labeled.
- Have a hazardous waste minimization plan as required by the EPA
- Don’t just train your employees. Keep written records and determine competency of employees post-training.
- Know your lease agreement and completely understand the manager/tenant responsibilities.
- Avoid response paralysis/uncertainty during emergencies by having a contingency plan in place.
- Routinely inspect and maintain facility equipment such as oil/water separators, catch basins, and neutralization tanks.
- In healthcare, complete routine formulary reviews to ensure you’re aware of exactly what is “on your shelves.”
- When offering a material for transport back to a supplier, don’t rely on the supplier’s original DOT shipping determination. As the new offerer, you are now responsible for compliance.
- Understand potential hazards before discarding anything down a drain. For example, sodium azide can react with metals commonly found in plumbing infrastructure. (The Dangers of Sodium Azide in Plumbing)
- Consider a multi-media audit of your EH&S program to identify any areas of weakness, and benchmark your operation against industry standards and best practices.
- If a peroxide-forming solvent is necessary for a certain procedure, try to accurately estimate the amount needed for the procedure to avoid costly disposal of expired or unused amounts.
- If it is not absolutely necessary to ship a hazardous article or substance by air, then do not do so. Shipping hazmat by air drastically increases a shipper’s liability. (10 Ways to Minimize HazMat Shipping Liability)
If you have any questions about the above tips, please ask us here.
Please share any tips that you have in the comments below!