Many people are interested in an organization’s approach to laboratory environmental health and safety (EHS) management including laboratory personnel; customers, clients, and students (if applicable); suppliers; the community; shareholders; contractors; insurers; and regulatory agencies. More and more organizations attach the same importance to high standards in EHS management as they do to other key aspects of their activities. High standards demand a structured approach to the identification of hazards and the evaluation and control of work-related risks.
A comprehensive legal framework already exists for laboratory EHS management. This framework requires organizations to manage their activities in order to anticipate and prevent circumstances that might result in occupational injury, ill health, or adverse environmental impact. This chapter seeks to improve the EHS performance of organizations by providing guidance on EHS to integrate EHS management with other aspects of the organization.
Many features of effective EHS management are identical to management practices advocated by proponents of quality assurance and business excellence. The guidelines presented here are based on general principles of good management and are designed to integrate EHS management within an overall management system.1 By establishing an EHS management system, EHS risks are controlled in a systematic proactive manner.
Within many organizations, some elements of EHS management are already in place, such as policy and risk assessment records, but other aspects need to be developed. It is important that all the elements described here are incorporated into the EHS management system. The manner and extent to which individual elements are applied, however, depend on factors such as the size of the organization, the nature of its activities, the hazards, and the conditions in which it operates. An initial status review should be carried out in all organizations that do not have an established EHS management system. This initial status review will provide information on the scope, adequacy, and implementation of the current management system. Where no formal management system exists, or if the organization is newly established, the initial status review should indicate where the organization stands with respect to managing risks.
Figure 2.1 illustrates the major elements of an EHS management system.
2.A.1 Environmental Health and Safety Policy
Top management should set in place procedures to define, document, and endorse a formal EHS policy for an organization. The policy should clearly outline the roles and expectations for the organization, faculty, EHS personnel, and individual employees or students. It should be developed in communication with laboratory personnel to ensure that all major concerns are adequately addressed.
The EHS policy should state intent to
• prevent or mitigate both human and economic losses arising from accidents, adverse occupational exposures, and environmental events;
• build EHS considerations into all phases of the operations, including laboratory discovery and development environments;
• achieve and maintain compliance with laws and regulations; and
• continually improve EHS performance.
The EHS policy and policy statement should be reviewed, revalidated, and where necessary, revised by top management as often as necessary. It should be communicated and made readily accessible to all employees and made available to relevant interested parties, as appropriate.
2.A.2 Management Commitment
Management commitment to EHS performance is widely recognized as one of the elements most critical to EHS program success and to the development of a strong culture of safety within an organization. Therefore, the management system document establishes management commitment with a formal statement of intent, which defines examples of how performance goals are supported. Examples of how this commitment is supported include the following:
• Establish methods to use energy more efficiently, reduce waste, and prevent accidents.
• Comply with laws, regulations, and organizational requirements applicable to their operations.
• Improve EHS performance continually.
• Conduct periodic assessments to verify and validate EHS performance.
Planning is an integral part of all elements of the management system and to be effective involves the design and development of suitable processes and
1A general definition of a management system is “a series of elements for establishing policy, objectives, and processes for implementation, review, and continual improvement.”