The 2017 State of the EHS Industry at a Glance
In our pursuit of innovation and progress, the role of the environmental, health and safety professional has never been more apparent, or more critical than it is today. As in any industry, the responsibilities of those who work in EHS continue to evolve as a result of technological advancements, a constantly shifting regulatory landscape, and the emergence of new risks to employee health and wellness.
In an effort to benchmark some basic experiences, attitudes, and concerns, AIHA and Enviance, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider of EHS solutions, conducted the 2017 State of the EHS Industry Survey in the Spring of 2017. The goal of this survey was to gain a greater understanding of the issues impacting a company’s ability to keep employees healthy, safe, and productive.
The survey, which was conducted online, was completed by 744 EHS professionals between April 25, 2017, and May 10, 2017. After analyzing the report, we thought it would be helpful to outline the 10 most significant findings from the inaugural State of the EHS Industry Survey.
For more information, download an in-depth analysis of the 2017 State of the EHS Industry report.
- EHS professionals enjoy their work. When asked to rate their current level of job satisfaction, 50 percent of respondents cited that they were “satisfied,” and an additional 23 percent indicated that they were “very satisfied” with their EHS role and responsibilities.
- EHS professionals feel their position within their company is secure. When asked to rate job security based on current socio-economic conditions compared to two years ago, 59.2 percent identified that they felt their position was “similarly secure,” while another 22 percent indicated that they felt their job was “more secure.”
- Hazard identification tops the list of primary job responsibilities. Survey participants listed hazard identification (84 percent), training (81.5 percent), and job hazard/risk analysis (78.9 percent) as the top three job responsibilities. Other responsibilities including safety audits/inspections (72.6 percent), emergency preparedness (53.3 percent), and chemical management (52.4 percent) also ranked high.
- Chemical exposure and management are the top concerns among EHS professionals. When asked what they consider to be the most important issue facing their EHS program, 20 percent of respondents identified “exposure to toxic chemicals” as their greatest concern. An additional 13.5 percent identified “chemical management.” Collectively, chemical exposure and management represent 33.5 percent of respondents’ total feedback. It’s important to note that ergonomic stressors (16 percent) was ranked as the second biggest issue among EHS professionals.
- EHS professionals want stronger support from company leadership. Roughly one-third (32 percent) of respondents answered “stronger support and leadership from executive team” to the question, “In what area would you most like to see improvement in your organization/facility's EHS program?” Twenty-one percent of EHS professionals also identified that better training and investment in technology were equally important steps that could improve their organization’s EHS programs.
- EHS teams feel they are under-staffed. If leadership teams would like to improve their EHS programs, they might want to consider adding more staff. According to 33 percent of survey respondents, the most frequent complaint that EHS professionals hear from their colleagues is that they do not have enough staff or resources to complete a task. In addition to citing a shortfall in staff/resources, survey participants also listed inconsistent implementation of health and safety policies (24.4 percent) and poor communication from leadership (17.3 percent) as the most common complaints from colleagues.
- One-third of companies plan to increase the size of their EHS Department in the next 12 months. Despite the desire from EHS professionals to hire more staff for their departments, only 33 percent of respondents indicated that they (or their company) had plans to increase the size of their EHS team in the next 12 months.
- More than one-third of companies plan to hire EHS consultants in the next 12 months. When asked, “Does your company currently work with, or have plans to hire, a third-party safety, health and environmental consultant in the next 12 months?” 36.7 percent of respondents said “Yes.”
- A majority of respondents use EHS software to help manage their EHS program. With companies starting to embrace mobile apps, beacons, and drones as part of their EHS program, we wanted to gain a sense of how many companies were actually using EHS software. Close to 60 percent of respondents identified that they were using an EHS software.
- Incident and near-miss management was identified as the top task for using EHS software. Those who answered “yes” to using EHS software indicated that they use online tools for incident or near-miss management (46 percent), to perform safety audits and inspections (45 percent), and manage chemical inventory (39 percent).
If you have any questions regarding the 2017 State of the EHS Industry Report or would like to propose questions for a follow-up survey, please contact Sue Marchese at AIHA or Chris Carragher at Enviance.