When Should Firms Tie EHS and Quality Together?

When Should Firms Tie EHS and Quality Together?

Author Peter Hargittay

Most of the time, organizations consider EHS, quality, and productivity as interfering with each other while they actually operate in harmony. Organizations must consider safety as an important component of their success.
Safety helps improve quality and productivity because unsafe operations aren’t well-managed, which impacts employee motivation. Both quality and productivity are affected when employees are unsatisfied and stressed. Whereas, when businesses are safe, employees can focus on achieving their mission. The safer a workplace is the less the organization experiences large-scale disruption.
Quality, on the other hand, also has an impact on safety and productivity; high-quality work means better products. When the quality of work is high, it can be assumed that the standards of the business are high as well, including safety equipment, safety software, and safety processes.
Productivity, however, improves both safety and quality, using appropriate safety processes. The more productive employees are, the less likely they are to cut corners on important things such as safety processes, and the more they are attentive to the quality of their work.
Therefore, the integration of EHS and the quality process has many benefits for your organization. Most importantly it allows for better cross-functional management. This is accomplished only when both functions use similar methodologies and tools to get to the objective.
However, it is important to pay attention to the following when considering both processes:

1- As we have already stated, safety and quality are tied together, even if it’s not stated obviously. Mainly the tie is happening informally. It is quite obvious, mostly in manufacturing industries where EHS managers are obliged to communicate constantly with quality managers about the production of new chemicals and their risks. In this example, with these two business processes working independently and coming together when necessary, this can sometimes lead to miscommunication between teams and affect quality.

2- When tying EHS and quality processes, improvements in communication will start to show immediately. What once were two different departments are now centralized within one system. By doing so, there will be no problems caused by miscommunication, and rapport will be easily diffused between team members. Also, uniting both teams together enables improved decision-making. Having different focus groups with the same information yet different points of view provides better solutions and process management. Firms will also experience efficiency benefits, as the number of similar tasks for EHS and quality management processes is reduced.

3- Both EHS and quality management affirm the importance of audits and investigative processes. EHS audits help ensure compliance, while quality audits require longer time frames and are conducted for entire processes. Even though there are differences in nuances between the two types of audits, they are both important, and the same applies to investigations. The tools required in both processes belong to EHS and quality systems, however, decentralization of quality and safety platforms will lead to the adoption of two different platforms to conduct similar tasks.
In other words, the compound benefits of coupling EHS and quality processes are:
– Addressing EHS and quality audit and inspection requirements in one report
– Having a centralized database of EHS and quality compliance across the firm’s supply chain
– Monitoring EHSQ documents on one single mobile app
– Monitoring assets, environment, and workers through IoT sensors

You should know that combining EHS and quality processes may not be beneficial for some kinds of industries, therefore, you should have some considerations before switching to EHSQ platforms.

When to switch to EHSQ?
You should first consider the importance of regulation and compliance for your firm and industry category. Many high–risk industries require high levels of regulation in both health and safety and quality elements. And regulatory bodies such as FDA and OSHA are ready to impose high fines for lack of compliance. Having one system able to account for multiple subsets of regulatory disciplines can lead to a better strategy adoption and reduce the likelihood of accidental regulatory defiance.
You should also pay attention to the ways vendors incorporate strategies to enable firms to implement EHSQ platforms. Because EHS and quality management can vary across the risk spectrum and one solution will not always fit.

EHS and quality requirements can be found in lower-risk industries as well. In a survey made by Verdantix 2021, 58% of respondents reported improving mental health and wellbeing management as a high priority in the coming two years, and 97% of respondents agreed that EHS would drive ESG initiatives over the next two years.

Different levels of EHSQ and Quality integration a Firm Can Adopt
– Low EHSQ Integration
Management of EHS and quality requirements via decentralized platforms.
Adoption of specialized and individual EHS and quality platforms.
EHS and quality processes operate in isolation.
– Medium EHSQ Integration
Partial integration between EHS and quality, where one function has limited functionality.
EHS and quality factions within a firm offer collaboration.
– High EHSQ Integration
Integrated EHSQ solution with native platforms, applications, and devices.
EHS and quality within a consolidated single business function.
Both EHS and quality evaluations feed directly into business decision-making.

Read Full Report by Verdantix.