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10 EHS Trends to Watch in 2018

One of the ways EHS professionals stay relevant and valuable is by keeping on top of trends.

That’s true whether you’re looking for a new job or have worked in the same department for decades.

(By the way, knowing what’s new and next in your industry makes you sound more credible. That’s a surefire way to command respect and make sure your ideas are taken seriously.)

With that in mind, today’s post covers the top 10 EHS trends to watch in 2018.

1. EHS spending will increase — especially for technology

According to a recent survey by Verdantix, EHS budgets are expected to increase by about 5% in 2018. Investment in technology will fuel much of the expected hike. To that end, 42% of EHS directors plan to spend money on technology, while only 29% will ramp up investment on EHS consultants.

2. EHS directors will choose configurable, cloud-based software

The same survey by Verdantix found that EHS directors are looking for software that can easily configure to their specific needs. Specifically, these needs include safety, incident management, reporting, and analytics. The majority of EHS directors (78%) view cloud-based software as a viable option.

3. Companies will embrace voluntary environmental programs

Fewer, looser environmental regulations under this administration means that companies have to police themselves in order to reduce risk and meet consumer demands. Leading organizations will embrace voluntary environmental programs rather than relying solely on regulations to guide their performance.

4. More states will adopt cap-and-trade programs

In 2017, California, Virginia, and Quebec were among the regions where cap-and-trade programs were approved or expanded. Expect more states to adopt cap-and-trade programs in the coming year. While the formats vary, most states will use the revenue to fund technologies that further reduce emissions.

5. Smart PPE wearables and sensors will enhance safety

Companies will continue to adopt wearable tech and sensors to reduce costs, improve worker productivity, and prevent injuries. Among the trending technologies are eye tracking devices, indoor air quality monitors, smart containers that monitor hazardous materials for leaks, and protective clothing embedded with chemical, heat, and sound sensors.

6. EHS management will focus on prediction and prevention

In 2018, organizations will continue to focus on the use of leading indicators to drive performance. The most effective organizations will use a combination of lagging indicators to measure past performance and leading indicators to identify and control risks.

7. Leading organizations will implement climate risk management

The 2017 hurricane season was the most expensive in US history. That got many organizations thinking about the need for proactive climate risk management. In 2018, organizations that make climate risk management a priority will be in a better position to withstand its effects and and seize new business opportunities. Download our free guide, “Climate Risk Management: How to Climate-Proof Your Company”.

8. Mobile apps will improve efficiency

Smartphones help us manage our calendars, stay connected with friends, and even control our homes  — and now they’re also helping us do our jobs more efficiently. In 2018, EHS departments will adopt mobile audit technologies that enable them to input data right on the factory floor or collaborate on findings during a cross-country flight.  

9. Big data will continue to influence decision-making

Nope, it’s not going anywhere. In the coming year, big data will drive decision- making as smart technologies help companies capture more meaningful insights, and software enables EHS professionals to dissect thousands of data points in a split second. For more info, check out this article on how big data is changing EHS management.

10. Behavior-based safety will make a comeback

Although behavior-based safety has been around for decades, it has often been criticized as expensive and ineffective. But with the addition of software, organizations can now use observational data to understand and shape behavior.

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