While EHS leaders have been using tools like job hazard analysis for years, risk management hasn't always been a big part of the conversation.
 
But today, 78% of EHS leaders name it as a top factor in ensuring EHS success. 
 
The risks companies face today have changed, and so have the technologies used to identify and manage those risks. Keeping a log of risks in a spreadsheet is no longer the best way to get ahead of potential issues. 
 
That's why we created the ultimate EHS risk management guide. Read along, email it to yourself for later, or jump to a section.
 
Table of Contents:
(If you're looking for information about Perillon's risk management software, visit our risk management software page.)
 
 

Types of EHS risk

First, let's define what we mean when we're talking about "EHS risk management".  
 
Companies encounter many different types of risk: financial, legal, operational, and so on. On this page, we'll focus on risks related to environmental, health, and safety. 
 

Compliance risk: Potential exposure to fines, legal penalties, and losses when a company fails to comply with laws and regulations

Example: A company receives a serious OSHA violation for failing to use proper fall protection.
 
Safety risk: A potential source of injury, death, or adverse health consequences   
 
Example: An extension cord lying across a walkway poses a trip hazard.
 
Environmental risk: A potential source of negative impacts on the environment or living organisms from a company's emissions, waste, and resource usage
 
Example: Improperly stored hazardous chemicals can lead to a chemical spill
 
Climate risk: Potential hazards from climate-related events, trends, forecasts and projections.
 
Example: A drought raises the price of water needed for production.
 
Management of change risk: The risk of injury or accident resulting from inadequately planned changes in process chemicals, equipment, facilities, etc. 
 
Example: An explosion occurs when employees aren't properly trained on new operating procedures
 
 

Benefits and challenges

As we mentioned before: The risks companies faced have changed, and in turn, that's started to change the way EHS leaders manage and respond to risks. 
 
Traditionally, EHS programs have focused on dutifully following EPA and OSHA rules, monitoring compliance, and staying on top of new regulations. 
 
But regulatory uncertainty, high stakeholder demands, and the growing challenges posed by a changing climate have created a demand for a different approach -- one that focuses on risk management instead of regulatory compliance.  
 
Companies are also realizing some of the benefits of a proactive approach to EHS risk management:
  1. Improve risk visibility by identifying "hidden risks" within your organization
  2. Reduce costs by dealing with business threats before they arise, rather than allowing them to develop into bigger problems
  3. Make informed decisions based on quantitative risk data, rather than guesswork or a "gut feeling"
  4. Demonstrate compliance and continuous improvement in relation to current and future regulations
  5. Increase shareholder confidence by lowering the company's risk profile
  6. Gain a competitive advantage by operating efficiently 

So what does that mean for the way companies do risk management? Let's take a look. 

 

 

The risk management process

Until very recently, EHS risk management was mostly a pencil-and-paper process. A handful of employees (usually supervisors or EHS leaders) would perform risk assessments to identify hazards like unguarded parts in machinery and improperly stored chemicals.
 
After the risk assessment, they would manually enter that data into spreadsheets. Often, there were different spreadsheets for different facilities or departments.
 
From there, the data in these spreadsheets had to be compiled into reports by hand -- a process that could take weeks or months. 
 
This resulted in a fragmented, outdated picture of the company's risk profile. And there was no easy way to measure whether or not mitigation plans were actually working to reduce the company's risks. 
 
Here's what a typical risk management process used to look like: 
old risk management process
 
Now, in order to proactively manage a company's risk profile, the best solution is to use a centralized risk management software.
 
 

Risk management software

Risk management software brings all of your risk data and activities together in one place, in order to create a clear picture of your company's liabilities and opportunities. 
 
Using risk management software, this is what a company's risk management process looks like now -- with data collection, analysis, reporting, and decision-making connected via a centralized platform:
 
new risk management process
 
 
In this new model, high volumes of risk information are captured digitally, at the source. The data is entered directly into a central database, where the software performs calculations like risk scoring and triggers tasks or actions based on that information. And because the information is no longer siloed, management is able to see the whole picture and make timely, informed decisions. 
 
Now, let's dive in and look at some of the ways companies are using risk management software to reduce their risks and costs.
 
 

Risk assessment

Every workplace has risks, from hazardous chemicals to moving parts in machinery. 
 
A risk assessment is a formal process to identify potential hazards related to an activity or operation, analyze the level of risk associated with those hazards, and propose controls to reduce the level of risk. 
 
The best approach for doing that is to make risk assessments a standardized, collaborative process using intuitive mobile apps. Here are some of the things you can do with mobile risk assessments:
  • perform simple inspections or complex multi-section audits
  • drag and drop questions from a central library to build any form template you need
  • add logic to skip questions, generate findings, or create corrective action triggers
  • perform assessments offline and sync to the central database once you have a WiFi connection
  • capture data, images, and videos at the source 
  • view results in dashboards and drill town to analyze trends and status
More risk assessment resources:
 
 
 

Mobile apps and kiosks

express-entryOf course, formal risk assessments aren't the only way to gather information about risks in your organization.
 
Mobile apps and kiosks make it possible for thousands of employees to collect and share observations, images, and videos about workplace hazards.
 
Why is this so important? Early employee reporting of at-risk observations, behaviors and near misses means that you're able to get ahead of those risks with preventative actions. 
 
More resources:
 
 
 

Data integration

data-integration

Data silos are one of the biggest challenges facing risk management. When you've got different spreadsheets and databases for each of your data sources -- risk assessments, continuous emissions monitoring, enterprise resource planning, and so on -- it's hard to get a clear picture of your risk profile.
 
Automated data integrations enable you to capture high volumes of data from various sources and aggregate them in a central database -- without having to manually transfer the information. 

 

 

Risk registers

A risk register, also known as a risk registry or risk matrix, is a central record of all the risks you've identified across your organization. 
 
Risk registers use a standardized scoring system to rank enterprise risks across thousands of observations. 
 
The benefit of being able to quantify risks in this way is that you don't have to take a "putting out fires" approach. You know which risks are most likely to occur and most significant, and can address them appropriately. 
 
A risk register can be housed in a document, spreadsheet, or database — but the best way to keep track of an EHS risk register is inside risk management software. 
 
Here's an example of what a risk registry looks like in our software:
 
risk-register
 
With documents, it's easy to skim over detailed paragraphs and miss important information. And it's hard to manage changes in Excel spreadsheets across large teams or departments.
 
Good risk management software, on the other hand, allows you to maintain your risk register in a dynamic dashboard table, so you can visualize your corporate risk profile and make proactive decisions. 

 

More resources:

The Anatomy of an EHS Risk Register (+ An Example!)

5 Dangerous Myths About EHS Risk Registers

10 Reasons You Should Be Using Risk Scoring

 

 

How to manage risk in Perillon

Now that you've seen the ways Perillon can help you improve your risk management processes, you might be ready to learn more about some of the solutions that are available. 

 

Overview

Perillon is a simple, affordable EHS management software that centralizes all your regulatory compliance, enterprise risk, and corporate sustainability data and activities. So you can save time, reduce risk, and prevent unwanted events.

 

Risk Management Software

Proactively identify issues and mitigation plans to lower EHS risks and costs.  Re-define organizational best practices by leveraging mobile apps and set up proactive action plans.

 

Product Videos 

Next, you might want to check out some of our product videos to see Perillon in action. Our video center will walk you through some of Perillon's most useful features.

 

Success Stories

Want to see how EHS managers like you are using Perillon? Check out our success stories to see how customers like you describe their experience with Perillon.

 

Features & Updates

At Perillon, we spend a lot of time listening to our customers' feedback and making improvements. Visit our product updates page to check out some of our newest features.

 

Request a Customized Demo

Of course, the best way to get to know Perillon is by scheduling a free customized demo. Our solutions team will walk you through the features you need to get the results you want. 

 

 

Additional resources

If you're ready to learn more, we can help. Here are some popular ways to dig in:

 

Risk management articles

Check out our full library of risk management articles. 

 

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