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EHS Automation 101: The Beginner's Guide to EHS Automation

We've all heard the saying, "Work smarter, not harder." 

At some point, though, even the most productive people run out of hours in the day. 

That's where EHS automation comes in. Automating your workflows is one of the smartest things you can do as a time-crunched professional, and has the power to revolutionize the way you work. 

In this guide, we'll explore what EHS automation looks like, how it can benefit you, and which processes you should consider automating.

Table of contents

What is EHS automation?

EHS automation takes the manual, time-consuming tasks that EHS teams do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and does them automatically.  

For example, following up on tasks your team is working on is a huge time-suck. You've got to stop what you're working on, pick up the phone, and call each person individually. Or else you have to find the original email thread, write a follow up note, and wait for a reply. 

Besides wasting time, it's easy to forget to follow up and miss an important deadline. 

With automation, on the other hand, you can set up rules to do all that for you. Software can automatically send notifications, escalate missed deadlines, and alert you when a task is assigned or completed. 

Think of it like delegating your most time-consuming tasks to a robot!

The benefits of EHS automation

The most obvious benefit of EHS automation is the time savings you'll notice. It might not seem like a lot, but all those minutes you spend chasing down tasks, searching for files, and sending emails really add up.  

Of course, it doesn't stop there. EHS automation offers many benefits that spreadsheets don't otherwise provide: 

  • Free up your team for high-value tasks: EHS teams and consultants spend hours every week combing through data, updating formulas, and compiling reports. That's not the best use of your time. Automating administrative tasks lets you spend more time on work that matters, like improving environmental performance and reducing risks. 
  • Improve accuracy and efficiency: Automating annoying tasks eliminates the opportunity to forget or procrastinate them. It also ensures things are done accurately every time. 
  • Create consistent, standardized processes across multiple locations: For example, you can automatically assign an audit using a standardized form, generate findings, and trigger corrective actions. That way, everyone in your company does things consistently no matter where they work. 
  • Share timely information between employees, supervisors, and management: Manual reporting is inefficient and time-consuming. With automation, data can be analyzed and reported on in real-time for immediate visibility across your organization. 

Should you invest in EHS automation?

Nearly every company can benefit from EHS automation in one way or another. 

Have you ever:

  • Missed a deadline because you forgot to check your calendar? 
  • Made a costly error while manually re-keying data?
  • Overlooked a serious safety or environmental issue for far too long?
  • Stayed late at work updating spreadsheets and formulas? 
  • Sent a dozen back-and-forth emails to make sure an assigned task was completed?
  • Wasted precious hours compiling reports for senior management?

If any of these situations sound familiar, you need EHS automation

5 EHS processes to automate today

1. Manual data entry:

If you're like most teams, you probably spend a lot of time manually re-keying data from various spreadsheets and systems. 

Luckily, there is a better way. 

Today's software systems can extract data from your spreadsheets, CEMS, ERP, HR, production and maintenance systems and pull it directly into a centralized database.

Not only does that save you hours every week, it also eliminates a lot of the potential for data entry errors. 

2. Provide updates for senior management: 

What if your executives could have complete visibility into your company's performance -- without you having to manually provide updates?

It's possible with the help of dynamic dashboards.

Once the dashboards are set up (which only takes a few minutes), executives can simply log in and get the information they want without picking up the phone and requesting reports from supervisors. The reports are automatically updated with real-time data, so you don't have to spend another second  creating custom reports for each executive.

3. Notify employees when an assigned task is due: 

Eliminate all the back-and-forth emails involved in managing your team's tasks. 

Using EHS software, you can track all your tasks and activities in a centralized calendar. Email alerts automatically update workers on their mobile devices so they're aware of what's due. 

This helps to keep workers on-track and accountable, even when they’re away from their desks. 

4. Set up alerts for regulatory deadlines:

With Excel, you have to remember to look at your spreadsheets every morning to figure out which tasks are due.

Setting up automated alerts for regulatory deadlines will ensure that you don't have to remember to check in and you never miss another deadline. 

5. Assign corrective actions based on incidents, audits, and inspections:

EHS automations can range from simple alerts and notifications, to more complex multi-step workflows. 

For example, a safety incident investigation may trigger a corrective action task that must be completed prior to closing out an incident. Or, if an environmental permit limit is exceeded related to an air emission threshold, a corrective action may be automatically assigned to a user to ensure compliance obligations are met.

These are just a few examples of the ways you can automatically assign tasks and actions integrated with your assessment findings and incident investigations.

How to get started with EHS automation

With EHS automation, you can get more done in a day without putting in more time or effort. To take the next step in automating your EHS tasks, schedule a free demo with our solutions team. We'll show you how Perillon can help your company specifically.