Transforming EHS Data Into Valuable Insights

Rodney Canada
September 17, 2019
EHS Data-Driven Decision-Making
In today’s world of “big data,” the purpose and way environmental, health and safety (EHS) data is collected and used is rapidly changing. In the past, EHS-related data was generally collected for the purpose of documenting compliance (OSHA 300 log, documentation requirements contained in an environmental permit, etc.). As such, companies either internally built or purchased third-party software to help manage these environmental or safety compliance management requirements.

However, with today’s rapidly advancing technology, particularly as it relates to the ways and types of data that can be collected, compared and analyzed, the EHS professional has the opportunity to move from compliance data management and reporting to using data proactively to drive decision-making. This can be in regards to programs and initiatives, or in how equipment can or should be operated for both compliance and to drive operational efficiencies.

In essence, with access to the data available today, the EHS professional can become a true business partner to operations and can contribute to significant operational improvement and bottom-line success.

While for most leading organizations, the main driving force for EHS is the reduction/elimination of risks and injuries to employees and the protection of the environment. To do this while contributing to operational improvement is an obvious win-win for any organization.

For example:
  • Safety Data: How do you move from using reactions to incidents to drive safety initiatives, to using leading data (from near hits, behavioral observations or other systems) to proactively identify improvement opportunities to prevent incidents — and with the lagging incident data being the means of validating the success of initiatives?
  • Environmental Data: How do you merge permit and compliance requirements with real-time operational data to be proactive in addressing issues before noncompliance occurs? How do you anticipate and proactively react to data to avoid noncompliance?

These are two examples of using EHS data to see what’s ahead of you, versus only operating based on what you see in the rear-view mirror of what has already occurred.

These are the types of the issues we will be exploring at NAEM's EHS&S Management Forum on October 16 at 3:45 PM in Session 11. We will have three presentations on how companies are using EHS data in a proactive and predictive way to drive program implementation and operational improvement.


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About the Author

Rodney Canada
Rodney Canada is the Senior Director, Environmental, Health and Safety for Comcast. Comcast is a leading provider of television cable, internet and home security services. He leads EHS for Comcast's Central Division which consists of 28,000 employees and with over 1,000 discrete physical facilities and over 10,000 vehicles. At Comcast, Rodney leads an EHS organization consisting of 28 EHS professionals.

Rodney has been an EHS professional for 35 years working in diverse industries including chemicals manufacturing, surface and underground mining, heavy civil construction and offshore oil and gas production before Comcast giving him a broad perspective on EHS issues in high risk environments.

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