Setting your EHS Priorities for 2018

Gemma Collins Doyle


Health and Safety Consultant at EazySAFE

The silly season is over and a brand new year is upon us! Did you write a health and safety plan for 2017? If so, now is the time to review it. If not, now is the time to write a plan for 2018. Start as you mean to go on and get organised now.

Setting a list of EHS priorities doesn’t have to be all consuming. Keep it simple and to the point. It will be easier to follow and easier for everyone else involved.

Why should you set EHS priorities every year?

EHS performance and culture improvement needs a plan. In an ideal world, a company should have a three and a five year plan, but let’s keep it simple and stick to an annual priority list!

By establishing priorities and goals for your EHS management programme, you will provide the company with a vital blueprint on how to implement and guide the company’s resources, so it can achieve the preferred outcome. We all know that without a plan, we set ourselves up to fail; it’s no different when you consider the area of EHS.

EHS Priorities list on notepad with heading: This year I will
Happy New Year 2018 - EazySAFE's guide to setting your EHS Priorities

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”


Set meaningful, realistic priorities

You have to ask the questions:

  • What do you want to achieve?
  • When do you want to achieve it?
  • How much will it cost?
  • Can it be measured?

Make sure your priority list is achievable and realistic. A good EHS plan should hone in on specific goals and objectives that will help the company to minimise key risks and improve the whole EHS process. An annual improvement plan is more than just setting a few targets to reduce lagging indicators (such as lost time days and incidents).

What areas should you consider for your 2018 priority list?

EHS is a big part of any company (or so it should be anyway!), so it’s important to focus on the areas that are most relevant. You could consider some of the following:

Improve engagement

Put a plan into place to improve EHS awareness and list ways to get people involved. Block out dates in the diary now for a Health and Safety week or an environmental campaign. Consider online training as a method of improving engagement.

Improve company EHS training

Review all current EHS training needs. If possible, try and schedule the critical training now and get dates confirmed.


Review the current budget for EHS. Is it covering everything that needs to be done? Now is the time to review with Finance and get clearance on spend of any big projects you may have coming up in 2018.

Gap analysis

Where are the major gaps in EHS? Addressing them now means you can put a plan in place improve your EHS program and processes.


Could the reporting of near misses, incidents and accidents be improved? What about follow up and corrective actions, is this an area that could be looked at? We are all aware of the importance of completing corrective actions but we need to have a follow up plan in place to ensure they are closed out.

Delegate responsibilities

Health and safety is everyone’s responsibility, so consider creating departmental safety plans to increase ownership and accountability.

Survey the employees

What about finding out what the employees have to say about EHS? Too scared? Don’t be, you might surprised at the good suggestions that will come your way. You could use a climate survey to do this.

Do you know your EHS processes?

Reviewing the company’s EHS processes is one of the key elements to a successful EHS program. It will give valuable insight to help identify the areas that really need improvement. They can include:

  • Inspection processes.
  • Health and safety committee process.
  • Reporting and data collection processes.

EHS audits, compliance audits, corporate audits and other evaluations on the EHS management system will all help to give you the information you need to start your priority planning process.

Looking at the right data

Reviewing the right data before you start setting your EHS priorities for 2018 will help you determine which initiatives you need to focus on most.

EHS team analysing EHS data

Gather data from the following places:

  • Actions and findings from EHS audits and inspections.
  • Information on types of injuries and types of accidents/near misses.
  • Actions from high and medium risk assessments.
  • Feedback from employees – safety rep, safety committee.

Creating the priority list

Once you have considered all the items above and reviewed the way the EHS processes are working, then you are in a good place to create your prioritised plan with the relevant initiates.

Some of the initiates will be very specific to various hazards or risk in particular areas and others will be a lot broader, like starting an awareness campaign.

You may be feeling overwhelmed at this stage, don’t! Remember you are on the right track; you now have a list and a plan that will help you to have the most successful EHS year ever!

Just be sure to outline the plan, insert the milestones and give estimated timelines for each action. Make sure you review the plan throughout the year too.

We wish you the very best of luck, and if you require any help along the way, be sure to contact EazySAFE. Our EHS Experts can provide guidance particularly in the areas of developing an effective safety management system and increasing EHS awareness in your workplace.

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