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Workplace Health and Safety

How EHS&S Professionals Can Take Advantage of Their Newfound Fame

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that if small businesses can’t open their doors within five days of a disrupter like a pandemic occurring, 90 percent will fail within one year. Additionally, the failure of those businesses will impact the entire supply chain. 

Successful environmental, health, safety, and sustainability (EHS&S) professionals are leading their organizations through the pandemic and collaborating on plans to continue operations. As a result, EHS&S has a more prominent voice at the C-suite table. Learn how to keep your voice — and use it most effectively — because the next disrupter is inevitable. 

Build resiliency with systems thinking

It’s important that EHS&S professionals understand their organization’s ecosystem, the interdependencies among internal and external stakeholders, and how disruption impacts the system. This thinking will help you see patterns, determine future impacts to your system, identify risks early, and develop actionable insights. Systems thinkers are leading their companies back to operational status during the pandemic and are better equipped to weather the next disruption — ultimately keeping their organizations safe and preventing significant loss. 

Communicate strategically

The EHS&S function must be strategic and forward-thinking, empowered to make decisions and act quickly. This requires routine EHS&S engagement with company executives and the board. 

One tangible opportunity is to develop an organization-wide communications strategy and plan, including when and how to send messages from leadership that reassure the workforce. Communications need to be clear, consistent, and concise to avoid confusion about safety measures and best practices. 

Finally, tap into both systems thinking and strategic engagement to collaboratively assess and update your business continuity plan — see where it failed and use the lessons learned to strengthen it. Then provide organization-wide visibility into it, including clarity around who is responsible for what areas. Learn more at

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