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Buyer's Guide

by Justin Guinn,
Market Research Associate
Last Updated: January 5, 2017

Environmental, health and safety (EHS) solutions help organizations maintain compliance with local and federal regulations. These systems primarily cater to organizations in the industrial sector, including manufacturing, energy and utilities, but can also be used by non-industrial organizations, such as those in government and healthcare.

This guide has been created to help users find the best solution for their business needs. Here’s what we’ll cover:

What Is EHS Management Software?
Common Functionality of EHS Management Software
Benefits and Potential Issues
Market Trends to Understand
What Kind of Buyer Are You?
Recent Events You Should Know About

What Is EHS Management Software? 

EHS systems allow companies to manage and report on environmental performance as well as operational risks associated with their business. This software offers a broad range of functionality to help companies stay in compliance with different types of regulations.

With EHS management software, users can:

  • Measure environmental sustainability
  • Track employee health and hygiene
  • Manage workplace and product safety
  • Analyze and assess risk
  • Create safety, financial and audit reports

These systems may also be referred to as:

  • Quality, environment, health and safety (QEHS) software
  • Health, safety and environment (HSE) software
  • Safety, health and environment (SHE) software

Common Functionality of EHS Management Software

Most EHS management systems come with some or all of the following capabilities:

Environmental management Generates compliance and sustainability reports for meeting regulation requirements (regarding wastewater, solid waste, greenhouse gases etc.). Also provides environmental audits, quantifies greenhouse gas emissions and helps manage air quality and water discharge compliance.
Health management Helps monitor processes that affect two main aspects of employee health: industrial hygiene and occupational health. Hygiene modules measure workers’ chemical exposure; health modules capture employee health data such as hearing and lung capacity.
Safety management Allows users to track incidents on work floors, analyze them and suggest preventive action. Also provides training related to work practices and occupational hazards.
Hazardous material management Provides safety data sheets, regulatory and scientific content to help users manage the use and logistics of hazardous materials (hazmat).
Risk management Analyzes processes that can pose potential risks through methodologies such as bow tie analysis, failure modes and effects analysis and fault tree analysis. Offers tools that help companies create crisis-response plans, monitor insurance policies, assess workplace hazards and streamline safety audits.

Benefits and Potential Issues

Businesses can realize many benefits as a result of adopting EHS software. One of the biggest is that the software helps users manage complex regulatory requirements more easily. As regulations become increasingly complex, traditional methods such as spreadsheet software and manual inspection are proving insufficient for many users. EHS software eases regulatory compliance with such capabilities as automated auditing and compliance reporting.

There are also some potential issues buyers should be aware of, including:

Limited compliance support. Few vendors claim to support a broad range of regulations and languages. Thus, buyers should check with the vendor to make sure necessary regulations and standards are supported before selecting an EHS solution.

Security concerns. Since these systems handle sensitive data, some organizations may be concerned about the safety of cloud-based software. However, most cloud systems are as secure as on-premise systems, if not more so: Simply choose a reputable vendor, and they will have strong data security measures in place.

What Kind of Buyer Are You?

Companies of any type have a responsibility to provide a safe working environment, so an EHS can be used by multiple industries. Whether it’s performing inspections on equipment, establishing safety protocols or analyzing risk, the following industries are common users of EHS software.

  • Oil and gas, construction, mining and manufacturing. Employees in these industries work in dangerous conditions, so management must have clear safety policies for both people and equipment.
  • Food and beverage. Food producers have several industry quality standards and regulations to meet. An EHS assists in material inspections and audits.
  • Utilities. It’s important for electrical and other energy providers to minimize their impact on the environment. Software helps track programs designed to reduce carbon emissions and other initiatives.
  • Aviation and aerospace, government and healthcare. These industries can secure sensitive data on their own computers or in the cloud.

Market Trends to Understand

We have observed a few changes taking place in this market:

Increased demand for risk management. Traditionally, most of the software in this market was focused on compliance and offered functionality for maintaining a safe workplace and monitoring environmental hazards. However, organizations are now demanding end-to-end solutions that also have an integrated risk management module. Many vendors are entering into partnerships or acquiring firms in order to offer more comprehensive products.

Shift toward cloud-based software. Buyers are increasingly adopting cloud-based solutions, as they typically come with low upfront costs and relieve the headaches of having to perform maintenance and updates. Some organizations take a hybrid approach, in which the system is hosted on the company’s own servers and data is regularly backed up in the cloud.

Recent Events You Should Know About

Here are some recent events to be aware of that reflect increasing interest in the EHS market:

Enablon announces record organic growth. Enablon, a leading provider of sustainability, EHS and operational risk management software, announced more than 50 percent growth in sales for 2015.

Intelex secures CA$160 million in investment. Intelex, a provider of EHS and quality management software solutions, announced that it has secured CA$160 million in funding led by JMI Equity (a growth equity firm focused on software and services companies). HarbourVest, a private markets investment firm, also participated in the round.

2017 OSHA budget to shrink 3 percent. The House Appropriations Committee drafted a bill in July that would reduce the Occupational Health & Safety (OSHA) budget by 3 percent, to $534.4 million in 2017’s fiscal year. The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSH) is also expected to lose more than $25 million in funding due to reduced mining activities in the U.S. The agency, however, still plans to conduct more than 35,000 inspections in 2017.


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