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Sustainability planning gets your employees engaged in thinking about their company and its impact in relation to its community and natural surroundings and increases awareness regarding health and safety issues. While many of the sustainability actions that a company makes have an impact on the wider community and environment they also naturally touch on the working environment. Most manufacturers have looked at environment health and safety as a cost centre. From a sustainability standpoint these can be viewed as long term investments. They not only provide safety and health but also improved productivity and retention of valued employees. These investments also reduce liabilities associated with unsafe work conditions and potential environmental hazards which can ruin a company’s reputation and value.

Plans to reduce exposure to hazardous materials and improve the management of building temperature control, air quality and lighting can yield significant improvements in employee productivity.(How IEQ Affects Health, Productivity. Fisk, 2002) Companies that value their employees and want to retain them have made considerable efforts beyond occupational health and safety. Some actions to reduce the main risks to employee health and gain improved productivity include the following:
  • Prevent employees from smoking in the workplace while providing them with support to quit the habit.
  • Provide healthy foods and beverages in company cafeterias and vending machines.
  • Provide showers and change rooms for employees who run or bike into work, promoting good health while reducing emissions.
  • Provide workers and family members with the availability of help line assistance to help cope with stressful situations.

Sustainable environment, health and safety programs consider the following aspects during construction, operation and decommissioning of facilities:

Environment:
  • Air quality, emissions and energy conservation
  • Water quality, waste water and water conservation
  • Waste & hazardous materials management and transport
  • Noise
  • Contaminated land
  • Biodiversity
  • Bioethics

Occupational Health & Safety:
  • Facility Design and Operation
  • Communications and Training
  • Monitoring
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Physical Hazards
  • Chemical Hazards
  • Biological Hazards
  • Radiological Hazards
  • Special Hazards

Community Health and Safety:
  • Structural safety of facility infrastructure
  • Life and Fire Safety
  • Traffic Safety
  • Disease Prevention
  • Emergency Preparedness and Response


Need help with leading international guidelines by industry sector? Check out: World Bank Group Environmental Health and Safety Guidelines