According to NIOSH and ANSI/ASSE Z590.3 – Prevention through Design, Guidelines for Addressing Occupational Hazards and Risks in Design and Redesign Processes, a very effective method to prevent and control environmental impacts, occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities is to design out and minimize hazards and risks early in the design process. In this planning and design stage, the opportunities are greater, and the costs are lower for risk avoidance and elimination. It’s important to note that there is a thorough risk assessment process that goes into project design/planning. However, EHS needs to remain prioritized after the risk assessments are completed. Have you experienced situations when equipment was acquired without adequate attention given to EHS requirements, and they became an expensive add-on in a retrofitting or replacement process? This blog expands on some of the points made in ANSI/ASSE Z590.3 (2011) – Addendum C, which notes the importance of EHS by design in the procurement process.
Define the exact requirements and specifications thoroughly and ensure the specifications leave no room for ambiguity. Use all the appropriate resources, such as company design standards and specifications, as a roadmap, guiding both the purchaser and the vendor to understand the EHS standards and functionality expected from the equipment.
When seeking bids from vendors, it’s important to provide clarification on all primary needs, such as EHS requirements (e.g., NRTL requirements in the U.S.). Providing a comprehensive overview of the EHS specifications during bid requests lays the groundwork for a successful collaboration and helps avoid misunderstandings down the line. Ensure EHS-related clauses and requirements are clearly outlined in procurement contracts.
Ensuring quality assurance is fundamental for equipment procurement with EHS by design. This step involves verifying that company design standards, quality assurance programs, and monitoring and measurement/inspection protocols are met. If possible, conduct testing to assess the equipment’s functionality and EHS features before it’s shipped.
After the equipment is delivered, the EHS evaluation process isn’t over. Performing a comprehensive post-delivery inspection is crucial to uncover flaws that may not have been detected during earlier stages. This step ensures that the equipment meets the EHS standards set forth in the specifications and is ready for integration into operational processes.
To improve EHS by Design during the procurement process, consider the following:
- Consider EHS throughout the entire lifecycle of the equipment, including pre-installation, installation, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning.
- Involve relevant stakeholders, including EHS professionals, operators, and maintenance personnel, in the decision-making process.
- Encourage vendors to provide updates or improvements to enhance EHS features.
- Ensure that vendors provide comprehensive user manuals that include EHS guidelines and instructions.
- Plan for user training with vendors to familiarize operators and maintenance personnel with EHS protocols.
In conclusion, a strategic and EHS-focused approach to equipment procurement is necessary to eliminate risks and avoid unnecessary costs. If you need EHS by design support, Catalyst has experience across different industries, including risk assessments, design reviews, and development of design standards.
If you’d like to learn more, please send us a message, and one of our SMEs will respond promptly.