Top EHS Risks & Compliance Trends to Watch in 2021

Top EHS risks and trends in 2021 continue to be public access to data along with the lingering impact of COVID on compliance teams.

Review of 2020 

In 2020, we recognized the complex skill set required for EHS Management. In last year’s webinar, Mapistry predicted an upward climb in environmental, health, and safety compliance trends, including an increase in local and state regulations, data and eReporting initiatives, and the adoption of emerging technologies. 

Shortly after the new year, the world encountered unprecedented risks which directly affected EHS teams; many of the predicted trends were experienced, including a more extensive risk landscape . While we may not have seen the speed of adoption for technology such as drones or IoT, we saw a deeper recognition of digital resources being integral to operations. Despite the worldwide pandemic affecting people in every industry, technology and tools for digitization empowered resilient organizations. 

Major Trends in 2021

The impact of COVID-19 increased digital connection. The transition to a more remote  workplace emphasized the need for software tools; the demand for doing more with less influenced Mapistry’s product roadmap.

From an enforcement side, industry experienced more virtual site visits. We expect these trends to continue, as regulatory agencies realize they can streamline processes through collecting digital records, analyze data prior to inspections, and then make assessments from a remote platform.

As 2021 welcomes a new administration, there is a shift to greater ESG and collaboration between the EPA and the DOJ. Now more than ever, we see the connectivity between people, environment, and place. The number of OSHA inspectors is likely to double, emphasizing the need for a pandemic response plan and a cohesive EHS team. With the adoption of virtual site visits and employee changeovers, the need for digitization remains.

“The world has gone digital, so will enforcement” Electronic data is crucial for creating ESG statistics for investors and public reporting. With broader data initiatives, compliance evolves into enforcement: collecting data, analyzing it, and then using it for actionable change.

The implications of Next Generation Compliance extend beyond the opportunity to design more effective regulations; this evolution in compliance promotes adoption of information technology, allowing enforcement to become more proactive. It is an initiative to solve environmental challenges for our generation and those to come. 

We believe the EPA will continue to focus enforcement efforts on the most serious environmental regulations by developing and implementing national program priorities. An example that was discussed in the webinar is the topic of PFAS , which have numerous pathways of contamination and major health effects for those who work in industrial facilities.

If we are to become more proactive about solving future health challenges, we must acknowledge the importance of software’s role in environmental, health, and safety programs.   

Resiliency in Digitization 

Mapistry is a software tool with a mission to provide more control over environmental programs. By automating and digitizing routine parts of an environmental program, Mapistry is able to streamline operations and make environmental strategy more efficient.

In a year filled with unexpected challenges, technology was able to provide resiliency to our customers. As we look ahead into a new year, we are excited by the prospect of regulatory initiatives aligning with environmental compliance technology.

We hope to take the lessons learned in 2020 and proactively adopt the tools that will support the evolution from environmental compliance into environmental enforcement.

Check out our full webinar on the road ahead in 2021 for EHS!

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