Whether you are running a company or a facility, staying up-to-date and compliant with EH&S permits is essential. Managing this dynamic process can be challenging, as it entails detailed insight into every stage of submitting, reviewing, and receiving approval for each permit. To avoid communication gaps, missed deadlines, and other common stumbling blocks, it is best to use a single, centralized system to manage all the individual permit workflows. Permit authorization software streamlines the management of all permit authorization using one, cloud-based solution. To have a greater appreciation for the power of such a tool in managing permit workflows, it is important to first understand the process and requirements of EH&S permits.
When are EH&S Permits Required?
EH&S permits and licenses are required by various local, state, and federal agencies for specific projects, discharges, materials, and equipment.
Listed here are some of the scenarios that will require EH&S permits and licenses:
- Handling recombinant DNA.
- Hazardous material generation, storage, and discharge.
- Handling biological materials.
- Laboratory registrations.
- Surface water discharge.
- Construction and demolition projects.
- Handling DEA-controlled substances.
- Handling lasers.
- Handling radioactive materials.
- USDA imports and exports.
Aside from managing the process of obtaining permitting and licensing from different agencies, companies will also have to meet compliance with the different regulations mandated by these same authorities. For example, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established three categories for generators of hazardous waste: very small quantity generators (VSQGs), small quantity generators (SQGs), and large quantity generators (LQGs). Any facility that generates hazardous waste must be registered under one of these categories. Meanwhile, workplaces that contain confined spaces will require safe work permit authorization from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Again, thankfully, the entire permitting process—form submission, review, and approval—can be managed on a single EH&S permits management system.
The following are some of the most beneficial factors of employing a permit authorization module to manage permit workflows:
1. Standardized and automated processes using customizable templates.
The paperwork associated with the permitting process generally takes some time to compile and can go through changes and updates while still within the reviewal stage (as approvals can take some time). On average, applicants must wait 60 to 90 days to get feedback from regulatory agencies. An EH&S permits management system allows users to input information with standardized and automated processes, making the acquisition of required paperwork that much quicker and easier. Permit authorization modules also enable users to manage all pending permit requests and customize all smart electronic forms which streamlines the procedures necessary to submit permits to the appropriate regulatory agencies.
2. Real-time monitoring of the review process.
Monitoring the status of multiple permit submissions can quickly become needlessly complicated when not done using a centralized system. Permit authorization software allows users to track all the stages of the review process in real-time. This is especially important for accurate communication with reviewers and assessment of their feedback while the submission and reviewal stages are ongoing, as important data may have changed during the process.
3. Practical recordkeeping and reporting options.
Once the necessary permits and licenses have been approved and obtained, compliance with the regulations associated with each permit and license is the next step. This often necessitates copious recordkeeping to demonstrate adherence to regulations. Permit authorization systems can help with storing and securely accessing records and other important compliance data. Additionally, as renewal applications must be filed well before the expiration date of the current permit, permit authorization software’s ability to schedule reminder notifications to and from relevant parties extremely simplifies the renewal process.
Using an EH&S permits authorization software system allows users to seamlessly manage different permit workflows and ensures that all the EH&S documentation that is needed to demonstrate compliance during external audits and inspections from regulatory agencies (e.g., licenses, permits, certificates, incident registers, and records) is up-to-date and easily accessible.
The SafetyStratus Research Advisory Group (RAG) brings together thought leaders from the global environmental, health, and safety community to promote best practices and provide key insights in the profession and the industries they serve. The Research Advisory Group also advocates, where practical, the intersection of and advances with the use of technology, such as the SafetyStratus enterprise EHS software platform. Group membership consists of representatives from across varied disciplines and market sectors as well as select members of the SafetyStratus team.
The primary objectives of the SafetyStratus RAG partnership are to:
- Build a strategic partnership between EHS practitioners and the SafetyStratus team.
- Provide engaging and practical content to the global EHS community.
- Provide discipline and market feedback specific to SafetyStratus products and services.
While the objectives of the RAG are varied, the primary public-facing outcome will be available through engaging and practical content found on the SafetyStratus resource pages. Various articles, papers, and other valuable resources will be produced and shared as part of an ongoing effort to cultivate a robust community. Ultimately, the SafetyStratus RAG will expand to have a broader reach and provide opportunities for more inclusion by all interested EHS professionals in a collaborative community environment.