Many people are interested in an organization’s approach to laboratory environmental health and safety (EHS) management including laboratory personnel; customers, clients, and students (if applicable); suppliers; the community; shareholders; contractors; insurers; and regulatory agencies. More and more organizations attach the same importance to high standards in EHS management as they do to other key aspects of their activities. High standards demand a structured approach to the identification of hazards and the evaluation and control of work-related risks.

A comprehensive legal framework already exists for laboratory EHS management. This framework requires organizations to manage their activities in order to anticipate and prevent circumstances that might result in occupational injury, ill health, or adverse environmental impact. This chapter seeks to improve the EHS performance of organizations by providing guidance on EHS to integrate EHS management with other aspects of the organization.

Many features of effective EHS management are identical to management practices advocated by proponents of quality assurance and business excellence. The guidelines presented here are based on general principles of good management and are designed to integrate EHS management within an overall management system. By establishing an EHS management system, EHS risks are controlled in a systematic proactive manner.

Within many organizations, some elements of EHS management are already in place, such as policy and risk assessment records, but other aspects need to be developed. It is important that all the elements described here are incorporated into the EHS management system. The manner and extent to which individual elements are applied, however, depend on factors such as the size of the organization, the nature of its activities, the hazards, and the conditions in which it operates. An initial status review should be carried out in all organizations that do not have an established EHS management system. This initial status review will provide information on the scope, adequacy, and implementation of the current management system. Where no formal management system exists, or if the organization is newly established, the initial status review should indicate where the organization stands with respect to managing risks.