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  • Cecilia Wandiga

Kenya Sustainable Cities - Ecology as Environmental Health and Safety


There is a well established yet little known sector of industry called environmental health and safety (EHS). EHS is the sector in which CSTI is strictly focused. When we talk of research and community adaptation, including climate change adaptation and biotechnology research, we are speaking from the EHS perspective.

So, what exactly is EHS and where do you find it? In small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs), including farms, you hardly ever see an EHS department. EHS activities are mostly limited to regulatory compliance on issues such as waste management, chemicals management, worker (occupational) safety, and, environmental impact assessments. For large firms and for multinationals, you almost always have an occupational health and safety uni

EHS is a large industry sector in terms of spending 

https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/environmental-health-and-safety-market

"The global environmental health and safety market size was USD 49.8 billion in 2015 and is expected to witness significant growth over the forecast period due to rising investments in key end-use segments such as oil & gas, petrochemicals, and construction for ensuring effective compliance."

Key industries driving global growth of the EHS sector are:

Chemical & petrochemical

Energy and mining

Healthcare

Telecom & IT

Construction

Manufacturing (including agriculture) 

In Kenya, currently, most EHS jobs in industry are for environmental compliance managers and engineers or Human Resources managers developing worker safety plans. A sampling of job descriptions can be found here

https://www.careerjet.co.ke/mobile/environmental-health-and-safety-jobs.html

A sample of typical company policies can be found here 

https://www.utdallas.edu/ehs/programs/safety/

While CSTI can always provide advisory services on regulatory compliance or worker safety, our primary focus is on the use of EHS as an economic development policy driver and operational framework. Risk mitigation and risk management (irrespective of whether there is a regulation to comply with) are the primary approaches we use to designing interventions. As an example: how can Kenya accelerate manufacturing productivity while simultaneously reducing disease risk from the increased use of industrial chemicals?

A more detailed explanation of the linkage between EHS and economic development can be found in this article. 

Industrial occupational safety and health innovation for sustainable development (2017)

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215098616308497

A comprehensive set if guidelines by industry can be found here 

https://www.ifc.org/wps/wcm/connect/topics_ext_content/ifc_external_corporate_site/sustainability-at-ifc/policies-standards/ehs-guidelines

What we at CSTI are expecting companies in Kenya to develop are plans that go beyond regulatory compliance and assess how the company will commit to improving health and safety (including outside the company boundaries) while simultaneously maximizing profits and growth.  

Some examples of company and consortia commitments that are aligned with Kenya's current stage of development can be found here:

https://www.zarubezhneft.ru/en/sustainable-development/environment_protection_and_industrial_safety/

http://www.titan-omsk.ru/en/gruppa_kompaniy/ekologiya_i_bezopasnost.php

Where we dream of Kenyan companies shifting towards excelling is in the design of products and industrial processes that maximize public health and ecological health. We include good mental and emotional health as a public health outcome (physical, mental and emotional health and safety are interdependent). This requires continuous innovation and community feedback. At the pinnacle, co-creation of industrial products and processes in collaboration with communities and other stakeholders. 

Some topics to consider 

https://ohsonline.com/articles/2010/09/01/how-safety-fits-with-sustainability.aspx?m=1

As an example of innovation, this video by Performax Inc provides a step by step outline of how to integrate EHS functions within company operations. Don't worry if you are not yet at this level, the first step to growth is awareness and awareness requires the acquisition of knowledge. 

https://youtu.be/IZVxBlX18Dw

For an understanding of what we would be excited to work on the current Big 4 agenda, have a look at these designs for affordable housing and think of the same for factories. Yes we are avid enthusiasts of Kenyan sunlight and bright spaces. No we don't expect Kenyan cities to look like bushes but we don't expect concrete or glass to be the most visible and abundant material either. We don't yet have a graphic artist who can create localized renderings so bear with us. (-:

http://ehsmanager.blogspot.com/2015/08/innovative-tree-like-off-grid-homes.html?m=1

If this is still as clear as mud, feel free to contact us at CSTI. Our scientific experts are also university trainers which means they are highly skilled at knowledge creation and knowledge transfer. We have priced our consultancy rates (see R&D Collaboration) within the reach of Kenyan SME budgets. 

https://www.csti.or.ke/value

Feel free to give us a call or email us with questions about how you can use EHS to improve #BiologicalSafety and #BiologicalLuxury

+254 735 200 458

info@csti.or.ke 


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