How Analytics is Changing the EHS World and Why Companies Need to Capitalize (or risk falling behind)

EHS Analytics Blog Lights Cority

If you’re like me, you may be a little tired (maybe even skeptical) about the hours of content talking about ‘the power of data’. It seems like every day a new article appears from someone talking about the magical land of data and how it can do everything from saving your company a billion dollars overnight to tying your shoelaces for you. 

So, let’s get a couple things straight: 

  1. Data is really powerful. However; 
  2. Data is utterly useless to you unless you: 
  3. Understand what it’s telling you, and 
  4. You’re able to make decisions based on it. 

The landscape of data analytics within EHS is rapidly changing, but it’s a relatively manageable area to explore with a lot of very interesting developments. In this article, we’ll dig into the following questions:

  1. How do EHS leaders benefit from data analytics?
  2. What are the risks organizations face by not keeping up?

What does data analytics enable EHS leaders to do?

While data analytics enables an impossibly high number of EHS actions, its value will vary wildly depending on your organizational goals. For the purposes of this article, let’s explore three common EHS goals, one from each of the core tenets of Environment, Health, and Safety. 


First off, let’s consider a very standard use case.  Many firms seek to optimize their waste management practices and reduce associated transportation and disposal costs. EHS software can aid organizations by helping users accurately classify different waste streams and coordinate disposal, helping them maintain regulatory compliance while avoiding costly fees due to waste profile mistakes and off-spec waste. 

By leveraging data analytics tools, organizations can independently identify ways to decrease specific waste streams or waste classification errors, in turn reducing overall storage, transportation, and disposal costs. Shell, the global oil & gas giant, have underlined the ways Cority’s advanced business intelligence and analytics solution has helped them do exactly this: providing the data visualization and storytelling tools required to help them understand, at a glance, exactly where their waste is stored, how much waste is on-hand at any given time, when it’s due for disposal, and the accepted disposal locations for each waste profile identified. With Cority, Shell’s waste data is now fed into one centralized location that gives the organization absolute clarity on the efficacy of its waste management program, in a way never available before.   

Data visualization tools embedded in their EHS software help to not only give Shell’s users a better understanding of their data but makes maintaining compliance to multinational waste disposal standards easier than ever before – ensuring better oversight of their waste management process from beginning-to-end, saving the organization significant time, money, and resources. 


Problems arise when organizations have access to data, but no way to make heads or tails of what that data is telling them. With analytics tools embedded in EHS software, you can also better identify trends that can illuminate organizational visibility to at-work exposures that could compromise worker wellbeing if not addressed in a timely manner. Beyond this, access to powerful AI engines within your analytics offering can help you more easily identify health trends or new hazards that you would have otherwise never found before. 

Let’s imagine that we work for a company where employees in one specific geographical location are taking a lot of sick days due to respiratory issues. To help site management better understand what’s influencing the absenteeism rate, data analytics features within EHS software may help us identify potential respiratory hazards at that location, pinpoint the underlying conditions at that site that may be influencing these hazards, along with the current levels of controls available.   

Something as simple as a report that automatically aggregates the reasons for absence via location can make this process simple and engaging. Natural Language Processing is a great example of this – a feature that gives users the ability to use their analytics tools like a search engine and use open questions to query the organization’s collected metadata and explore potential associations that aren’t immediately visible.  Asking the engine, “Show me employee sick days at location X by identified illness type or hazards” can be just what we need to detect an underlying systemic weakness in our EHS programs that, if addressed, could help us reverse the negative trend in absenteeism, reducing health care costs and production-related issues. Moreover, this simple step can save hundreds of hours of administrative effort and improve organizational data literacy tenfold. 

With this information, enabled by data analytics tools, organizations can take more targeted measures to address those harmful exposures in both the short and long-term. The identification of the root causes behind issues provides the opportunity to make measurable change – reducing the chance of further illness-induced absence and creating a sustainable way to move forward. That’s the magic of data. 


Data analytics can also help us shift our organization from a reactive to proactive and ultimately predictive approach to safety management. 

Let’s consider the effect of climate change on working conditions. Many individuals are facing more extreme temperatures in their regular working environment, particularly extreme heat, which raises the risk of heat stress and heat-related injury. While organizations may have specific control measures in place to limit heat exposures – everything from mechanical ventilation to defined work/rest cycles to cooling centers, data analytics tools can help reveal additional insights to guide our decisions on what further measures may be available to reduce the risk of heat-related injury. 

When paired with wearables and IoT devices, real-time analytics within EHS software platforms can show EHS leaders when worker health metrics, including core temperature, heart rate or even fatigue, are approaching critical levels. These tools can compound, taking into consideration multiple, seemingly unrelated data points, to reveal hazards that would have otherwise gone unnoticed – giving your team time to react, assess, and mitigate potential dangers before they translate into measurable losses. Going further, analytics tools enable what-if scenario analysis, allowing users to model potential consequences of unmitigated hazard exposures, along with testing the effect of specific interventions on their ability to effectively control identified hazards, ensuring that organizations spend their time and money on measures that truly address problems, leading to a greater return on investment. 

Ultimately, the use of these advanced analytics tools can help organizations prevent the dire circumstances where workers would otherwise press through unsafely – an important example of marrying good safety practice with good business decisions. 

What do we mean when we say “falling behind”?

The scenarios described above are real-life examples of how organizations frequently use data analytics tools to manage their most critical EHS challenges, many of which are described in the 2023 Verdantix Green Quadrant Report for EHS Software. Real people use real technology (like Cority) to better understand the daily risks faced by individuals in their workplaces, while guiding them on the more effective ways to alleviate these challenges. 

Yet, we also know that many organizations are concerned with the level of data literacy required by their staff to take full advantage of these advanced analytics solutions. In fact, upwards of 60% of EHS leaders have said they do not believe their organization is up to task in terms of understanding their own data or what to do with it to support broader EHS goals. This is what we mean when we talk about organizations that risk falling behind.  

If you think that certain opportunities– like the use of wearables to monitor health metrics or identify EHS risks – seems space-aged, imagine how you’ll feel in 12 months when the industry has progressed even further along that path. 

It’s important to remember that organizations do not necessarily need to invest in standalone point solutions with deep, complex, and involved analytics and business intelligence features to help them make better sense of their EHS data. Making use of tools that are built-in with your existing tech stack can be enough to begin to make the critical discoveries within your data to push your EHS performance forward. All said, however, developing a better understanding of your EHS data and how you can use it in your everyday operations is absolutely essential, especially if you do wish to take that next step toward sustainable EHS excellence. 

So, where do I start?

It’s not uncommon for EHS departments to be stretched thin, in both human and financial terms. No matter the size and scale of your organization – finding tools that fit your organization’s budget, EHS maturity, and the level of staff can make data literary feel like a daunting task. Additionally, some EHS leaders will face barriers internally with C-Level executives to invest in such tools, especially where senior leadership feels resources would be better spent elsewhere. This stance can be due to a lack of understanding around just how powerful analytics tools can be, or a genuine fear of resource drain. 

Whether you’d prefer to start with a standalone BI tool, which can be linked with your wider EHS systems via APIs, or something tailor-made by your EHS software provider, such as CorAnalytics – remember there are multiple options to simply explore.  

Finally, let’s not forget this most important point: The ability to harness the full power of your data enables you to make better decisions for your business. Especially when you’re just getting started – those capabilities come in droves. Investments in analytics solution, especially those specifically designed and optimized for EHS data, will enable your organization to discover key insights more quickly, make more intelligent decisions informed by data, and help companies invest their limited resources strategically in the manner best suited to meet business goals, while protecting its workforce and surrounding community.