Expanding your organization into a new global location with little or no understanding of the local environmental health and safety (EHS) and cultural implications of doing business there can be extremely challenging and even risky. When it comes to ensuring a successful cross-border expansion, there are a number of factors to take into consideration, some of the most crucial are EHS and cultural considerations. 

Take a look at this sampling of EHS and cultural facts from around the world, ranging from understanding medical requirements to EHS pollution concerns and considerations. Heading into an expansion armed with this kind of information requires planning, time, and extensive research, but will pay dividends in the end.

Do any of these impact your organization? Can you imagine the practical EHS implications of each?

  1. In Mexico, a physician-supervised infirmary with a trained staff, medical supplies, and equipment is required for facilities with more than 100 employees.
  2. In South Korea, women are allowed one day a month of menstruation leave.
  3. In China, the Environmental Protection Law (EPL) mandates the disclosure of environmental information and the engagement of the public, and introduces daily penalty provisions.
  4. In Singapore, all male citizens and second generation permanent residents are legally required to participate in Singapore’s National Service. 
  5. In Japan, ferociously long working hours often stretching past midnight are expected, and are typically followed by sessions of “nomications” (a play on the Japanese word for drinking, nomu, and the English word for communication.) Women are now allowed to participate in the nomications activities by drinking water downed plum wine mixed with soda. 
  6. In France, separating work and family life is emphasized and people are strongly discouraged from writing work-related emails after 6 pm.
  7. In New South Wales, Australia, employers must incorporate a “sundry room.” These rooms can be used for a variety of things, including as a prayer room or a breastfeeding room.  
  8. In China, capital punishment can be enforced for non-violent crimes. China's highest court has ordered judges nationwide to hand down harsher sentences (including the death penalty) to people convicted of violating food safety regulations.
  9. In Saudi Arabia, women are permitted to work but are restricted from working in certain fields and are prohibited from working in hazardous jobs or industries, as set forth in a list issued by the Ministry of Labour. Women must also work separately from male employees and must have separate facilities.  
  10. In the United Kingdom, a national focus on environmental planning is enforced, requiring developers to apply sustainable development principles during planning and development of operations. This includes: living within the planet’s environmental limits; ensuring a strong, healthy and fair society; achieving a sustainable economy; promoting good governance; and using sound science responsibly.

From conducting proper current and historical due diligence, to understanding EHS requirements and best practices, to fully embracing and understanding the country’s culture, doing as much as possible to understand these facets before entering into a new location will greatly decrease the likelihood of an issue arising or a business interruption occurring down the road. 


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