It is important to have an EHS professional included in the due diligence process to evaluate and quantify EHS culture and risks so that potential financial exposures are fully understood.

The main role of an EHS professional during an acquisition is to gain an understanding of the seller’s current EHS programs and level of regulatory compliance for the site or sites under consideration for acquisition. The overall goal is to identify and quantify risks so that potential financial exposures are understood and included in the due diligence process.

Industry experts, Lorraine Sedlak, Thomas E. Case, and Alizabeth Aramowicz Smith, provide additional insight in the article “Sealing the Deal: The Role of the EHS Professional during an Acquisition.” Alizabeth Aramowicz Smith is a Senior EHS Global Consultant at Antea Group.

“Evaluating a company's safety culture is not an exact science; culture cannot be quantitatively measured. You must leverage your experience and knowledge when evaluating potential acquisitions.”

The article identifies how EHS professionals can best “plug into” the process and get the information needed to evaluate and quantify EHS culture and risks. Typically, they would start out with an industry standard Phase I assessment and review all publicly available information on the company and employees. But to fully understand the EHS culture and risks of the company being acquired, the EHS professional should conduct a site visit and observe the day-to-day practices, signage, and other visible signals of the maturity of the site’s EHS program. Site visits can tell you a lot about the EHS culture of a business if you are paying attention and prepare you for the challenges of integrating new employees into your company’s EHS programs and culture.

This article was published in the Synergist, an AIHA monthly magazine publication, in December of 2019. AIHA is a nonprofit organization serving professionals dedicated to the anticipation, recognition, evaluation, control, and confirmation of environmental stressors in or arising from the workplace that may result in injury, illn‚Äčess, impairment, or affect the well-being of workers and members of the community.

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