Since time immemorial the envisioning of new frontiers have represented change at its most basic human level, starting with a break from the past, release from restraints, and the emergence of a new identity. The concept of Integrating environmental health and safety (EHS) is the new frontier that now beckons EHS professionals and is the imperative for a sustainable future of environment and employee health, safety and well-being embedded within the organization structure. Integrating EHS, also known as business integration of EHS functions, is the next step in the evolutionary process of a company's maturity in addressing the needs of the environment and its people.
The purpose of this paper is to identify the four levels of progress a company makes in its EHS excellence journey, starting from non-compliance through to integration, and then focusing on why the traditional notion of an EHS management system is not sustainable over time without integration occurring in a continuing journey of excellence. In discussing this notion of sustainability, the concept of socio-technical systems (STS) theory will be introduced to explain how organizations are organized, and how the current EHS management system model does not increase the level of safety performance. After establishing the need for integrating EHS, a model for how to move forward with respect to integration will be explored. It needs to be clear that the intent of this paper is not to serve as a rubric for achieving integration, rather as a high-level roadmap for various points of entry.