EHS, HSE, OHS, SHEQ – Which should I use? (2020 update)

(5 minute read)
Last Updated - January 2020

Across the globe, different acronyms are used to describe the same thing in many industries. For any size of organization, it can be difficult to determine which acronym is best to use. Below, we have summarized the Google search popularity for each acronym and which is best for you to use based on your geographic location. The acronyms we examined are:


















What is the Google Trends tool?

Google Trends is a simple but powerful tool that provides users with access to search term frequency within a specific timeframe. It also allows you to filter the results according to geography, category and type of search for increased relevancy.

For this research, we specifically examined search terms, changed the geographic profile to worldwide, changed the timeframe to the last five years and further refined the data to the category of occupational health and safety. This allowed us to see a worldwide view on the use of the search terms, while also restricting the data to the most relevant results.

Worldwide Findings

When examining the data from a worldwide perspective, the most popular search term continues to be EHS as we saw at the end of 2018. Interest in EHS vs. HSE remains almost 20 points higher and does not appear to be on any trend that would change these results. We also saw that the acronyms OHS and SHEQ remained flat year over year.

However, as we said when we first published this article in late 2018, just because EHS is the most popular term from a worldwide perspective does not mean that it is necessarily the correct acronym for your organization. It is important for businesses to examine their strategic objectives and determine where the correct acronym will complement their activities based on their targeted geographies. EHS might be suited for larger companies who are growing on a global scale but OHS might be better for those looking to expand within Canada or Australia.

You can review the information below to help determine which acronym may be best to complement your organization’s business objectives or conduct your own search at

EHS = 57 interest over time

HSE = 40 interest over time

OHS = 15 interest over time

SHEQ = 3 interest over time

Data was pulled on January 22, 2020 using Google Trends.


Geographic View Into the Trends

Over the last year we saw very limited changes in the six countries we review annually. However, when looking at the global picture we noticed that interest in these topics decreased in Angola and Peru, completely removing the data from the correlating map unless low search volume results were enabled. We also saw an increase in interest in Algeria, specifically with the term HSE, but the most significant change we saw was the shift in interest in New Zealand. New Zealand's interest shifted from OHS being the top searched acronym to EHS and HSE being tied for first. Time will tell if these changes are temporary or if it proves to be a permanent change for the country.

Below are screenshots from the research conducted in Google Trends.

About the Author

ComplyWorks is a global leader in compliance management across many industries including oil and gas, telecommunications, construction, property management, aerospace and many others. Since ComplyWorks' inception in 2004, we have expanded our reach to over 90 countries while retaining our focus on our clients. Our web-based solutions cover the entire compliance lifecycle from contractor management to workforce management, worksite management and payment.

For more information on how we can help you with your EHS and compliance management, reach out to us by requesting a demo

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FAQ Summary

Which acronym should I use EHS, HSE, OHS or SHEQ?

When examining search interest data EHS appears to be the most popular search term globally, but organizations might choose to use a different acronym when targeting a specific region. Example: EHS might be suited for larger companies that are growing on a global scale, but OHS might be better for those looking to expand within Canada or Australia.