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Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines

This page ( contains the most updated versions of the World Bank Group Environmental, Health, and Safety Guidelines (known as the "EHS Guidelines"). They are intended to be living documents and are occasionally updated. Earlier versions of the WBG EHS Guidelines can be found here and are provided for reference only.

The EHS Guidelines are technical reference documents with general and industry-specific examples of Good International Industry Practice (GIIP), as defined in IFC's Performance Standard 3: Resource Efficiency and Pollution Prevention. IFC uses the EHS Guidelines as a technical source of information during project appraisal activities, as described in IFC's Environmental and Social Review Procedures Manual.

The EHS Guidelines contain the performance levels and measures that are normally acceptable to IFC, and that are generally considered to be achievable in new facilities at reasonable costs by existing technology. For IFC-financed projects, application of the EHS Guidelines to existing facilities may involve the establishment of site-specific targets with an appropriate timetable for achieving them. The environmental assessment process may recommend alternative (higher or lower) levels or measures, which, if acceptable to IFC, become project- or site-specific requirements.

When host country regulations differ from the levels and measures presented in the EHS Guidelines, projects will be required to achieve whichever is more stringent. If less stringent levels or measures than those provided in the EHS Guidelines are appropriate in view of specific project circumstances, a full and detailed justification must be provided for any proposed alternatives through the environmental and social risks and impacts identification and assessment process. This justification must demonstrate that the choice for any alternate performance levels is consistent with the objectives of Performance Standard 3.


General EHS Guidelines

The General EHS Guidelines contain information on cross-cutting environmental, health, and safety issues potentially applicable to all industry sectors. This document should be used together with the relevant Industry Sector Guideline(s).

General EHS Guidelines (full document) [PDF]

English | Français | Español | русский | 简体中文 | عربي | Tiếng Việt

The General EHS Guidelines contain the following information (links below in English only):


1. Environmental

1.1 Air Emissions and Ambient Air Quality
1.2 Energy Conservation
1.3 Wastewater and Ambient Water Quality
1.4 Water Conservation
1.5 Hazardous Materials Management
1.6 Waste Management
1.7 Noise
1.8 Contaminated Land


2. Occupational Health and Safety

2.1 General Facility Design and Operation
2.2 Communication and Training
2.3 Physical Hazards
2.4 Chemical Hazards
2.5 Biological Hazards
2.6 Radiological Hazards
2.7 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
2.8 Special Hazard Environments
2.9 Monitoring


3. Community Health and Safety

3.1 Water Quality and Availability
3.2 Structural Safety of Project Infrastructure
3.3 Life and Fire Safety (L&FS)
3.4 Traffic Safety
3.5 Transport of Hazardous Materials
3.6 Disease Prevention
3.7 Emergency Preparedness and Response


4. Construction and Decommissioning

4.1 Environment
4.2 Occupational Health and Safety
4.3 Community Health and Safety


References and Additional Sources


Industry Sector Guidelines

Overview of the Industry Sector Guidelines [PDF]


Agribusiness/Food Production






General Manufacturing






Oil and Gas




Disclaimer: The Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Guidelines have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish for your convenience. Reasonable efforts have been made to provide an accurate translation. The official text is the English version of the Guidelines. Any discrepancies or differences created in the translation are not binding and have no legal effect for compliance. If any questions arise related to the accuracy of the information contained in the translated Guidelines, please refer to the English version.

Acknowledgements: The IFC team would like to thank the team of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) for the dedication in translating the EHS Guidelines into Chinese and in making a joint handbook on "International Experience in Promoting Green Credit: The Equator Principles and the IFC Performance Standards and Guidelines" possible.


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