I was on travel for few weeks on business assignments across India, so I could not post my thoughts more regularly. Also my mother’s health (post Father’s passing away in Aug 2017) is a recurring concern which is taking lot of time and energy….. I would see how I can be regular here……..
I am personally very disappointed at the quality of EHS professionals I have come across in the recent past during my business assignments as well as tales from front as they call it from other experienced EHS leaders. It is very frustrating to have kind of interactions in which these so-called professionals lack 1) Attention to details 2) Lack of clarity of requirements that are company EHS standards 3) Inadequate depth of knowledge on regulatory compliance 4) Ignorance on effectively implementing permit to work systems 5) Check the box attitude with no application of common sense to inspections etc. I would have moved on if this is the case say 1 in 100 or so, but when you see folks engaged in this kind of attitude week after week, sites across any type of organisation ( be it India or MNCs) it makes me wonder where the EHS implementation is heading?? God save such companies who may have good intent to execute a decent EHS Program but can’t find good EHS professionals to execute them. What also saddens me is the “Know all attitude of EHS folks and their haughty associations with fellow peers” !! Folks like us would be glad to help to some course corrections? But would such professionals seek help? I wonder
I am glad to let folks know, that ASSP (Formerly American Society of Safety engineers USA) is conducting its Indian session during February 2019 at New Delhi. I would request EHS professionals to take advantage of this 2 day event which is conducted only in India outside USA and take advantage of the opportunity for sharpening the saw as well as good professional networking. This year program covers topics 1) Business impacts on EHS profession from “PEST” standpoint. 2) EHS Career growth opportunities in emerging scenario 3) Road Safety 4) Regulatory norms perspective etc. Please get in touch with Mr Ajay Sachdeva the Chairperson for the event. (09810144822 New Delhi) Brochure-ASSP EHSS PDC Feb 19
#75. My 75th Post ( I am glad I now stick to post blogs, #75 here, nearing #350 in my personal blog since 2005) is not about a single topic but a few collective thoughts that swept over my mind over past few days on events that I see happening around me.
1) It is all about Relationship; Stupid! I am a regular listener to Manager Tools (MT) Podcast since 2007,now more than 1000 podcasts, 11 years later, at 2 podcasts dished out a week, (The show began in 2005 July) I have not missed one of the 1000+ podcasts in both Manager Tools and their other podcasts “Career Tools. People who have reported to me in my corporate career, know that I followed Mike and Mark’s thoughts on 1)One on One’s religiously besides carrying out Performance reviews, Coaching, regular Feedback, that these events happen without pain or ill will. Many of my directs have modelled their personal life to focus on family first which MT emphasises. WSJ brought an article on Mike and Mark (West Point graduates) highlighting their achievement.
I was delighted to see that Mark Horstman, who leads the podcast which has Million Downloads a month, is planning to conduct Effective Manager Conference at BANGALORE in the Summer of 2019, during the month of May. The 2 days, (Effective Manager conference 1 day, Effective Communication Conference for a day) event venue at Bangalore, is not yet finalised, as yet. I would request EHS professionals as well as other managers to take advantage of this event, which is being held first time in India and participate to be a better Managers / Human being. (The conference has been on, since 2008 or so, across the globe) I consider Mike and Mark as Peter Drucker -II ! Their advice on how to save six months salary for troubled times, how to resign gracefully, How to keep networking, have helped me beyond work and quit corporate when I felt enough is enough.
2) Employees come to work to commit suicide like Terrorists do!!!
I was reading Dr Robert Long’s posts. The Australian based Social Psychology expert who writes his blog. Dave Collins who shares his thoughts with Dr Long in the Riskology blog comes out with his gun blazing in this post. Companies are hell-bent in going in for “Root cause”, that they miss common sense approach (Video) and try to lay blame entirely on Employees. Even in most cases, where employee is dead, the root cause, lies as though they interviewed the dead employee. I personally believe, that Every Accident no matter what, is fault of Management, and there are 3 causes which when failed, that lead to an accident/incident. (Organisations I proudly served followed this philosophy for course corrections) These are as Trevor Kletz quotes, 1) Prevention of hazard 2) Avoidance of Hazard 3) Management Systems failure. So where the hell employee comes in to picture?. Companies take the easy cop-out to blame everything on employees and many times, instruments like Behaviour Based Safety has fanned the wildfire idea that Employees are inherently stupid without realising that Safe conditions leads to a safe workplace thus productive work environment.
See the PPT of a fatality (Thanks to Dave Collins Blog) in Australia, where Incident investigation almost went to say Employee committed suicide. Danny-Cheney-Fatality-Learnings. If an advanced society like Australia has such an outlook, what is hope for Incident that happens to worker’s in Developing world, poor economy like China, Indonesia, South Africa etc?? my next thoughts !
3) Gig Economy is here to stay! Learn to adjust and secure your life!
I was not surprised to read an Indian Express article yesterday, that no one cares for injured employees with Amputations in a metal press near Delhi. (Workplace Injuries: Rage Against The Machine:- Somya Lakhani meets the untrained and under-equipped factory workers who have lost fingers to accidents on the job, and discovers the obstacles on the road to recovery these are all temp “GIG employees with no accountability)
The new GIG Economy, where employee-employer relations are very blurred with temp, employment agency that comes in middle, makes ownership or taking responsibility for safety, wellness is blurred. In this case, many employees have lost fingers and no one cares. This Vice video explains, even the issue is same with Temporary workers who are left to fend for themselves at USA! 33 Minute Video on How temporary workers concept ruins things!!
No wonder Amazon is the most dangerous place to work!!! As this Guardian article investigates with no accountability on their end! (It is another matter Donald Trump is right, for a change, about Jeff Bezos and Amazon!! I wont be surprised if this is next ENRON !! Remember even weeks before collapse, it was greatest place to work, fun, most ethical company. We have few such here in India too, the bubble would burst any day, but unlike USA they wouldn’t go bankrupt as funds are pumped in a lot and lot!!!)
So It is up to folks to stay safe, the diluted regulatory environment across the world (Especially in III World countries like India, China would make even things worst in coming days) the need to maximize profits, looking for all cheaper source be it in talent, or materials or methods of work would make Human beings at risk at work place. The best way to fight this menace is to improve knowledge and skills, even if, be at your own cost to stay afloat and to stay alive. If not to you, you owe it to your families! Such are the realities of 2018!! I wish I am wrong but how I wish I am proved wrong and it never happens!!!
Death of Anant Bajaj aged 41 due to cardiac arrest. I recollect reading a tweet that he had a major quarel with an investor analyst, the day before. While this by itself is not a major news now a days, I recollect reading SAP CEO of India collapsing at the treadmill few years back, (2009) also aged 40s!
The candid admission by CEO of Tesla Corporation, the most happening place in the planet, Elon Musk admitting that he is cracking under the stress!
While the “C” suite job carries its own stress due to high visibility, expectations and largely the most stupid thing ever done by Jack Welch on the quarterly earnings declarations, ( Neutron Jack did lot of good stuff, but this is simply a stupid stuff, Glad Trump is working to turn this to a 6 monthly circus)
“Leadership” is key. A stressed leader and his team is a warning sign that things would pass down the line. I always believe,we as middle and senior managers are reflection / character of what our bosses are. We have a Good Boss, we are good to our people. We get a shitty / Bad boss (Luckily in my case only 5 months in my entire career of 27 years of corporate that is another story) you are bad to your team!
I am also hearing plenty of cases of people in their 30s and 20s passing away due to stress related issues. These folks are by no way not even middle managers and are at the beginning of the career ladder.
So what folks can do???
Sounds very easy, but as I keep saying in my interactions with clients, Knowing-Doing gap is so much! People know many things but do very few! Hallmark of great people as in great organisation is doing what you know and knowing what to do and executing it flawlessly.
I recommend folks to read the book, “Eat, Move, Sleep” by Tom Rath. Which goes about the key aspects. As the saying goes, “Sitting is new smoking” !! Tom recommends, you need to do this together focus on all the three! Here is 30 day plan for the same to fall in to groove.
While eat, move, sleep works the physical energy part. The Spiritual energy part is “PRAY”. Which is letting mind declutter and let things go and past be by gone. Again not easy, but success was never easy right?
Love yourself and people around you. Especially your first circle and people who influence you and whom you influence. In our daily stress and routine and fast life, we miss loving them a lot, until it is too late!! Love yourself!! I repeat. Be Authentic, Listen,
This all leads to Wellness! Take care of yourself, let go things! Anger is an evil thing as they say! I recollect reading school poem! Dont get Angry for god’s sake! Wellness at work, is all about physical, emotional, mental, spiritual energy in balance. This gives a human being a normal balanced life!
I wish all the folks the best of luck to live longer, healthier, mentally stronger! We now in to our 50s had the best of time with our leaders, responsibility, organisations, that gave us so much to be what we are. It is essential that this continues in time to come, we need to be first well and strong in all aspects.
I got an invite to be one of the panel member for the one day OSHAI Conclave at Bangalore, yesterday,Friday the 13th!. I was asked to be member on the session on, How does Innovative HSE technology help in Improving HSE performance” The session gave me a chance to catch up with few senior corporate safety folks (Gujarat, Bombay) after good 10 years or so and it was great to connect back and live through old times of 90s !!!!
Agenda:- A flavor of key events. (Another matter,agenda as happened was far different to as printed,as the organisers waited for a government minister to turn up to present few awards, he never turned up,(As norm) so at some point fillers to make up time,can’t be stretched and things go topsy-turvy)
Being a localite, I attended the whole event. The program started with the case study and group discussions (10 groups of 10 each!!) on Fatal accident with legal consequences with debate as to whether the occupier is guilty or not in a construction project as an expansion of an existing factory in an adjacent site! It was very surprising that 90% folks, felt occupier was guilty. I and a couple of other folks were the only one arguing that the information provided was not complete as well as legal connotation of occupier vs as mentioned in the case is absurd. Anyway……..
Our session, which was planned for 245pm started at last at 430pm, ( After I gently reminded the organiser that our session yet to be held, already, 90 min late and they were moving to other events like games, team work and with no time left possibly). The discussions went well which was moderated by P. Murali, VP-EHS, Clariant India who had invited me to be the panel Member.
My summary of thoughts, as I keyed to Evernote to present was as follows:- I couldn’t touch up on all of them as we were badly late on schedule. Of course, fellow panelists (4 of them, had captured few of my thoughts through applications that they use in their entities so purpose served,I can say. I was the 5th panel member to share my thoughts of the five!)
Forget MS-EXCEL, It should be in grave !!!!
Internet of things
Data Analysis crunch, trend analysis spot the outlier, or pattern that is not so visible…… Data visibility with software
Industrial Hygiene methods improved for saving health.
Online Auto Training Module for direct engagement at one’s convinience to learn.
Machine Learning, Image Recognition, QR Code work for innovative Ergonomics assessment, One company- one standard to assess work space thro virtual server and standards using self assessment tools such as Sharepoint, Audit verification tools to help teams prepare better for audits and catch people doing right.
Remote area access to information to people thro Podcasts, video
RFID—> Coded specifics to segregate specifics ( Haz waste, dangerous good) speeds up as well as safe handling
Web presence to reach out critical messages (Weather, storm etc)
Virtual Reality to see what if—-> rather than waiting for incidents to happen 3D Modelling etc.
Auditing norms getting standard without human bias which help consitency (Verification tools aid rating so no human bias)
Risk assessment tools to assess risks in real time, thanks to technology. Duplication of same work avoided leading to prodcutivity.
Drones used for spatial mapping of 1/4 Million Acre site Remediation for processing plant, all aspects, 3 weeks job done in 1 day.
6 technological trends leaders / organisation shall focus/embrace in their digital transformation strategies in 2018 and beyond are:
Mobile apps for audits, incidents and observations and analytics to see trends, outliers thus predict next situation /incident
Enhancing EHS software user experience for people to get feel what is in it for them thro PULL technology rather than push.
Drones for site inspection and capture issues linkage to Google earth software or such.
Virtual reality safety training folks get the feel as well as consequences of deviations
Digital safety vests
Fatigue monitors for drivers to keep them safe!!
I was very excited to meet start up entrepreneur, Prateek Sharma, an IIT graduate, who mesmerised the startup panel session discussing about his nostril dust mask, that filters 2.5 respirable size dust particles (far dangerous) that accumulate in lungs and cause havoc. VIDEO. Prateek runs a company called “Nanoclean Global pvt ltd” The Nasofilter as it is called has won him and his entity, the President of India National Award 2017. In fact the 4 members of start up panel session had some very innovative ideas linked to software, technology. Prateek surprised us with the information that cities like Bhopal are worst polluters for their size scale and they never get the attention! As well as Indoor air is no different in polluted cities. He has now come up with “Nano curtain “that can filter and provided better quality indoor air! This gives message desperate situation calls for desparate measures.
During the past 5 to 6 months, the spate of Industrial Accidents that are routinely occurring in the Chemical Industry is very disconcerting. While most of the incidents spared loss of lives whether due to luck or good emergency response measures, the one that happened in Gujarat last Friday was not so lucky with 2 people losing their lives. I have written a post on this incident in my personal Facebook page since the organisation was connected to me personally, having began my safety & environmental career 30+ years ago there for a few years before beginning my 21 year Global MNC stints.
I am sure investigation team shall work the root cause and organisation shall work corrective measures. I see a trend of fire, explosions, in reactors, storage and handling of solvents etc. This calls for a detailed Process Safety management program of which very little is done in Indian context. I hope companies now step back and look at this. I have written few posts on this key topic few months back.
Incidents such as this or others are classic example of difference between a Near Miss and Fatality. Same incident potential, same situations, same actions and response, but severity varies resulting in loss of lives/property in one situation vs no body got killed in other situation. Such situations in which when nothing major happened, companies tend to move on and things are all back to normal as usual without any investigation or deep down corrective measures done.
Most of the serious accidents /Incidents happen when one or many of the systems that are put in place fails. As readers of my blog post are matured safety and other operational professional, I would let them go through the slide below to get an overview. The Human factor, the conditions, lack of adequate protection/barrier all combine to cause incident with undesired consequences. As I keep insisting, one single factor can never cause an accident and no accident has ever happened without a near-miss or a warning.
I am personally amazed at the technology growth that has happened in the EHS domain especially in the last decade or so. Few things look still a dream for me as a EHS professional who began career 33 years ago. Companies shall take advantage of this technology advancement and shall put priority to prevent incidents/ accidents/ loss of life. Human life is beyond fixing a number to compensate. Organisations that Value Safety would never buck away from fulfilling their obligations with a risk based approach to safety. They are fully aware of late Dr. Trevor Kletz’s Message- “If you Think Safety is expensive ;- Try an Accident”. I am sure in coming years, this would also be a watch word in this part of the world, rather than trying to take short cuts or bribing the way to close issues and thus feeling that doing safety is for others and we can get away!!
I look to the comments /Thoughts. Take care, stay safe.God bless.
As indicated in my previous blog post, I had been to Hyderabad on the 28th June to attend OSH India event. While the event was for 2 days (28-29/6), due to personal event conflict, I could attend only one day. It was great pleasure to meet EHS colleagues as well as to be back in touch with old ESH friends and other associates after good 5 to 6 years. They too have come to Hyderabad to set up stalls as well as participate as panel members! Mr Adeesh Sharma and Mr Javed Qureshi of UBM have done a fabulos job in making this event a grand success. Event of this magnitude takes lot planning, coordination and a few sleepless nights. Good job done.
I chaired the session on “Construction Safety Scenario” which had panel members from Top notch construction agencies, who gave practical scenarios and issues that they face. There were interesting questions from participants (About 100 or so) Construction safety challenges (PPT)
My Thoughts are as Under based on my one day interaction and what I had seen:-
Speaker after speaker touched the fact that Indian safety /EHS implementation has a long way to go for standards of international norms and maturity. Killing / Hurting people and then paying compensation is a far far cheaper option for lot of entities than implementing preventive measures which may cost few times more.
Private sector non Governmental entities have to take initiative based on best practices. Government alone can not be expected to do everything.
Instrument, Equipment, Tools, Tackles, Software, Training Aids, Data logger, Web-based information for keeping an organisation abreast and improving facility EHS performance are available in plenty. Confined space entry equipment, Fall protection and PPE for every body part protection has almost reached international norms as well as ease with which it is available in India. (I recollect my frustration of 1990s to wait for weeks for Dragger tubes for IH Monitoring)
MS-Excel is the biggest enemy to embrace software, data collection analytics! I wonder, If I would see the migration by Small, Medium size companies in my life time? Probably not?? Few agencies were expressing same view although far less pessimistic than my view. Time companies moved the needle.
Foreign agencies who have set up shop here in India are still working their way to establish themself. The cost factor which is very huge and a UNIQUE INDIAN WAY to think about everything in life is a big barrier to reach out to products that can keep people safe.
IH Monitoring and Occupational Medicine, physical fitness aides were far and few, thus indicating very very few organisations have heard about it and still not a market out there to display such products as a larger interest. (This is case over the past 15 years, I have struggled to get IH monitoring/testings done. Thankfully, there are very few entities now, compared to decade back). Physical fitness is key to healthy /productive workplace and this should be area of focus.
Special area of proactive incident prevention like Process Safety Management, Risk Management linkage to business risks are making baby foot steps in India. In the absence of specific regulatory frame-work and guiding agencies expertise in India (CCPS or ECHA) such activities would struggle as even highly hazardous Industries have not understood the complexity of process chemistry and its hazards. Keeping people safe is beyond general safety rules, Equipment, PPE etc.
Overall security aspects are good, again due to absence of regulatory frame-work, companies lack support for Vulnerability assessment, Threat mechanism, Business Continuity management tools and aides to be ready for unplanned event in Proactive mode.
Very few female participants, (Less than dozen is my guess both for sessions and visitors ( I guess good 15,000 people would have visited both the days) thus showing OSH field lacks the diversity to bring different thinking that a Woman brings to table.
Suggestions for UBM. (Mine as well as feedback from participants)
Map of stall # and agency name so that people can have specific focused interactions with select vendors thus saving time to scout.
Technical session can possibly held in enclosed area as there were surrounding noise intervention and visual glare due to open space, thus slides could not be clearly seen.
Once again a great job and it was a pleasure participating in the event. Karthik
I look to comments, please feel free to post your thoughts!
Apologies for long absence. I was tied up with personal situations over last couple of months as well as took good 4 weeks off doing just nothing other than reading, cooking as well as catch up quite lot of family time. ( Good 32 years it took to work such a plan). I hope to be active from July 2nd week or so as few more personal commitments down the line are done and dusted.
I am off to Hyderabad this week for a day (28th,29th June, Thu, Friday is the event at Hitex) to participate in the OSH Expo on Safety and Security. I had been invited to chair / Moderate a session on “Construction Safety”. This is a topic very close to my heart as close to 35 Million workers of whom 30% are unskilled put themselves at Huge Risk.
I have already written a blog post on OSH Expo at Madras last June which I attended. I was also to attend a session at Bombay, last November or so but missed due to personal situation. (Good thing as you age is you can say NO, if personal situations dominate without even blink of an eye)
I am producing the agenda Below. I look forward to EHS and operational folks taking advantage of the program. There shall be a huge exhibition/Demo on Safety and Security product display. EHS has moved some way in India and it will be good EHS and operational folks do their bit to move their capability needle from the knowledge and network front.
See you there.
OSH South India 2018 Conference Hitex Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad June 28 & 29, 2018
28th June ( I shall be present at the venue for 1 day)
10.00-11.00 – Inaugural Session
11.00-12.00 : Session1: Challenges in Implementing Laws and legislation Related to OSH in Construction Industry (panel discussion)
12.00-12.20: Session 2: Implementing OSH Best Practices in the Construction Industry
12.30-13:00: Session 4: Changing the Mindsets in Cement Manufacturing Regarding OSH (speaker session)
14.00 – 14.45: Session 5: Accident Prevention: Risk Assessment and Control Strategies (speaker session)
15.00 – 16.00: Session 7: How Implementing the Right OSH Strategy Benefits Organisations (panel discussion)
16.30-16.50 : Session 8: Safety Best Practices for a Renewable Power Generation Facility (speaker session)
16.50 – 17:05: Session 9:Changing Workspaces and their Impact on Employee Health (speaker session)
17.05-17.30: Session 10:Accident Prevention: Behavioral Based Safety, going Beyond Risk Assessment & Control Strategies (speaker session)
10.30-12.00 Session 1: Workshop on ‘Indian Standards on Occupational Safety and Health’– By Bureau of Indian Standards
12.00 – 12.50: Session 2: Battling Occupational Hazards to Workers’ Health (speaker session)
14:00 – 14:20 : Session 4: Controlling Risks to Workers’ Safety in Renewable Energy Facilities (speaker session)
14.30 – 15.30 : Session 6: Ensuring a Safe and Hygienic Working Environment in the Pharma and Health Industry (panel discussion)
16.00 – 16.15: Session 7: Best Practices in the Use of Powered Access Equipment in the Construction Industry (speaker session)
16.15 -16.30 – Session 8: Standardising Industry Policies for Handling Hazardous Incidents (speaker session)
It has been good three months since I posted anything here. Business travel, Mother’s adverse health and other aspects kind of kept me tied in all sorts of situations that posting HSE blog was the last thing on the mind.
With my 9 months EHS Special support assignment at “Clariant Hyderabad” that has come to an end yesterday, I hope to get more time to post my thoughts much more frequently. 150+ days of active, challenging engagement that kind of made go in to deep end to chemical process engineering basics linkage to safety and work the way I did 25 years back was immensely satisfying. It was pleasant surprise when facility team members huddled for a quick meet up and expressed their gratitude.
One of the pleasant surprise for me was that few of Indian companies who were leaders in pollution, unsafe acts and conditions have realised that they no longer can afford to let things happen. In my visits to such clients, the overarching sense I got was with the new generation of leaders taking over the organisation ( Grand son/Son of the founder viz III or II generation taking over with their overseas exposure etc) they feel things can not just go on the way that has been the case. These young gen folks are more focussed to grow their business beyond Indian shores which calls for establishing global best practices in business. EHS being integral part of business with going beyond compliance is the way to go. I agree that such Indian entities are far and few as of now, but I am positive that this number would keep increasing.
I am concerned with the fires that are happening so routine in chemical / Manufacturing / Chemical storage facilities. I recollect no less than four to five incidents at Boisar, Ankleshwar, Hyderabad in which chemical plants have been gutted down in the past 2 to 3 months. While incident investigations may be confidential within the organisation, people close to the action who were involved in the process of fact-finding have indicated “Static Electricity” along with uncontrolled storage of Solvents/flammable near the operating area as the possible cause of such incidents. Storage of flammable is critical aspect that is mostly overlooked by organisations.
Rob Long whose Blog I follow actively, posted thought provoking posts on Ball tampering issue and its linkage to brain freeze and stupid decisions that come out! Group think can undermine independent thinking/ questioning attitude thus leading organisations to disaster. It is very essential for EHS folks not to nod their head for everything that is being said by leadership. But in a power distance culture like India, this is easily said than done.
This blog post is not about the famous Alistair MaClean’s all time hit book! Ofcourse, Circus is slowly getting extinct due to various animal rights, as well as virtual entertainment taking dominance.
As I complete 32 years of career, spanning over corporate as well as my own EHS consulting and entering the 33rd year this month, I can’t help to correlate the state of overall business that I see in 2018 is nothing but failing Circus show. Circus is all about mastery, trust, goodwill, interactions, get to know, body language etc and taking care of non human being like animals, pets etc as well as connect with them. This is what business/industrial activities are, which are lacking excellence to perform and getting blunted. Today it is all about Risk aversion, conformance, tunnel vision not to look beyond the next quarter.
Why things look dismal?
Lack of Ownership
Lack of Leadership
Lack of Direction
Lack of Vision, Values, Alignment
Lack of Empowerment
Lack of Trust
Lack of Accountability
Lack of Empathy
Lack of Motivation within /external
Lack of Engagement, etc.
Over all all the above factors can be summarised in one word” CULTURE”. I cover culture in a broader sense, from Quality, Productivity, Safety, Inventory, Delivery, Cost, People. They are all interlinked and one can not grow without the other! I have never seen one where safety record is excellent but Quality was average.
What can be done to make culture improve and thus make things work better in days to come? Tall order? But here is what I would think? I am not a pessimist, always see glass as half full. So I see hope. EHS is always linked to business growth. So, EHS professionals at least can do their bit as follows and hope tide turns around or go someplace
Set strategy, vision, objectives. Work out what short, medium, long term vision looks like in the EHS area. Safety function has grown so much in the last 33 years, beyond injury tracking and prevention.
Accountability, Empowerment is key factor. Set Goals with how to reach them, who shall do by when. Link rewards to achieving goals, objectives. Set metrics to track progress and maturity path.
Work on Management team, Employees, workmen attitude to each other from EHS standpoint. There is a lot of mutual mistrust, lack of respect, not walking the talk by each side. So be a bridge between the two pillars. This can only happen when you EHS Professionals are visible at shop floor and get to know people and build relationship and trust. This would also call for being candor and not afraid to speak the truth. (Very poor in Indian context, our job security fear, we nod our head 99% to what our boss says, however idiotic it may be!) Management members also feel that everyone need to be treated with a stick with a sense of arrogance, I know everything attitude thrown in a lot and is common. The management team forgets, like “Mother in law, she was once a daughter in law” !!!
Sense of urgency needs to be shown in taking decision. In many organisations the decision-making process is painfully slow worse than watching paint dry. Again this is linked to risk aversion as well as idiotic business, finance protocols that have crept in over last decade or so. I have written enough to beat the horse to death.
To work the culture change, improvement, key aspect is communication! This is very poor. People just don’t get it! I have seen 10s of entities, where there would be 0 visual management on what is happening, absence of notice boards, posters, progress reports. Even meetings that run for hours would not be followed by minutes to work actionable etc. This is killer. Such actions when not done can easily douse the engagement of employees.
Key aspect to work to improve culture is focus on Skills in people. Rules and knowledge would get you nowhere. Skill development is what makes people do their job better and differentiates people. Companies owe to their employees. PERIOD. The training and communication sessions need to make people better with feedback thrown in to validate the understanding in people on what is being said/taught.
Work on systems, process, procedures. Link them to the communication, training, skill development aspects which makes employees learn and grow. See leaders in everybody! Leadership is made.
Despite doing all this, there are always chance for failure, things not going as per plan. Work corrective measures, learning from failures, Incident investigation program not to find fault, but to find facts and work correction.
I hope these aspect go some way to turn things around over time! These are long drawn process.
In 2000, I was gifted the book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” written by Dr Stephen Covey. The book went to change my life. While I was successful at a personal level with reading “Think and grow rich” in 1988 (30 years flew) this invaluable book gave me lot of clarity to work my way in my corporate environment more so when working in multinational, multi cultural, international assignments.
So what are the 7 habits? How does it translate in to actions for a successful EHS professional career.
Habits are first formed in the HEAD! One needs to have the will to work the change that they want to see. Try that thought in head and practice, it becomes a habit. Example saying I would wear seat belt every time. Try 21 days with effort and willpower in head, it is a habit. Habit is the confluence/sweet spot of Skill, Desire and Knowledge. Habits become synonymous with “Unconscious Competence”
So how EHS professionals can embrace the 7 Habits and be even more successful:-
Be Proactive:- Work the vision, Mission, Policies etc align to organisation values,core competence. Identify key behaviours that would be required to be successful at all levels in organisation. ( Growth, Customer Focus, Get Results, Making people better etc.)
Begin with the end in Mind:- How success would look like. Work the tool of “Risk Assessment” A good risk assessment carried out with a clear Hazard Identification shall go a long way to a safer /healthier/productive work place. The Risk mitigation plans worked through “hierarchy of controls” helps achieving the same. Always have a positive outlook, think and work as though success is achieved. Never give in to self-doubt, fear. Always ask “What is organisation what to achieve in EHS- How we can align to the same.
Put first thing first:- Distinguish between Important and Urgent! Learn to “MANAGE” on Important and Urgent as well as FOCUS on Important but not Urgent. Align to Risk Portfolio where RED Risks are Important and Urgent. Yellow are Important but Not URGENT. Focus on them as well as organisational Goals, Objectives and targets that are enablers to deliver results. Track them on weekly, monthly, quarterly basis. Work course corrections if required. Deadlines are sacrosanct, never miss. NEVER! Be realistic in setting deadlines. Many miss this key aspect. Also develop relationship, people are key to get things done!
Think Win Win:- How all can win. See everything from holistic standpoint. Work success is not a ZERO SUM GAME. Set your personal ego aside. Learn to lose small battle, to win bigger war. Work on Integrity, character, Trust.
Seek First to Understand than to be understood:- Participation from all crucial. Listen, Engage, every opinion counts.
Synergize:- 1+1 =3 Simply stated. See how it can be leveraged from HSE standpoint. Listen, engage, ask opinion. Establish norms, protocol, process, program, procedures to strengthen. Ask for support.
Sharpen the saw:- Keep going. Getting entry in to systems, process is beginning of race, not the end. As the saying goes, “Reaching top is easy, staying there is difficult”
So from EHS standpoint, professionals can live 7 habits:-
Opportunities for EHS cost reduction, business first, profits must. Do more with less.
Areas which require continuous attention and improvement, engagement from EHS Standpoint.
Effectiveness of EHS management systems through metrics, monitoring, progress.
Areas which are high-risk for environmental or safety hazards through sound risk assessments, mitigations, corrective and preventive actions and stay on top.
Environmental and safety regulation compliance which is first and foremost.
Employee training, consultation, communication practices to keep systems dynamic. Take inputs, work improvement.
Listen, visible felt leadership.
All contractors, III party, Toll activities etc assessment and control for foot print control.