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)