EHS? Is anybody out there?Can any one hear me?

Not the famous search phrase in Titanic rescue!!

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It was a wonderful opportunity for me to visit Madurai, the place where I did my graduation in 1980s this week for CII Safety Seminar for which I was invited as a speaker on Safety culture beyond compliance. (HINDU) It was a great interaction with statutory officials for me after good 17 years to have met any government personnel. The discussions with them was very useful and gave me lot insight. There are still some officials who want to do their best keeping themselves away from murky politics and corrupt practices that have plagued system. It is indeed heartening to meet such officials. 

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My main theme of talk was!!

  1. Focus on compliance, laws are made to facilitate EHS implementation.
  2. No Law is an impediment. They are set with purpose. Of course, there can be some conflicts in implementation in rare instances, work around it.
  3. Do not wait for government to work norms, go beyond compliance with saving lives, property as motto.
  4. Get competence, skills to manage EHS.
  5. Use Risk based approach; practice Hazard recognition and mitigation through hierarchy of controls. PPE always last resort.

There were close to 100 participants for the event. What stuck me most was (Of course these are my personal views and is in no way a criticism of event or participants calibre)…..

  1. In all the sessions, (4 of them with about 6 speakers) there was not a single Question from any of the participant for panel members to answer. The participants were about 30% EHS professional. I can’t help wonder what made them tongue-tied( The sessions were held in Tamil 50% of time and 90% speakers mother tongue is Tamil) if you do not ask a question, how would you learn?
  2. Most of programs in safety, as I interacted with folks during breaks as well as info shared were in primitive stage with posters, banners, safety day, recognition, Mirror as safety rep! Antecedents for safe behaviour are all evaporative effects, they never bring the desired results for maturity path to safety excellence.
  3. Even in matured organisations there were no information presented on safety perception survey, key points that came out as stumbling block to implementing safety, Safety as a value proportion, Leadership involvement, engagement to make safety as a business enabler. 
  4. System integration for maturity to EHS through ISO 14001, ISO 9001 with a risk based overview to business could be thought off, I didn’t find that in matured organisation presentation. ( Ofcourse, the standards are 2 years in to implementation, so may take time perhaps)
  5. What personally intrigued me was while we are on push for Make in INDIA, I can’t help wonder when presenter after presenter, reeled information from overseas agencies who had supported implementing the program! Is EHS implementation in India is at such a phase in 2017 AD, where you need overseas folks to let you know your EHS status?? Don’t think so? I cant help but wonder when we will get out of this colonial mentality! I recollect we using during 1990s, the CII -EMS team from New Delhi, to support EMS implementation fully knowing local resources needed for local customisation for an international standard!! I cant help wonder, that, at 40% costs locally, the excess funding could have been used for other EHS program betterment.
  6. Fire Safety perspective in Cracker industry both from manufacturing, assembly & storage, has long way to go and requires plenty of EHS support both from people safety as well as Process Safety standpoint. Again folks want to go for implementation for a better workplace, but don’t know where to turn to at a cost-effective way? The legislative support in the form of Explosive Rules 2008 is awesome, but no one knows how to go about it!! firecra
  7. Environment, Safety, IH, Occ Med, Sustainability are still seen as compartments in implementation with diverse functions handling them. Integrating them and working for synergy is the way to go, this has to happen sooner than later!!

Good Luck and God Bless!!
Karthik

23/6/17 1700 Hrs. 

 

Towering Inferno!!! Truth stranger than FICTION!!!

#51

I almost used this topic name to write on the shitty affairs that plague EHS folks and EHS function! I used some other topic name after thinking it over, a few weeks back!!

How sad I have to use this topic name now( None would fit better) Nothing else describes the mayhem that happened on Granfel Tower UK than to describe through Steve McQueen, Paul Newman Thriller of Irwin Allen movie of 1970s which rocked the world! 

Fiction becomes Truth this week. Granfel Tower blaze when I watched looked exact replica except none were acting and human lives were lost!!

How things came to such a mess?? Investigations would reveal, at this stage we don’t know even total lives lost, looks like it could be in to 50s or so! Our heart goes out for all victims!!

Things that come out clear!!

  1. We need a global standard for fire safety on high-rise building. As more and more building come up due to high-speed elevators, we may touch the sky. Then what are  the rescue plans?? PLAN B?? 
  2. Building material can themselves cause havoc, as I tweeted Facade has become the Charade !!Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 8.23.27 PM
  3. Active safety implementation is the norm, gone are days of passive safety. Systems need to work and fail safe/ back up systems need to be in place.
  4. I keep saying and get in to lot of discussions (many times with European colleagues and European MNC folks here) that American norms go above and beyond! As in Granfel tower case, I am proved right. The material that was used are banned in USA!! How sad I am proved right again!! Screen Shot 2017-06-17 at 8.20.43 PM

I hope like the Bhopal  tragedy, which made a determined world to bring PSM 1910.119 with collaboration with European and American agencies, the Granfel Tower could be the one to turn Fire safety norms, implementation, regulations on its head? Would the world take up the challenge!!? Hope so?

Take care, god bless
Karthik

17/6/17 2030 Hrs. 

My 10, A-HA moments !!! EHS 1985-2017!

#50!!

(This will be my last post I would share with folks on  their personal devices) Pl feel free to subscribe to this blog in to your email Inbox. Information received from a “PULL” works better utilised than pushed! My unshakable belief 30 years!!! 

Not about the pop Music group from Norway!! What musician from Norway singing in English ? U kidding?? Boy!! Didnt they take world by storm!!  

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As a 50th Blog post, I thought I would work it a bit professional personal  and share my 10 A-HA Moments in my EHS Career that kind of stuns you at the moment when we decided to take it bang on. I am very lucky that I could get that Epiphany having engaged in world-class organisation practicing the best EHS practices and leaders who expected nothing but top-notch performance from their team. One need to remember these were times in 80s and 90s where there was No Internet, No Telephone! Everything is word of mouth or print or passed down to you at someone’s will or pleasure!!!

  1. Hazard Catalogue and Risk 1992:- (7 years before world knew OHSAS 18001!) I was going through old documents having joined as SEO (Safety & Environmental officer) when I stumbled on Zurich Insurance Hazard Catalogue and Risk Mitigation plan. While I was aware of Hazard from the days of passing out Industrial Safety course 1989. The Risk Reduction catalogue and with detailed dive in on Hazards thus linking to Probability  and Severity was something eye-opening. We could even establish a Site Risk portfolio for Normal operations as well as emergency events in terms of Risk. ( ISO 31000 Equivalent) It is another matter that 15 years down the line, we extended our Risk portfolio spectrum to cover Risk as Product of 1) Probability 2) Severity 3) Frequency 4) % People affected in events 5) Legal requirements gradation from local to federal in decreasing order. This helps to allocate your funding in a RIFLE approach of Bulls eye.

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  2. Minimum Ignition Energy (MIE) :- When handling Hydrogen, Ethylene Oxide etc while working the project design,we came across the term (Static electricity My memory serves me right, 1987, when working the synthesis plant) so the need for copper jumpers lead to finding the term” MINIMUM Ignition Energy! 

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  3. Dow and Mond index!!! If there is one aspect in process safety that really took my breath away then it must be “DOW and MOND Index” to calculate process safety hazards beforehand at design stage to get a classic idea as to what are disasters/catastrophe expected in terms of both fire /explosion as well as Toxic chemicals. It is still etched in my memory 20++ years later, where I read the document on this first time in 1995 (see below)! Dow mond index

 

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4.Fire Water Retention Basin:–  The November 1986 Schweizherhalle fire was an eye opener. The fire at Sandoz Chemicals Warehouse at Mutenz( I visited the spot 8 years later 1994 caused the fire water used to douse flame ran in to River Rhine which flows from Switzerland across Germany in to Netherlands. The contaminated fire water killed millions of species of Fish and other aquatics. As an Engineering remedial measure of lessons learned, every chemical warehouse would be designed and connected with a fire water retention basin ( as per Safety guideline #28) with the  quantity equivalent to 6 hours of fire fighting (roughly 2200 M3) being retained and tested before letting out. 

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5. GL 28 Warehousing. As indicated above, the material classifications are done on basis of Rating 1 to 10. 1 Being Highly explosive, 2 Reactive chemicals, 3 Water explosive, 5 peroxides, 6 Solvents  to 10 being water based solvent based on fire and toxic rating. The material category are to be stored only as one category in one fire compartment and no mixup is allowed. Each category is separated from other class of storage by fire resistant walls, fittings, Doors. There shall also be provisions for Smoke detectors, gas Detectors as applicable! (Fire water retention a must) the facility should have 6 hours of water to fight fire at average flow of 300 M3/hr pumps. Additional Sprinklers shall be determined based on Risk Assessment. The inventory is to be updated every week on a global data base (1993!!). 

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6. W5, MAK!!! The Chemical substances that have potential carcinogenic health hazard (Suspected not yet proven with a reliable data) were classified as W5 (Warning Guideline #5) and labelled accordingly. The substance use for manufacturing  are very restricted or done under strict Engineering control and Industrial Hygiene monitoring as operation control measure. PPE usage for respiratory protection and contact prevention were enforced closely with supervisors taking ownership for protection of workmen. MAK =(Maximale Arbeitsplatz-Konzentration) The MAK value is the maximum permissible concentration of a substance as a gas, vapour or aerosol in the air at the workplace which, according to current knowledge, does not normally affect worker health or cause unreasonable nuisance even with repeated and long-term exposure, usually 8 hours a day, but assuming an average weekly working time of 40 hours. Strict Industrial hygiene measures are put in place so that values of exposure do not exceed the threshold. 

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7. ISO 9001-1987. The first standard to Management systems, which helped to bring as a pioneer to structured approach of Plan-Do-Check-Act. We embraced it with glee for implementation in 1993! This brought lot of discipline in to work. Life became a lot easy with this approach to execute EHS in this integrated approach even back in 1990s. The standards for 14001 and 18001 were derived from this years later…….

The 20 Elements of ISO 9000-1987 

  • Management Responsibility
  • Quality System
  • Contract Review
  • Design Control
  • Document and Data Control
  • Purchasing
  • Control of Customer Supplied Product
  • Product Availability and Traceability
  • Process Control
  • Inspection and Testing
  • Control of Inspection, Measuring and Test Equipment
  • Inspection and Test Status
  • Control of Nonconforming Product
  • Corrective and Preventive Action
  • Handling, Storage, Packaging, Preservation and Delivery
  • Control of Quality Records
  • Internal Quality Audits
  • Training
  • Servicing
  • Statistical Techniquesiso-90012008-in-school-9-638

8. Balanced Score Card:-  (BSC) EHS, In order to move from reactive Accident metric to a proactive metric that covers all spectrum of EHS, a Balance Score Card is a good leading indicator. This covers, Incidents, near-miss, First Aid incident all investigated, Safety audits/inspections, Corrective action closed on time, Energy, Waste all aspects go in to the metric. The BSC then classified as Red, Yellow, Green based on % number that is above or below threshold acceptance for drill down. We could work this in 2006!!

9. Vulnerability Analysis:– Post 9/11, this became watchword to check, correct and monitor the exposure of facilities to threats, exposure, interruption to business/facility operation. How to identify such threats, work mitigation as well as recovery plans, recovery time, components desired to be recovered. 

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10. Zero Fatality Program:- Last but not least nothing comes ahead of keeping people safe. So the ZERO Fatality program which emphasises to keep people safe with Infrastructure, Support systems, Procedures, Protocols, Training & coaching, Safe work as conditions of employment are established. The programs that should be foolproof for effective implementation so as to keep people safe are

  1. LOTO
  2. Electrical Safety
  3. Confined Space Entry
  4. Fall Protection
  5. Machine Guarding
  6. Vehicle Safety. 

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    I am glad that we could do so much, learned so much and grew with Safety as it evolved. As I keep saying, we couldn’t have done without our functional, business leaders who gave us all the resources, learning opportunity besides being there to guide and coach.

Take it easy, take care, stay safe, God Bless

Karthik.

10/6/17 1530 hrs. 

 

Hitler’s Rascals (HR) and Filthy Finance, No more Brothers-in-Arms!

#49

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Some time back, I was interacting for a potential assignment for a Global MNC Major, when the EHS director, out of bolt from blue, said to me that my credentials have to be vetted by HR! I grudgingly agreed to the process, fortunately it was nothing more than hello/Hi just to be sure that I was not a friend or known to EHS guy for ages !!! That gave me a thought on writing a post today on HR and Finance the two functions which has supported me immensely in the first Fifteen years of my career (1985-2000) such that the HR and Finance folks were like Brothers-in-arms. However, over the last decade or so, like Churchill rightly predicted of Indians and its leaders (Wonder why he missed Indian INC) and how Indian shit would hit the fan these two functions have got rotten for whatever reasons !! churchill

90% of Human Resources function is very Bad HR which is ugly and horror film with existing protocols to meet their needs and no value add to business. Finance again 95% has become Junk with powers given by management to cut costs without rhyme or reason and stupid legal aspects like Dodd Frank Act, Sorbonne Oxley etc etc have only added Petrol to the raging fire in the name of compliance. Common sense in entities has gone out of window! ( It is another matter that all the financial laws in the developed world would have been read up to last full stop and comprehended only by 1) Chinese Govt to find loop holes to exploit 2) The Economist magazine team to write an essay)  I can’t thank my stars enough that I got out the rut and shit a good five years back. I can’t help wonder how the next generation would manage the stench and filth that is out there in these two functions and even deliver outputs to be productive and meaningful. The good news is the shit is of same stench is across the world, so be it a developing world or Developed world the rogue elements in these two decaying Functions are out to screw everything that stands for Employee involvement, engagement, motivation, Autonomy, Mastery, purpose that nurtures organisation. ( I am sure there other elements too, but I am not going there now for this post)

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So what folks can do work when your Brothers-in-arms have become Jack Shit and you need to get things done!

  1. Develop relationship, I have written tons on this, Relationship power alone delivers 70% of results. Keep connected to people, get to know people. Develop a personal chemistry with folks, even in the Evil HR and Fouled up finance, there will be folks who are doing what they are doing due to business pressure or organisation culture. They always know a solution and way out to any issues to your advantage after all it is not personal. It all boils down to relations and give and take. Nothing works like personal chemistry, relations and being there for folks at work place and beyond work place. 

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  2.  Plan Plan Plan:- The best results in adverse work environment are done with a great planning. Lincoln sums up aptly. Work on what can work well, what would go wrong, what are alternate options, what is in it for all stakeholders. What alternate way to reach the goal should there be one. Work the attention to details, that is very essential. Many EHS folks miss this out and struggle when probed a bit deep thus whole plan losing credibility. 

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  3. Document, Document Bloody well document. Whatever you work on projects, people, programs, protocols, keep a work diary and document them with notes. While it may appear like COVER YOUR ASS (CYA) for addressing workplace issues, even Good HR would require documentation evidence for working actions when issues appear. This is very essential. 

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  4. Distinctly know the difference between Effectiveness and Efficiency!!  This goes a long way to deliver results come what may be the external environment around you! Peter Drucker uses the term”Effective Executive” not efficient executive. 

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  5. Develop financial Acumen, work the basics of costing, budgeting, the key financial terms. Work everything from Zero based budgeting. That way you would not be hoodwinked by bad financial folks who can get around bull shitting. These days any manager needs Integrated thinking to cover all aspects of business like Finance, Soft Sills, Marketing, sales, operations, productivity at a basic level to add value to their work. A good business management degree may go some way. (Thank god I did one to kill flying time) I am still thankful for skills I picked up for justifying my Million $ SHE (That is how my chairman named the dept!!!)  budgets to my chairman for his annual approval good 2 decades back using Zero based budgetting.  Remember to look at variance, that is a killer! Any effective process gets hindered if variance creeps in. 

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   6) Pre wire, Pre wire, Pre wire:- Despite getting everything right, there would be always folks who wont see things the way you see. So work a meeting/discussions in an informal set up and we call this the pre wire. Agree to the common minimum ground and work a consensus so that when the final meetings happen things go smooth sail. Remember it all boils to relationship and networking to reach out as well as TRUST. Remember to get results delivered you need to follow up! 

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I can list on and on but I guess EHS folks get the essence, in short, great managers deliver results day in day out in spite of Bad Hitlers Rascals (HR) and Fouled Financial filth as hindrances. They take such adverse situations as a challenge to relish and deliver stellar results, rather than go timid and blame or use excuse to justify failures. Remember, no one knows your job better than you in your area of work/domain expertise and let your results speak for itself.  Don’t let others intrude and dont give an inch ? Would you allow them in to your bedroom to teach you F***ing skills ???? As simple as that!!!! Screen Shot 2017-06-08 at 4.17.01 PM

Good Luck and God bless

Karthik

8/6/17, 1630 Hrs. 

Have a change of scene!!

Not the awesome, page turning James Hadley Chase Thriller of 1970s!! 

have-a-change-of-scene

During the EHS audit of my facility in 1990s, the corporate overseas ESH auditors in their recommendation drafted 1) Drug testing 2) Alcohol testing of all employees as a parent company policy and practices to be followed at site! As a site HSE leader (A smart Rookie then) being the auditee, I had put my foot down for the recommendation saying that such tests are impractical, impossible to get done and questions the basic trust and faith that organisation affirms in their employees besides the tests intrudes in to the Indian cultural values! I was very clear that recommendation is not going in! The auditor gentlemen, ( Three of the European nationals) who are unlike argumentative Indians, (That is a notorious tag!) saw reason and withdrew the recommendation from the audit findings!! It is another matter that six months down the line, when I landed in that country,  the corporate Medical head recommended that I undergo a test for then newly discovered menace called  HIV/AIDS, saying it is a mandatory protocol, which I readily agreed!! 

Today the work place Scene has undergone a sea of change. The work place today has hidden and unseen issues in the areas as follows which if not managed well can throw nasty surprises leading to business interruption in the worst case scenario.  These are:-

  1. Alcohol  & related issues
  2. Drugs both Illegal and prescription overuse
  3. Depression and mental problem, psychological issues
  4. Anger, Frustration, Rage
  5. Stress
  6. Hunger leading to outrage /Incidents (Trust me!!) 
  7. Sexual Harassment
  8. Bullying, Work place violence
  9. Diabetics/Low Sugar etc
  10. Overtime, Fatigue!!  

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The list above is not exhaustive and clearly they not only pose HSE performance issues leading to Injuries, Illness and even fatalities. (as happened last night in Florida when an ex employee, walked in to the factory site and shot dead 5 of his colleagues)!  The above work place related employee conditions  as well can significantly affect productivity, employee morale and general work place Hygiene. Unlike USA, Gun related issues are very least likely in our part of the world thanks to different kind of regulations. However EHS folks need to tune themselves to the listed issues above and work a plan to manage them in consultation with leadership, Administration and other interested parties.

So what can be done to improve the workplace from these issues, it is better to be forewarned and be in a proactive mode to set policy, program, procedures, counselling, support and preventive measures as a part of employee wellness would go some way. If you think these issues listed above are never going to be here in India, God Bless you and ride your luck! Read these below of incidents that happened in our part of world.

  1. HR Manager Killed 
  2. Prescription Drug abuse 
  3. Dangerous Drug Rave Parties 
  4. Drug testing the fear in IT Industry  
  5. Stress  #1 risk to Indian Employees 

 I can list on and on, I hope EHS folks get the message. Issues which are alien ( I like the word) to us a couple of decades back are now a common place in this globalised borderless world where information, style, practices flow thick and fast. So it is essential that organisations are ready for the same. Needless to say, each facility/site/location would have its unique challenges to identify issues, work corrective action and implement recommendation. 

The generic overview for such programs:- 

  1. Look for tell tale symptoms:- Employee feedback program, EHS Perception survey, Safety Satisfaction survey, Company Culture/climate overview/survey can lead to potential opportunities if the threshold scores are not met. It is indeed possible there are lone wolf who would never be caught, but highlighting issues at workplace will make folks look for potential person who goes astray.
  2. Work a site Team or steering committee to address issues if survey output indicates a situation. Leaders from key functions such as HR, Admin, Legal, EHS should be part of the team working the way forward. The team need to:-
    1. Focus on issue with a practical/workable/doable solution as an end.
    2. Focused on real issue with evidence rather than perception, loose talk (Cry Wolf)
    3. Open, Honest, Transparent discussions with acknowledging the issue (if one stares at you) and seek expert help in addressing and solving the issue in a way acceptable to all concerned.
    4. Keep always the success of affected person in mind to resolve issues.
  3. Leadership team and other senior members need to ask themselves these 20 questions before set out to work the program implementation. 
  4. Once issues identified, parameters set to correct for support systems to improve employee psychological health, morale, the team should work towards making it a success by working specific, measurable, timely, result oriented tasks. If some tasks can’t be specifically measured, work proxy metrics to begin with.
  5. Improve Hygiene factors at work. Hygiene factors are such that they are not visible when present, but distinctly effects in a negative way the work performance in their absence. 

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  6. I wanted to trigger thought process in to folks to beyond routine EHS issues like known hazards like Electrical, Mechanical, chemical etc, forgetting the human psychological and well-being element! obviously one post can’t solve provide solutions all problems. (Nor providing solution is the aim)  I would touch this topic in detail in later posts. 

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I look to your comments, thoughts, ideas.

Take care, stay safe. God bless

Regards

Karthik.

6/6/17 1530 Hrs. 

The Last Resort (Paradise((((LOST))))!! ? is it?

#47

Eagles, 1976! Just as I was getting in to know what is Music that touches your soul!

eagles-usa-the-last-resort-asylum-3

Some rich man came and raped the land, nobody caught ’em,
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes and, Jesus, people bought ’em
And they called it paradise, the place to be,
They watched the hazy sun sinking in the sea

You can leave it all behind and sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did so many years ago
They even brought a neon sign ‘Jesus is Coming’,
Brought the white man’s burden down, brought the white man’s reign

Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
‘Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here
We satisfy our endless needs and justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny and in the name of God” 

“In a 1978 interview with Rolling Stone,  Don Henley said: “‘The Last Resort’, on Hotel California, is still one of my favorite songs… That’s because I care more about the environment than about writing songs about drugs or love affairs or excesses of any kind. The gist of the song was that when we find something good, we destroy it by our presence — by the very fact that man is the only animal on earth that is capable of destroying his environment. The environment is the reason I got into politics: to try to do something about what I saw as the complete destruction of most of the resources that we have left. We have mortgaged our future for gain and greed.”Henley  also recalled that he had been reading about “the raping and pillaging of the West by mining, timber, oil and cattle interests” at the time he wrote the song!!!”top-10-music-bands-of-all-time-5-638.jpg

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++I am posting this blog triggered by a poster came in my INBOX messenger informing me that the company is celebrating WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY on 5th June !! While I have covered my skepticism and indifference in celebrating such events (Just like birthdays??? what is the use) which are dog and pony show on the occasion of national safety day in a post here. I would echo similar sentiments and post what can be done to improve environment a better place like Don wants it to be and really make a meaningful contribution to keep the earth a more cleaner, greener place! It is our obligation to the next generation!

So what EHS Folks can do / Influence make place they spend 1/3 of the day a better place!

  1. Leadership:- Nothing works ( I think I have written Donkey’s times in my posts) without leadership/management involvement, Engagement, Committment! Leaders need to walk the talk in Environmental stewardship. No entity can survive without leadership participation. Work environmental management from Short, Medium and long-term in terms of Threats, Opportunities, Strength, Weakness and work plans. Cover Environmental programs like Air, water, haz waste etc, Remediation, Energy, Resources, Legal aspects,Sustainability, Business Foot Print etc etc.

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  2. Environmental Leaders display the following traits   a) Leadership begins with relationships and the personal skills needed to develop them. The greatest impact will lie in the collective capacity of the network that the entity creates within and outside with trust and respect. 
    b) Diversity is a crucial component of public leadership. Environmental leaders must themselves reflect the diversity of the social and political environment in which they engage and have the skills to work across difference.
    c) Leadership relies on individuals daring to take calculated professional risks called Intelligent Risk taking. 

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  3. Risk Assessment:- If one component which can make or break an entity, it is RISK Assessment from an Environmental standpoint. Risk Assessment clearly quantifies the situations that can impact business and work mitigation plans.  As EPA aptly puts it, “At EPA, ecological risk assessments are used to support many types of actions, including: regulation of hazardous waste sites, industrial chemicals, and pesticides; or the management of watersheds or. other ecosystems affected by multiple chemical, physical, or biological stressors” 

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    4. Compliance alone would take you no where! I am personally astonished how organisations feel in today’s stressful environment, they feel it is adequate to comply with the laws of land! That would take you nowhere, Compliance can only deliver 30% at most in the journey towards excellence. Also when you have incidents, even pleading that compliance is done well wont come to the rescue as many times what is written in document vs What is being done at the Ground ZERO would be very different. This can lead to judicial actions under Wilful violations. So in environmental compliance is Conformance +Excellence. 

     

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    5. Journey towards environmental Excellence:– Once the basics are done with leadership, Strategy, Risks identified and mitigated with the compliance norms established. Organisations can move in the journey as follows by implementing programs, procedures, people engagement, 

      • Impact to the environment (EIA or equivalent)
      • Pollution prevention
      • Energy efficiency
      • Renewable energy
      • Renewable, recovered or recycled materials, TNPO (Total Non productive Output)  Focus.
      • Green building
      • Recycling programs 
      • Management commitment
      • Employee involvement
      • Continuous improvement through Objectives, Targets, Programs
      • Environmental management system ISO 14001-2015 or equivalent
      • Promotion and dissemination of Environmental communications
      • Innovation of doing things different or value add to existing process
      • Impact to the environment (if not addressed as main criteria) 
      • Life cycle analysis
      • Pollution prevention
      • Drinking Water
      • Hazardous Material Management from Environmental standpoint 
      • Energy efficiency
      • Renewable energy
      • Renewable, recovered or recycled materials
      • Green building
      • Storm water best management practices
      • Environmentally preferable purchasing
      • Recycling programs
      • Greener by Design (LEED or equivalent) 
      • Economic benefits
      • Environmental management accounting
        • As process matures it involves in community and neighbourhood participation such as
      • Product or service design with Environmental foot print details beyond fence
      • Environmental Process maturity assessments, both self or III parties for continuous improvement journey 
      • Community education and awareness
      • Improving the supply and delivery chain, Environmental product impact
      • Sharing information about environmental impacts
      • Local environmental priorities
      • Maintaining ecosystems
      • Community support

6. People:- No program without full hearted efforts of the people can go anywhere and make meaningful progress. In environmental programs people can participate by 1) Participating in Risk assessment and risk mitigation initiatives 2) Resource conservation efforts 3) Developing and enhancing skills to required to do job better 4) Participation in Training and Communication programs 5) Making people better by working career path, personal development.  

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I conclude once again with what bugs entities as the “KNOWING DOING GAP” which is what people know vs What people do! The lesser the gap the better the results for companies. 

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Wishing the very best. God Bless. Celebrate World Environment day, but do things much beyond celebrations!!! 

Karthik.

3/6/2017

1430 Hrs. 

PS: Thanks are due for all the references from websites !! Their copyright is duly acknowledged for articles and videos. The usage is for illustrative purpose only.

 

4th Protocol? CSR? A Conspiracy to hoodwink?

Fourth Protocol:- Not the block buster movie from an outstanding fiction master!!

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General Philosophy to excellence in life by 3 Prtocols. 

1st Protocol ——-> My Life and My Well Being. I, me, Myself to Happiness!

2nd Protocol —–> People around me, First Circle of influence. (Spouse, Significant other, Family, Close Friends People who influence whom you influence) to Content 

3rd Protocol——-> Work, Livelihood, Peers to Motivate, Inspire, Engage Role model

so!!! 

4th Protocol ——-> Everyone else Beyond Radar???  to HOODWINK???? 

In response to my previous post on Social Media and its impact on EHS professionals, A comment was posted by a reader, asking on linkage of extending EHS to CSR / Sustainability.  I replied that in an ever changing scenario, EHS encompasses CSR and Sustainability,the foremost aspect of any entity is to keep its people safe and well from Harm. Rest is all secondary as to be  called “Not Important but Urgent” I am qualified to make that statement being a qualified Environmental Engineer besides a Qualified Safety professional.  Keeping people safe, Protecting Environment, minimizing property damage far supercede other task in so-called operational initiatives. Doing other things well without Safety as a primary focus is to live a life without a soul.

I would now post to elaborate which may be or may not be acceptable to all. To my astonishment, companies in 2017, see EHS and Sustainability as two silos and managed by two functions. (I am not even going in to EHS reporting mess, that is a separate blog in itself)  Since all my HSE Blog posts are all based on what we folks did in world-class /top-notch organisations, thus drinking our own cool aid and delivering outstanding results. These initiatives even withstood tough times and we enjoyed as success even in the worst of times, say 2008 Financial crisis which shook the world and made many folks wonder as to their every day at work would be the last working day!! 

Of course, I am focusing the discussions to the Manufacturing, Service and organised sector where products and services are the output to create value.

So let’s go to basics:-

What is EHS, CSR, Sustainability? 

EHS–> Environment, Health Safety covering broadly the following aspects. Please note in these days of convergence it is very difficult to draw a red line and say components of EHS exist in isolation. There is always interaction, interdependence between EHS components.

workplace safety
Work Place Safety components.

Environment:- 

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Occupational Medicine/Health and Industrial Hygiene.

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So the overarching EHS and their interlinkage can be summarised as follows with an management systems perspective ( I am not getting in to systems, PDCA they are already covered in my blog)

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So having got the grip of EHS and systems. How this fits in Sustainability? Suffice to say EHS is a major component which forms the foundation and Sustainability efforts are offshoot. In a broader sense EHS is ROOT and  Sustainability could be off shoot in a tree analogy.

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Having now known the Linkage between EHS and Sustainability, we can now move to see what is CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and how it fits in Scheme of EHS framework. 

 

I reproduce below the article which I read which explains my view very nicely:- CSR and EHS – FINAL

Corporate social responsibility has many definitions, but it is usually comprised of three
fundamental principles: (1) CSR encompasses economic, ecological, and social aspects of
corporate governance; (2) CSR is voluntary; and (3) CSR goes beyond mere compliance, that is, companies engaging in CSR invest in human capital, the environment, and relations with stakeholders (Buchner, 2012). From these principles, it is easy to see how enhancing occupational safety and health, improving working conditions, developing environmental protection programs, and voluntarily committing to human rights not only makesense from an internal standpoint, but also serve to improve relationships with external stakeholders.

A generic list of CSR Activities to give an idea of what is CSR is all about is listed below:-

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It can be seen CSR is a business aid, that makes company act responsibly,but those that do it through CSR initiatives, may not be doing it at a stellar level and many see CSR as a PR tool and try to green wash or blue wash their company without a care for committment, engagement and involvement.

In summary CSR is

  1. Makes good business sense to engage for the betterment of the macroscopic environment in which the entity exist.
  2. CSR is not at all charity or give away, it is all about how companies earn their profits, not how companies share or spend profits. This is where the linakage to EHS and sustainability and protecting people manifests as paramount importance.
  3. CSR initiatives to succeed beyond company compound wall and be seen as genuine player requires,1) employees with impeccable work integrity, 2)with an appopriate organisation structure and 3)resources as well as 4)culture of the organisation lead by leaders with team which imbibes on 5) organisational excellence linking Safety, Quality, Productivity, Inventory, Delivery, Cost as enabler with 6) Institutional and Individual Ethics being the core foundation in doing business.
  4. CSR is all about going beyond compliance, as I have covered before, Compliance can only lead to 20-30% of operational excellence in all areas. In 2017, organisations have moved beyond compliance to link best business operational factors beyond law and regulations. As Trevor Kletz says, if you think Safety (EHS) is costly, Try an Accident. 
  5. There is new concept emerging called SOFT LAW which guides CSR mechanism, which is what stakeholders, customers, interested parties opine. They need to be included in scheme of business as a key input. The new ISO standards focus on the same as a key parameter in setting objectives, targets or business plan.
  6. CSR needs monitoring and measurement and course correction.

Summed Up:-

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In the absence of 1) Business/ Work place risk focus,2)business planning strategy of ops excellence, 3) a sound intrinsic EHS systems with process in place, for protecting people, property,thus contributing to bottomline,reaching out to carrying out CSR initiatives in external environment may not serve any organisation very well in the medium and long term. Thus it may become an act of hoodwink.  I am restricting my discussion to only EHS for the purpose of this post in operational excellence aspect. I am yet to see an organisation in which Safety, quality, Inventory, Delivery and cost were at different levels of excellence and the company prospered. They all constitute the pillars of business excellence and a weak one will take down others eventually.

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I look forward to comments,thoughts, inputs if any.
Regards

Karthik.

1/6/2017, 1245pm. 

PS: I duly acknowledge the copyright aspects of diagrams, charts and articles which have been used here. Thank you all so much.