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.

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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. 

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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 

  1. 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. 

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  2. 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.
  3. 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” !!!
  4. 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. 

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  5. 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.

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  6. 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.

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  7. 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. 

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  8. 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.



1730 Hrs. 

7 Habits? Do you work this?


7 Habits at my work desk wall for last 15 years 

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. 

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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:-

  1. 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.) 

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  2. 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. 

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  3. 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! 

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  4. 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. 

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  5. Seek First to Understand than to be understood:-  Participation from all crucial. Listen, Engage, every opinion counts. 

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  6. 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. 

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  7. 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”

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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. 

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    Good luck, take it easy, take care. 

    Karthik 3/1/18, 1830 Hrs. 

Horrible Bosses?? Are you one?


I am deeply thankful for comments, thoughts that are posted here in comments section as well as messages I get in Whatsapp. It is encouraging. Please let me know if you want me to cover specific topics! Glad to give my 2 cents.

This is not a movie review of the 2011, classic Hollywood blockbuster!!

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I must confess, I never had an experience of working for horrible bosses or lousy leaders in my 27 years corporate career. I had one lousy,stupid, idiotic, asshole of a boss for a very few months in my second decade of career, late 90s, thankfully, I extricated myself, skillfully. 

So, What is Leadership /Boss etc, as we call it? 

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I am not surprised that I find horrible bosses almost everywhere! More so, over the last decade, the business pressure, deadlines, unethical means, greed, sleaze, competition, incompetence, impotence have all added up to make people behave worse. People overall are forgetting the art of listening, being kind, empathetic, extending out a helping hand. As I wrote before “ARK—–>Act of Random Kindness” has all but disappeared. Sad part is, even plenty of EHS folks, I come across, are acting stupidly like their bosses. In a service oriented /servant based function like EHS, that can take you nowhere! Such people would be caught out, and they will wonder, why the growth that they are expecting is not happening to them! As Jack Welch quotes, Work for a bad boss in a good company! The bad boss is caught & and sent out, just a matter of time! 

As I wrote in the last post, ” IQ can get you hired, but only EQ can get you promoted and take you to stellar career/personal growth”. I will now dwell up on this. I am no way considering myself an expert on this subject (Never pretended to be one) . I am just passing on what worked for me as well as what I learned from leaders for whom I worked. I owe my whatever success to them. 

So what is IQ, EQ, SQ! (General Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Social Intelligence) 

IQ = Capability ( The foot hold)

EQ= Will catalyse achieve excellence through emotions.

SQ= The Reach out factor.

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I would put the basics of managing people in to:-

  1. One on Ones (Get to know your people)
  2. Coaching ( Make them better)
  3. Delegation (Grow them better)
  4. Performance Review ( Feedback on how course corrections)

This picture sums up better ( Thanks to my daughter, who gave this desktop flap, She was promoted  recently to manage people from her role as an Individual contributor-  So our family drinks my own cool aid, I serve). 

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How this can be done.

  1. Spend 30 min a week with people. Get to know them 15 min on what they want to say,(Work, personal, issues, problems, troubles, good news/bad news) 10 Min on what you want to say( things going well, where to plug) 5 min on way forward agree to work etc. (Self awareness)
  2. Be visible on shop floor, that is where Issues are. Sitting in cabin and working meetings would get you nowhere. Observe people—>Listen to people, speak less. Show empathy. Get to see things from their perspective. (Social Awareness)
  3. For growing people, people objective tasks need to align to organisation tasks. Measure progress, give feedback on “Behaviours” that people use to achieve results. (Motivation)
  4. Connect with people, pre wire discussions get to a consensus. (Social skills, give and take, going half way etc)

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  5. So what is Social intelligence:-  Social Intelligence is all about navigating the environment around us successfully connecting to people. Social smart is far critical than book smarts.

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As I keep saying, these are long drawn process like changing habits. As well as bridging the knowing doing gap! We know many things, how many we do with perfect execution. May be new year is a good time to plan a change?

Good Luck, God bless.



2000 hrs.


Seven Deadly Sins! EHS would head nowhere!

#65 Not the 7 Deadly Sins that take you to hell.

  • 1 Gula (gluttony)
  • 2 Luxuria/Fornicatio (lust, fornication)
  • 3 Avaritia (avarice/greed)
  • 4 Superbia (pride, hubris)
  • 5 Tristitia (sorrow/despair/despondency)
  • 6 Ira (wrath)
  • 7 Vanagloria (vainglory)
  • 8 Acedia (sloth)

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From EHS world standpoint, I see learning never happens, Incidents of same type repeats, Spills, leaks, fire, illness, injuries occur. ” 

Every day, people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – more than 2.78 million deaths per year. Additionally, there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses each year, many of these resulting in extended absences from work. –ILO.

So, 2.78 Million deaths, is around 1000 Deaths a day, 40 per hour and 1 every 2 min or so! By the time I finish this blog, good 10 people would have lost their lives at workplace or illness that they carried from their workplace! Why? Why lessons are not learned? 

I attribute this to the 7 sins at Workplace. In Indian context this is equal to Gandhi’s monkey! See No Evil, Speak no Evil, Hear no evil in a larger sense. Leaders and management do not want to hear bad news. 

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So what are the 7 SINS, I see, as I go across:-

  1. Chaos, Disorder, Conflict, Selected input filtered. “An Input, NOT THE INPUT”
  2. Lost focus, misplaced priorities, Engrossed in routine, missing big pictures. Absence of linking EHS Strategy to EHS Operating plan. 
  3. Confusion, Chaos, Disorder, Entrophy is highest. Absence of Risk based engagement.
  4. Absence of measurable metrics to judge performance, any number would do.
  5. Very very poor or absence of any dialouge, Next to nothing in communication. 
  6. Enjoying status quo, no will or desire to change and bring in improvements. 
  7. Absence of policies, procedures, even if exist, it is superflous or violated every time or impractical to follow. People quietly violate willfully even knowing consequences.

Ofcourse, the main factor is your “System is as Strong as your Weak Link” many organisations would not know their weak link. Also laced in absence of visible felt leadership.

But the biggest surprise far beyond “Safety” is the absence of “Empathy” a key emotional intelligence ingradient. I feel for you, I empathise for you, I can relate to what happening to you, are all totally missing. It is all about I, ME, MYSELF in most of the places! Also the ranting that is going on with opinion on everything gives very less hope in doing anything to reduce injuries/illness or improve performance from leadership standpoint. I am reminded of the famous saying, “IQ gets the job, EQ(Emotional Quotient) gets you promotion to stellar career path! Many leaders, including EHS professionals, do not get it! 

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More I see the mess, I am reminded of Peter Principle.

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Also horrible is the existence of “SILOS” within organisations. Even Jews/ Palestine people may exchange data, idea but not folks within same function between two entities. The insecurity between EHS folks amongst locations within same organisation, same neighborhood is also frightening. Even in our wildest dream when knowledge hoarding could have been the order of the day in 1980s, 90s it was hardly ever done!! 2017 in the age of internet you hoard data / information /  knowledge? Give me a break? God bless you all!! I am also concerned by the select “ESH Clique” (Cartel could be the right word!!) which is a very bad sign. 

I am not providing solutions, I have posted enough! Even my last post on Crystal ball grazing for 2018, sees no immediate hope from Indian context. Like the Indian joke, of  7 1/2 years of Saturn influence that creates hell lot of trouble, ill luck, disaster; and after that we get used to it so even mundane things makes us happy. We may also get used to the rut. But surprising discovery is EHS professionals are not doing anything so they would be in the rut, going nowhere!! 

Good luck and God Bless.



1600 Hrs. 

PS: 1900 Hrs: I got messages on whatsapp on EQ, IQ. I would post a detailed blog soon ! Emotional Quotient /Intelligence only get you promoted.  IQ is outdated. EQ covers, “Self awareness, Social Awareness, Motivation, Empathy, Soical Skills. Thanks for feedback. eq-vs-iq-4-638


2018?? HSE World? Crystal Gazing??

2017 has been a decent year for HSE! No Major industrial disasters, Yes, Grenfel towers fire in UK which claimed 100 lives was a black mark. President Trump’s budget cuts for abolishing CSB escaped with some common sense prevailing at last. The board shall be around to poke its nose in to disasters and give practical suggestions that go a long way to make chemical plants / operations much safer. The regulatory frame-work saw no major hurdles to scrap/abolish laws like Ergonomic standard, I2P2, or Silica norms. The ISO 45001 looks almost certain to see the light of the day in 2018. In Indian context, 2017 too had been a decent year, except for thermal power plant incident in IV Qtr, which killed 40 workmen. Legislative front was mundane, which is disappointing but not very unexpected given our parliament has the lowest sitting rate of just 70 days in a year. 

So what is 2018 is in store for HSE front from global standpoint as well from Indian overview? My thoughts are as below! I am just crystal gazing based on what I see across in my interactions. 


  1. Regulatory framework would be all about RISK Based Approach. collaboration, working on reduce ill health risk, liabilities reduction, would take priority to reduce worker compensation costs. I am beginning to see organisation across continents trying to align to bring conformance framework  on workmen health, injury prevention, Industrial Hygiene, irrespective of local government brining in regulations. This may be more to Cover their Ass in the litigation based “Rainmaker/Ambulance chaser environment” but good thing is it is happening. 
  2. I see HSE funding to corporate etc being allowed to be kept at the same level across. Additional funding is out of question. Managing more with less is the order of the day so professionals need to align themselves to work with bare minimum and implement minimum adequate.
  3. ISO 45001 standard should be out by II QTR 2018. The standard gives an awesome opportunity to organisations to reshape their OHS journey through Risk based approach, Leadership Engagement. The standard helps companies to embrace consultation across to establish a safer workplace.
  4. I am positive that 2018, may mark the beginning of end of Behaviour Based Safety. I was always against BBS in a larger sense. Poor BBS program being used as ONE TRICK PONY, unless established after full maturity of Engineering Excellence, Systems, Process, Procedures, Programs, PPE as well as elimination of barriers like incompetent people, lack of hazard recognition, lack of skilled labor in the work place. Programs that drives on Principle 101, that people are wired to err, mistake, absent-minded.  All behavioural interventions need to work on this premise shall begin to be churned out towards end 2018 or beyond in key sectors like Manufacturing. There is an immense opportunity. 
  5. As BBS shall fade in to sunset, I see from 2019 and beyond, process shall be so designed with First principle,to Err is Human. Mistake proofing, pre job inspection, Last Minute Risk Assessment shall become the way to execute tasks in a safe way without mistake pointing/ fault-finding. Even incident investigation would move away from fault of a person as main remedial measures. Companies from 2019 or so would begin to see accident/incidents as “Mistakes of Management” as a component that requires probing. Interested parties would bring pressure on such approach. Gone are days of blaming people.  
  6. More and more organisations from 2018 and beyond would work for an integrated approach towards bringing safety in line with Quality, Productivity, Inventory, Delivery, Cost. These will form the bedrock. Also such approach shall keep the company employee as prime customer to make quality output happen. Amazing that in 2017, I am typing that this shall be the way, considering this was what we used to call “ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATSON in 2007”. Visual Management, rapid problem solving, Set up time reduction, Knowledge sharing shall be across all functions not just across production as is the case in most organisation. EHS would work on Balance Score card, Proactive metrics. 
  7. Regulators, Policy makers, NGOs, Corporates shall come to some common understanding given hostile political environment that exist! The Trump, the BREXIT etc would easily hijack their agenda, if minimum common program is not worked. Friendly Enemies (Frenemy) amongst all of the above clan would be the norm, to live and let live. 
  8. Technology in aid of EHS would become common place, use of Apps, Digitization would rule the roost. Many companies could seriously miss the bus if they do not jump in to the bandwagon. 
  9. EHS Due diligence would get more focus, of course, merger acquisitions would hit road block, I see active investors with maverick ideas would be hell-bent on splitting the companies to get their pound of flesh. So there shall be demand for EHS talent pool in split entity.
  10. With a lot of political uncertainty across the globe, Health warnings due to new unknown virus etc, besides unseasonal freakish weather pattern, “BUSINESS Continuity Planning” would get better focus.
  11. Much to my dislike, even by 2018 and beyond, Sustainability, CSR, would continue to dominate organisation reports, thus hoodwink customers, stakeholders, authorities! I don’t see that going to rest in grave in my lifetime! If there is a thing, I loathe it is these stupid elements which have driven away the main principle of valuing people life and property protection from organisation focus and agenda to run business!! 


  1. Cost pressure are going to be enormous, EHS implementation would be a big challenge. Companies would be caught in conflict between meeting internal norms ( if any) vs pricing. EHS personnel need to really add value to business with integrated approach to problem solving & offering effective but low-cost solutions.
  2. 2018 or perhaps 2019 would be the year when Indian entities would begin seeing value of ISO systems as a business enabler of Risk based approach, aligned strategy of business performance. Knee jerk short-term solutions shall slowly make way with Annual operating plans aligned to Business Risks which cover EHS, Quality, Product life cycle.
  3. Process Safety Management in hazardous manufacturing component of Chemical industries shall take prominence with more and more export oriented entities need to meet the requirements from customer standpoint.
  4. As more pressure mounts for willful violators in social media, some sense of compliance shall be expected. However, the corrupt, inept system of Governance, legislature, political system, would take years if not decades. So forget about clean up of Industries as well as offering safe work environment as well as offering, hygienic workplace shall be very minimum possibility even in coming decade. Pessimistic outlook, but that is the reality for Indian industries in 2018 and beyond.
  5. Road safety initiatives may take some positive side with new motor vehicle act in place. As usual enforcement is the problem. This shall be one brighter aspect to look to in 2018 and beyond. 

Take care, God Bless



1800 Hrs. 

The Day of the Jackal was Over!

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Having seen implementation of ISO systems over the last 25 years ever since ISO 9001 in 1992, ISO 14001 in 1998, a safety management system with global recognition is the need of the hour. Unfortunately, the world didn’t see Occupational Health and safety the same way as Environment, quality, Energy. While there are many regional standards like OHSAS 18001 /ANSI Z 10 goes a very long way to bridge the requirements, ISO 45001 the occupational standard which was thought off over the last 6-7 years would help Safety standards get its place. The draft standards are released and voting to ratify and release as ISO 45001 Occupational Standard,now looks certain, (Barring a catastrophe) by II QTR 2018.

The new ISO 9001, 14001 standards revised in 2015 has given carte-blanche, that I am beginning to see certifications are withdrawn to companies post  audits. Companies are in mess and new norms are exposing the weakness that have been hiding in plain sight.  So the Day of the Jackal  is over! 

Even though, I am an Environmental Engineer by qualification,I strongly believe as I shaped my career over 33 years, that protecting people’s life and preventing injury and illness at work comes first, PERIOD. Yes,besides focusing on loss prevention to property  of the company matters significantly. “MAKING PROFITS” matter the most and is ultimate! So I see any effort of showcasing Environment, CSR, Sustainability, at the cost of providing a safe workplace is “HOGWASH”. 

So what are the changes we are looking at. I see new standards gives a lot of teeth to auditors to give value add bringing in improvements. Many companies, who had used ISO standards as separate entity in their business system, would find it surprising, that the new standards require an integrated approach to doing business. 

Specific to ISO 45001 as with any ISO management system, it calls for 1) Focused approach 2) People input on what is happening 3) Leadership and Inclusive engagement of all function 4) Customer needs 5) Process approach of Input—>Process—> Measurable outputs. 

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Elementary overview linkage to Annex SL !

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So here is simple guide to implement ISO 45001 when announced, as below, work this, thing should shape up better:-  The new standard,I would assume,would replace OHSAS 18001 or equivalent in 3 years from date of its publication. 

  • audit of system including assessment and assurance!
  • competence of people to carry out tasks safely
  • conformity to norms through compliance/conformance to requirements
  • consultation of all personnel to get one opinion alignment
  • continual improvement as journey of improvement never ends
  • contractor / Labor partner to align to values cohesion as one entity to results
  • corrective action for timely plan to address issues
  • documented information including record keeping
  • effectiveness vs Efficiency (Get effective things done efficiently)
  • hazard for potential harm awareness
  • incident reporting and investigation
  • injury and ill-health avoidance plans execution
  • interested party views beyond wall
  • legal requirements and other requirements to fulfill not lip service 
  • management system of PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) 
  • measurement even by proxy metrics and improve, what gets measured gets done
  • monitoring and course correction by data analysis
  • nonconformity avoidance
  • objective and Targets align to business metrics  
  •  opportunity for improvement, consultation, communication
  •  performance measurement, improvement
  • policy the leadership walk the talk engagement ownership
  •  risk, identification, mitigation 
  • Outsourcing, as required to build competence but responsibility remains cant be washed away! 
  • Performance measurement, evaluation, constant sharpen the saw
  • Participation by all, collective ownership
  • Procedure linkage to risk assessment as a mitigation tool
  • Risk ;the basics of any business management system, here occupational health & safety risks that can impact business! 
  • Top Management, Leadeship is the KEY! 
  • Worker is every one.
  • Workplace keep safe, healthy and productive.

Good luck and God bless



1545 Hrs. 


Bhopal-A Chemical Hiroshima?No way!

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It was Monday morning, 3rd December 1984, I was getting ready to prepare for my master’s  semester exam scheduled January 1985, (Environmental Engineering) when 7am, All India Radio, English news announced (No TV that time, not so common) that there is an Industrial gas leak at Bhopal the previous night. I didn’t take the news that seriously! By 1pm, the scale and magnitude of disaster unfolded! Thousands of deaths, life changed forever for many! For me personally, Bhopal disaster, with my Environmental Engineering qualifications as the first batch of guys in India, my willingness to move to Northern Part of India from Coimbatore/Karaikudi, it was a god sent opportunity to grab and climb the career ladder. As saying goes” One man’s poison,is another man’s nectar” applies classic to me. I even now wonder without Bhopal happening, I would have been able to have such a smooth sail in the Industrial career!So, 33 years on as a Corporate EHS Professional ( 1990 I qualified as Safety professional, as Safety and Environment goes as a good blend to problem solving and value add) as well as 5 years now as a EHS freelancer, what do I see across in Indian spectrum from EHS standpoint!

Bhopal, Chernobyl, Schweizerhalle all happening within 24 months,shook the Industry and made them retrospect and strive to work for a better performance. What was common across was a “Weak Safety Culture” In fact, Safety culture term was coined after Chernobyl. ( I never believe Safety first -That is Bullshit, we are all here to make profits, PERIOD)

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So since Bhopal,

What has gone well in India from EHS standpoint:-

  1. Tweaking of legislations in 1987 from storage, handling, Annexures in safety from Factory standpoint.Environmental Protection Act and Rules for various aspects of business, emission standards from water, air, waste standpoint. Public Liability act to disperse compensation post a major incident.
  2. Occupier as the ultimate control over affairs and the first Bastard to be behind bars, should things go horribly wrong, no passing the buck. Warren Anderson, in my opinion was stupid,to have to come to India. 
  3. Safety management systems in the form of Process Safety management (OSHA 1910.119)
  4. Process Safety Incidents reporting and learnings from Accidents as easy way to implement corrective actions.
  5. Improvements in process design, Risk Assessment, What could wrong probe, Consequence Analysis with best fit safety instrumentation and possible automation. 
  6. Training and communication to Employees, contractors, public on critical information that can mean life and death in the community. (Do’s and Don’ts)
  7. Emergency Drills practice, practice, practice!! 
  8. Emergence of Industrial Hygiene and Occupational Medicine with degree/diploma courses offered to know and tackle workplace better. Antidotes, notes to doctor to treat all chemical incidents well understood and better practiced.
  9. MSDS —>Material Safety Data more meaningful, action oriented with Sections focused on emergency handling, spill etc.
  10. Communication specialist as profession, What when how who shall communicate? importantly, what not to commuicate, why no mixed messages???? 

What has been Fucked up??? 

  1. Power to Pollution control boards to enforce law, another matter, in a III class III world country like India that is source of corruption and money spinning with officers caught and send to jail! I am told Telangana guys most corrupt!! 
  2. Indian EHS corporates have become powerless/toothless, a position where they sit as fancy designation with preparing charts and reports to their bosses. Ground level if there are major incidents, shit will hit the fan! Business segments, who contribute to bottom line calls the shots and these guys have no clue on operational aspects,especially since post 2008 economic scenario where consolidation/ downsizing is key.
  3. The goal post has moved in the 33 years as I see, from saving lives /loss prevention to “DOG and PONY show on Sustainability/CSR! ( I call CSR- Corrupt (Anti)Social (I)responsibility! I am with Trump to a large extent on these useless aspects!! Even as an Environmental Engineer, I see it as a big joke corporates play, rather than saving lives/ giving decent work place! Right from day one, I never believed that  CSR /Sustainability crap. I have posted enough!! 
  4. Data submissions for emergency scenarios to authorities/ parent companies / Peers  you can poke ten’s of holes. I Wonder data would stand a scrutiny of honest, upright, daring Gen X, millennial Chemical  / Process/Environmental Engineer.
  5.  EIA a key component of Process Safety, Chemicals handled is a Joke. Copy Paste! Don’t believe me, Read this!
  6. One corporate, One global standards which came after Bhopal is slowly eroding away due to cost/business pressure. No longer business put the same focus, they are diluting the norms to let country legal requirements take precedence. In Indian context this is equal to doing “NOTHING”. Who is the Big dad who comes and checks what corporates have done? 

Would it be fair to Compare Bhopal as Chemical Hiroshima? I don’t think so?  Hiroshima was a planned, systematic retaliation by a nation which was provoked and its leader chose to hit back with iron gloves to Pearl Harbour. It is a game changer even in Indian context! Japs were at our door step and our destiny would have changed from Brits to Japs but not for Hiroshima! So comparison are very unfair to Harry S Truman. Doubts still exist even today, 33 years on, as to whether Bhopal was an internal sabotage? 

Can Bhopal ever repeat? Anywhere in the World? Don’t think so if lessons are learnt and implemented! As they say”FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU; FOOL ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME”

God bless



1515 Hrs.