I quickly checked to see how many days I have supported organisations/clients as EHS consultant, I was surprised that it is now close to 5 years,crossing 1500 days. I thought it would be a good landmark to post my thoughts on what I have observed. These are my personal observations. Feel free to comment.
What is Going well:-
- EHS professional numbers engaged at support systems are in the range of 3000-3500 with 70% qualified from RLI/CLI etc. Overseas qualification degree is also on the rise. So custodians of EHS seems to be in order.
- EHS extended to areas like Facility, Ergonomics, Wellness, Process Safety, Sustainability and are striving for optimisation across many industries.
- Women participation in to EHS is also on increase, especially more Chemical Engineers at Chem-MFG, still hardly a blip in radar and long way to go in manufacturing.
- MNCs are showing active interest in merger and take over, so Indian companies need to move the needle to meet threshold during due diligence as well as meeting requirements for contract manufacturing/loan licensing etc.
- Support systems for PPE, Engineering norms ( Elevated work, platforms, IH monitoring has leapfrogged) is no longer an issue, everything available within India, only will and desire required to execute. Non availability is no longer an excuse.
- Web support, Portals, Software, Apps are available from both global players as well as local Indian software Tech companies to work your way through.
- Most of organisations, EHS is seen as a value proposition, EHS Executive is part of site leadership team and has direct reporting to the occupier/manager under factories rules of the site thus able to provide direct feedback.
- EHS committee,Emergency plans and aides have matured to tackle emergency well.
What needs to Improve or has some way to go:-
- EHS professional aspect are still in stages compliance mode (Reactive, calculative at most) , 80-90% entities see EHS as only a tool for compliance. Not going beyond that! They see no value add for that has not been projected to the business leaders.
- CSP,NEBOSH credentials wont solve local ESH problems. Interaction, engagement only does!! One of the myth I see in Indian context is that the overseas degree, qualifications can resolve issues faster, better. I have seen no such evidence either during my corporate days or over last 5 years. EHS excellence journey is all about understanding issues on hand and solving them through action planning, execution on time on budget.
- Risk Assessment is foundation to address EHS issues at site more so to business with new ISO 9001 in place for business risks. Unfortunately, many organisations the concept of Hazard identification and Risk Assessment (HIRA) doesnt go deep! Linkage to standards on Risk viz ISO 31000 as tool for carrying out Risk mitigation measures seems to be missing. Also organisations lack a Hazard prompt list to work on them to identify risks.
Process Risk Analysis (PRORA) in Chemical manufacturing is very poor or non existent even in so called best in business operations. HAZOP, FEMA, What IF are not fully understood /executed. HAZARD Matrix of chemical compatability is not developed. Reaction chemistry, dynamics have long way to go. Indsutrial accidents due Chemical plant fire, run away reactions appear very high. The support system that exists seem to be non existent as companies see legal compliance as norm to work which PRA is not a part of Indian legal compliance system.
- Workplace health hazards not clearly identified, chemical exposure, occupational health monitoring, not linked well. Chemical hygiene plans, expsoure assessment, inventory are in primitive stage. Even compliance to Indian legal requirements on PEL as per schedule of factories act not seen to be fully met. The IH & OM support needs to be available a plenty to serve this need. This could be a major issue in MNC when they look for compliance during due diligence.
- EHS professionals need to show empathy, connected to folks as well as as be available as a resouce to site members, leadership. Diplomatic and political correctness would carry EHS folks nowhere! EHS is a staff function available to serve the need of line management. That need to be well understood.
I look to comments.