EHS–> In Insanity??

First of all my apologies for being so quiet for more than 8 weeks!! My hectic business commitments at client sites as well as personal situations to take care have kept me of from posting my thoughts here. I am now taking a break of 10 days from work and will be #BANGALORE, so plan to post some thoughts over next few days! 


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I am just stunned and speechless at EHS implementation, especially from manufacturing standpoint as I see as well as I hear from my esteemed EHS consultant friends, the story I hear are all same. I can only think of Albert Einstein quotes above. The situation is same in 95 out of 100 entities !! 

Why I / we feel so!

What leaders and facilities need is Management 101—> Planning—>Coordination–>Communication–>Discussion—>Decision—> Execution…… With Empathy, listening laced in. Alas, in most places, few of these elements are missing or absent due to lack of awareness. 

I will classify them in to following categories and I see these common sense approach to EHS management is missing across wherever I go or when I speak to people. 

The absence of these “7C as we call it, seriously takes the EHS implementation to an Insanity state. What we see is LACK of 

  1. Culture: Challenging status quo, Encouraging Dissent,Questioning attitude.
  2. Committment—->To put business interest first&see every activity as value add.
  3. Communication—-> Visual management, Notice boards, flow of information on progress, Minutes, Training, key messages, etc.
  4. Care—->Empathy, Support for people,basic infrastructure,Work place Hygiene
  5. Compliance—->Get to know legal,Corporate norms. Accept nothing less for sake quickness, profit or boss said so,etc.
  6. Class Excellence—–>Integrated management systems with functional coordinators for Process safety,Change Management,Proactive Maintenance, Consolidated Management systems for QESH, Business Excellence operating systems, all are done in haste with no overview.  
  7. Coaching——> Show to people, handhold them, make their eyes open to best practices, send them across wherever available/access to see the best ……

When it comes to people:- I see a very sad state of poor leadership across !! Leaders across all levels, including EHS folks have gone in to state of Zombie of going with the flow or not challenging status quo or succumbing to pressure. What I/we see now is the absence of what, we saw, or actively involved in 1980s, 90s, besides what our leaders as well exhibited!!

So what is missing:- Insanity exists across due to absence  of following elements and its requirement that makes people/organisation a successful entity. What is missing, absent are:- (I am reproducing the success factors which our leaders showed us for 20 years to make us and our organisation a most succesful/vibrant one. (1990-2010)) 
  1. Consultation/communication:-This needs to be two-way, not one way with no feedback or comment. The best is individual talk or in small groups.
  2. Know your people :- Get to know your people on a personal level. Not just what they do at work. (One on Ones!) 
  3. Get out in the operating area,GEMBA, Be visible.You Can not do #2 without this. You must see and discuss first hand what is going on in the workplace. Being in an office in an ivory tower, all the time does not allow this to happen. People want motivation beyond money! Alas!!! 
  4. Set an expectations and enforce:- people must know that there are expectations and they will be held accountable for results and execution. This is done by formal communications and day-to-day follow-up.
  5. Set the example:- Leaders/ People cannot say one thing and then not enforce or follow themself.
  6. Accountability:- People must know that they are accountable for what they do on the job and there are consequences for not doing a good job.
  7. Coaching /Feedback :-This is a continuous process. Every time leaders have a conversation it is an opportunity to provide some coaching as well as feeback to the team.The best is when the person doesn’t realise that it is taking place. They think it was just a conversation.
  8. Champion Teamwork:-Teams get the most done. However, all teams must have a leader or coordinator. 
  9. Push the decision-making down to where the work is:- People doing the work know the most about the work so they should be making the decisions about it at Ground Zero.
  10. Develop People:- The key to any success, making your people better.
  11. Tie rewards to performance :- The piece that is critical. What gets rewarded, gets done. Rewards must be tied to key business performance metrics. 
  12. Meet target dates:- Deadline is Sacrosanct. This is an absolute. To not meet target dates is showing disrespect for the person to whom you have committed an action.
  13. Establish and follow implementable procedures:- Do as said, said as do. Organisations have procedures and systems in place for a reason. To not follow just increases the potential for a costly mistake.
  14. Listening:- All leaders, must be good listeners. Leaders learn that way and it is an indication that we value what our employees, team members, opinion makers say.
  15. Last but not least, House-keeping:- First impressions are often the most important.

So How this insanity can be tackled at a level above at which it was created:-

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  1. Take advantage of Legal compliance as baseline. Nothing works better than knowing and complying with laws of land. There are so many aspects in it that enables the first step to overcome insane situation. 
  2. Risk based approach to operations and situational mitigation through action plans.
  3. QESH linkage to business excellence through management systems like ISO 9000,14001, 45001 and 51000 for various pillars of operational excellence.
  4. Process safety excellence through PSMS; work the standards they invaluble.
  5. Embrace Management of Change for every aspect of Man, Machine, Material, Method, Mileu, Management.
  6. Setting up operational aspects through predictive maintenance beyond productive maintenance.
  7. Embrace operational excellence —> Standardized work—>Rapid Problem Solving–>Knowledge sharing—> Built in Quality—> Organisation and people development etc.(CourtesyHoneywell)DidyouKnow_HOS_B2C.png
  8. Link performance to behaviours expectations to achieve results. 

Again easily said than done!! It is a long haul, wishing folks the very best.




2230 Hrs. Bangalore, India.



Author: Karthik B; Orion Transcenders. Bangalore.

Lives in Bangalore. HESS Professional of 30+ yrs experience. Global Exposure in 4 continents of over 22 years in implementation of Health, Environment, Safety, Sustainability. First batch of Environmental Engineers from 1985 Batch. Qualified for implementing Lean, 6Sigma, HR best practices integrating them in to HESS as value add to business.

4 thoughts on “EHS–> In Insanity??”

    1. Thank you so much!! issue I see in organisations are “KNOWNING DOING GAP” every one knows what to do! But no one knows how to do??? Big issue! Also it all boils to leaders! if they accept mediocre performance, they will get only such!!


    1. Thank you.
      I was blessed to work in organisations which value EHS as a business enabler. EHS was never a priority which changes with time or situation ! As Leaders make up such organisations, I was fortunate to interact with them to learn and execute. Such leaders never allowed mediocre performance, as simple as that! Perform or perish!


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