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. 

 

Social Media; Is it of any use to EHS Folks!?

#45

I came across the below post in ISHN Magazine, this was written last year on Social Media like Twitter, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. I reproduce below for folks who dont have web access to sites. 

My take on SM! Coincidentally this week marks my 10 Years on Facebook. Facebook reminded me with a video of the event. 2007 was also the year in which I joined Twitter and LinkedIn. 

  1. LinkedIn has been hijacked from the very purpose of professional exchange of  professional/business related thoughts, ideas to now a glorified Facebook in coat suit & skirt blouse! I can’t help hide my frustration in people posing pictures of their kitten (to steal from Phil) or other personal aspects of life. What also infuriates me is Linked in prompting me to send birthday greetings !! Having grown in an environment to mind my own business and deliver results with focus and maintain relationship to achieve excellence, I can’t understand how sending out greetings to folks who don’t even respond to emails on matter  that is sought or require a response of terms of engagement/doing business (That is another matter, I have posted about it here) !! I have practically opted out of LinkedIn with a post in a quarter or so, may be even less than that.
  2. As for Whatsapp the new craze which Phil has not covered in his article, it has also become a monologue, with 1% of group members posting 99 % information and other 99% of 99% (i.e 98% to be clear) remaining mute spectators. I am yet to see a meaningful dialogue/discussions something new picked up out of discussions in whatsapp chat be it in Safety, Personal, City, politics etc. 
  3. Facebook and Twitter:- More on personal side of folks! I practically see no difference between Facebook and Blog except the interface is more user-friendly,ease of access in Facebook and reach out is more! What U can post in your Blog u may as well post a link of the same in Facebook, Twitter. Facebook, Twitter appears to be condensed version of 100s of blog page u track follow. Meaningful discussions are very few on professional side. I agree with Phil’s comments that people want to be politically correct and do not want to be in professional confrontational mode or to disagree without getting in to personal abuse. I still can’t fathom how people get in to personal abuse when they don’t agree on facts at a professional level. (Lack of emotional intelligence is my interpretation) 
  4. Blog:- Again, the reach out for blog is very less is my interpretation! I reach out 10s of Blog sites globally and I see page hits are pathetically low. People are not even aware, that they can get each blog post pulled in to their IN BOX email Id  through subscription and read at leisure or delete message if they dont have time. Even this HSE blog, this is my 45th post and my page view is 2500 hits at a rate of  less than 30 a day over 90 days since my blog was launched. With > 3500 safety professionals (The least number) even reaching out once a month, the hits should be 3 times more!! I wonder what prevents folks from reaching out to explore sites or to subscribe. Subscription to my blog is 32! 
  5. Youtube:- Best for posting consolidated thoughts for a topic that can cover various elements through slides, videos, talk etc. Can even save time and great way to access remote folks who can’t be covered in face to face training. Again poorly used may be due to bandwidth issues, access, data security issues.
  6. Skype/ Google talk/ Go to Meeting:- web interactions between folks to exchange ideas, discussions. Record and post it as YouTube video or equivalent. Same issue as YouTube in many parts at work place.

I am not posting above to plead for subscription! I would continue to post my thoughts on topics that can be interest to EHS folks. As a EHS professional, I had benefited immensely from PULL SYSTEM at work which is to seek information and pull towards me. I request folks to provide inputs on topics they wanted to be covered be it Technical/ Communication/ Professional or Social-Generic issue that affects performance at work. While I may not have all the answers, (Nor I can ever claim to be known all end all), I can reach out to folks in my network to get some meaningful answers which can help moving the needle in resolving the issues that are brought up.

I request once again, EHS Professionals to be active! As the saying goes, the most Stupid question that is ever asked in NOT ASKING A QUESTION!

Thank you, God bless

Karthik.

30/5/17 1650 Hrs

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Is social media dead for safety professionals? Phil LaDuke

The social networking phenomenon has fostered many, usually misguided and ill-advised, attempts to capitalize on the popularity of the medium to boost sales, and to market to new (and usually younger) markets.

There have been even attempts to use social networking to increase the safety of the workplace. As well-intentioned, and often well-executed as some of the attempts by safety professionals to create a safety social network have been, these attempts all seem to have fallen flat.

Social networking as a safety tool

Social networking would seem to be a great way for communicating safety topics — everything from safety tweets that directed subscribers to important safety information to tool-box podcasts, and yet somehow the efforts at building these tools always seem to work better in concept.

I know of a handful of companies that effectively use social networking internally but they are few and far between. Let’s face it, companies have a love hate relationship with social media. Ask human resources a question on your benefits and you will likely get a “It’s on ERMA (or whatever nickname your IT have dubbed your website)” which is corporate speak for “I made a website so I wouldn’t HAVE to talk to the likes of you.”

Most organizations I know love the idea of having a highly collaborative team environment that uses a complex construct of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and YouTube to achieve communication synergies. Of course doubt starts to gnaw at them like tooth decay as they worry about how you can control the message once the masses have let the genie out of the bottle and pawed at it with greasy fingers.

The solutions are as comical as they are numerous, and mostly come down to rules. Talk about work, but don’t say bad things about work. Don’t disclose anything sensitive or confidential or that might be seen as sensitive or confidential. Don’t post pictures of you at work.

Companies want workers to preach a unified marketing message to the world but they want them to do it in a way that feels fun, extemporaneous, and spontaneous. They want that guerilla marketing viral clip of a commercial that doesn’t feellike a commercial; they want something that doesn’t exist.

People on the other hand want to feel like self-absorbed celebrities. They want to believe that their “friends” and “followers” give a rip that they had a spinach and goat cheese omelet for breakfast or that they checked in at Applebee’s.

Some of you, heck many of you, are shaking your heads in pity for me. You believe that social media is too big, to ubiquitous to ever die. Maybe you’re right, but if it isn’t dead it’s coughing up blood. And maybe Facebook and LinkedIn and YouTube are so deeply ingrained into our society that they can’t die, but any opportunity we had to make them a useful and cohesive tool for safety has long since gone down for the dirt nap.

Useful piecemeal

All this is not to say that there aren’t still good, albeit isolated uses for some of the social media sites, consider for example the following.

Facebook: So what good is Facebook to the safety professional? Well let’s suppose you have someone who claims to be permanently disabled but you suspect fraud. Many people don’t realize that you can follow someone on Facebook even though they aren’t “friends” with them. Simply checking the allegedly injured worker’s Facebook page will allow you a better glimpse into whether or not the injury is legitimate. If the person supposedly has a bad back and yet has posted pictures of him/herself waterskiing you now have evidence that the injury might be fraudulent. By the same token, if the person keeps posting about doctor’s visits and missing out on fun activity because of his or her injury, it might lend credence to his or her claim. Of course neither of these examples is fool-proof, but you will be surprised and what people will admit to once they are confronted with knowledge you aren’t supposed to have. One tip though: play your cards close to your chest; someone committing fraud will quickly scuttle his or her Facebook account if they think they are caught.

LinkedIn: LinkedIn discussion groups are the single best first stop for many questions you may have about worker safety. You can start a discussion topic that asks a question or for advice on an issue with which you have been struggling. From there dozens of experts (and unfortunately hundreds of loud-mouths) will weigh-in. I don’t think I have ever been disappointed with the discussion thread, although I have had my fair share of frustration with individuals in the groups.

YouTube: You can often find highly entertaining videos that are perfect for use in your safety messaging. The videos that can be used in safety meetings, as icebreakers in safety training, or even as safety moments.

Wikis: Wikis are shared sites that allow people to collaborate on documents. People can add information to a topic, change what’s written there, and generally create a community of documents. A wiki is a great way for people to share lessons learned about safety, post read-across or suggestions, or just better manage a lot of ideas.

Twitter: Twitter isn’t meant to convey a lot of information; instead it is typically used to direct people to a different website and to provide links to important information. Twitter can be useful to alert workers of a safety concern, a change to a procedure, or to provide them with a link to important safety information for your industry.

Blogs: Blogs can be effectively used to share important safety topics, provide links to news stories, and even be an important component of a safety communication campaign. Of course the best blog is www.philladuke.wordpress.com but there are some other fantastic sites that are well worth the time and trouble to seek them out.

Creating synergy

Individually each social networking platform has significant limitations, but together you can create a synergistic system where one platform drives traffic to another and facilitates the communication of your message to the right audience at the right time.

Start by determining what you want to accomplish. For example, you might want to alert workers of a serious threat to safety. You can either make simple video and post it to YouTube or post it on a company Wiki (or both). Once you’ve decided where you want the information to reside you will want to drive traffic to that site. Tweeting (sending out a Twitter message) a link to a YouTube video is an excellent way to communicate this information quickly to your followers.

You might also want to direct traffic to an interesting article in a LinkedIn discussion group using Twitter; really doesn’t matter how you direct the flow of information the key is that you direct safety information so that people can get it when they need to.

Social networking if used properly can be a very effective and useful tool not only for making safety more efficient, but for making your business overall more efficient. But be forewarned: if done poorly your attempts to use social networking as a business tool not only will fail, it will also impede any further attempts to create a viable communication network.

I started this article asking the question, ”Is social media dead?” and I would end it with this statement, social media isn’t dead, but it has morphed into something else, something more powerful and if you aren’t afraid to loosen the control of the message you may just achieve great things. Then again you might just use it to share pictures of kittens.

JFK 100 today!

In these days, where every politician across the world especially in the last 35 years are crooks, goons, scoundrels, it is amazing that even 50 years after death, John F Kennedy is cherished by people across the world. JFK would have been 100 today. While I am averse to politics and won’t mix politics in to EHS blog, I can’t help but post the leadership qualities and contribution of JFK in to national building , the American Pride as well as leap-frog science and technology, civic rights and above all a care for environment.  He,a man who influenced me a lot and lot in my thinking and being wired in to what I think!! (Some may  feel, I am anti national in my EHS engagement, but do I care!!??) So what EHS folks can learn from his life?? cold-war-6-638

So what leadership traits makes a great leader! What EHS Folks can pick up from JFK and show the leadership qualities that matter to succeed in everything we do and influence people.

  1. Lead:– Leadership is more about influencing people to inspire, motivate, engage with people around you. Make people “FEEL” good. Remember you are a Leader to folks who look up to you, irrespective of your position in the hierarchy.
  2. Purpose and Vision:- You as EHS professional have a purpose of keeping people safe, making sure that  the 206 bones are intact when they reach back home from work! While sustainability, environment, IH, Facilities, etc etc are nice to do, nothing comes before keeping people safe & alive! JFK made this statement on Moon mission- To bring back the man safely. 94fdc16f6d210610dd08e75cf934f176
  3. Strategic planning & People :– Leadership is all about Strategic planning of what would things looks like 3-5 years down the line! EHS Folks should always consider the aspects from Political, Social, Legal, Economical, People aspects of what the big picture would look like in EHS in terms of Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats and work the action plan to be ready. JFK was razor-sharp on Russia& cold war; it was #1 to Infinity and everything secondary and threw the kitchen sink if required.  EHS folks need to work with the team through persuasion, coaching, influencing. JFK team was one of the best ever assembled. JFK pulled people who were reluctant to join his cabinet with his persuasion skills. jfk
  4. LEARNING:– In the modern days of 2017, everything is outdated in weeks, months or years. EHS folks need to keep themselves abreast on the learning curve! EHS is expanding to cover safety, health, environment, sustainability, ergonomics, product stewardship, Industrial hygiene, occupational medicine, Legal aspects, Facilities, Security and vulnerability, Business continuity etc etc. These are all interlinked and plays a useful part to problem solving. While learning, there can be failures, take it up head on and be humble to learn from situations. JFK botch up was Cuban missile crisis which could have been anticipated better and plans worked. He said he learned a lot from the crisis.b864b0bd0b120765fcba234621172b2e
  5. Measure:- What gets measured gets done! EHS Folks need to measure everything in terms of metrics. If it can’t be measured, dont do it! If it is difficult to measure, set proxy metrics to begin with and improve. JFK metric in 1961, as an example was to bring back the man from the moon safely before the end of decade which was achieved July 1969.
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    Empower:– ESH folks can’t be everywhere, you need to develop people and empower them as your spokesperson who would be your eyes and ears. People need to feel that they are part of the mission/values/vision/programs. JFK brought that sense in Moon Landing mission.  (NASA-JANITOR)internal-communications-part-1-4-728

  7. Anticipate:- While engaged in accomplishing results, anticipate and have plan B for things that may not go the way you plan. Even the best laid plans go astray when the best in class army puts its boots on the ground. A good risk assessment with linkage to mitigation with engineering excellence as focus can lead to better results. in JFK’s case, the Moon landing mission lead to issues that crept up on Science and Computers which were speeded up to resolve issues.moon
  8. Show by example, Just do it!! :- EHS folks need to be in action with technical excellence on subjects to strengthen the case! That can not happen unless the folks dirty their hands with do it and show to others how it is being done. That way people can’t bullshit and get away especially the managers who are “WOLVES clad in Sheepskin” who pretend that nothing can be done and evade issues. EHS folks need to tackle them head on and show how it is done. In JFK’s case, during a combat mission near Japanese water, he helped rescue 11 survivors from a sinking  torpedoed vessel PT 109, and carried one of the seriously injured over water for 4 miles to a nearby small island. They were rescued after 15 hours from the island.PT-109_crew
  9. Communicate:– Enough said, it is hallmark of EHS folks, Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. Be visible, engage, involve in communication. Folks would say they heard once, when you said 7 times. Communication is what the listener perceives. So make sure the interpretation of message is what was intended. JFK Moon mission speech so clear that there is no other interpretation and world was energized as well as America got its spine back to work the magic after being outmanuvered in Space by Russian’s in Yuri Gagarin’s Sputnik mission! 
  10. Last but not the least:- LISTEN:- The more you listen, the more you hear, more you interpret. Nature itself has worked it with two ears and one mouth indicating to us to listen more! EHS being a broad domain, folks can’t know all to speak all, they must listen a lot to process information and work the decision. In JFK’s time he listened a lot to Rev. Martin Luther King to make a path for civil liberties  with his Attorney General brother,which his successor Lyndon Johnson worked the reality.
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JFK, Robert Francis Kennedy, His brother and USA Attorney General who worked on Civil Rights with Rev Martin Luther King. All 3 were assassinated, Tragically!

Last but not the least, JFK was a man who worked the work life choice perfectly. A man who always focused a lot on his personal life. As the youngest ever president at 43, with Kids aged 3 and 1 in the oval office, no wonder JFK focussed a great balance between family and presidency. If an American #POTUS can do it (The most powerful job in the world) we ordinary human being have no excuse to put our family first.!!

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

Karthik.

JFK at 100 (29th May 2017)

1500 Hrs.