Health and safety leaders agree that navigating the complexity of regulatory, governmental and even internal compliance can be challenging.
The five leaders who sat down to discuss the trends and issues that impact health and safety performance as part of our Leaders2Leaders video series agreed that compliance – local, city, province, region, internal, etc. – can be one of the most complex aspects of their jobs.
“There have been significant changes in the law in some countries which has helped,” said Paul Darby, Global Head of Health and Safety at DHL Global Forwarding. “Corporate manslaughter in the UK really woke a lot of chief executives up. It’s a complex world and even slight variations can introduce massive complexity.”
Darby and the others agreed that when it comes to compliance, corporate H&S leaders should not assume they know everything required to meet regulations and requirements at the local or even country level. Several leaders recommended that corporate HSE departments listen to the local H&S leads they put in place and trained to comply with corporate requirements, as they would know the intricacies of local requirements and culture. They also noted that it is important to not just issue mandates about the correct way to do something, but to communicate to employees why those decisions are made.
Wim Koster, Head of Global Safety for Kone, said that it is important to not only tell employees what to do and how to it, but why they need to perform job tasks a certain way.
He cited an example that occurred at a facility in Sweden. A long-time employee was killed on the job. He had worked for the company for 25 years, and his coworkers were shocked and saddened by his death. The company investigated, said Koster. ‘He did not follow the process… We shared the technical details and we sent out instructions [and explained the proper process.]’
In addition, his coworkers in Sweden created a video about the incident. ‘The video traveled the world, and all the leaders were asked to show it, to use it as a safety moment,’ said Koster of the emotional video. The video really resonated with employees, and had a greater impact than a standard training video because it brought the message home to them.
Conversely, if employees do not feel comfortable, and if they feel that the safety of the work they are performing is out of their control, do they feel that they have authority to stop it?
‘When we’ve got all the systems and processes and we’ve done all the training, what is the last resort and how do we deal with that?’ asked James Pomeroy, HSE and Security Director, Lloyd’s Register.
At Lloyd’s Register, Pomeroy said the first response is to thank the employee for taking that step. The second is to ask for more information about the situation and the circumstances that led the employee to stop work.
‘It’s those moments of testing and truth that really determine if we develop a culture of compliance,’ said Pomeroy.
New Video Series: Leaders2Leaders
This programme brings together some of the smartest, most forward-looking professionals in the industry to discuss the key issues facing health and safety today. Lessons from Leaders is a companion eBook that highlights health and safety: where we are and where we’re going.
Health and safety today is more complex and dynamic than ever. The world is experiencing significant changes in how, when and where work happens. Today, employees are just as likely to be contractors as they are to be permanent staff, and workers are placing greater emphasis on their wider mental and physical wellbeing.
Watch more episodes and download the companion guide: Lessons from Leaders.
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