Elements of Leadership and the EHS Professional – Part One

In an article published in the Harvard Business Review titled, “Managers and Leaders: Are They Different?”, the author explores the difference between “leadership” and “management.” “It takes neither genius nor heroism to be a manager,” he wrote, “but rather persistence, tough-mindedness, hard work, intelligence, analytical ability and perhaps most important, tolerance and goodwill.” Granted, one would be hard pressed to deny that these are not admirable qualities, but it is doubtful that these qualities would ever deliver sustainable EHS performance in a complex and dynamic organization.

Over the past 25 years of my career, I’ve spent most of my time working in local and corporate level positions striving to improve EHS process and performance. Over the years, I discovered that organizations best optimize their efforts when they provide strong well-balanced leadership. Strong and well-balanced meaning that it does not lie strictly on a regulatory focus, but considers employee capability and … Read more...

Tightening Processes is Key to Worker Safety

Variations that exist within system processes may be putting workers on a path to making poor decisions while performing their work and invariably compromising their safety. That’s an assertion made by Scott Gaddis, the Health and Safety Practice Leader for Intelex Technologies and a 25-year veteran of environmental health and safety leadership and management.

It’s important to tighten process methodologies to ensure there’s little room for interpretation by workers that forms bad safety habits. In his recently published Intelex Insight Report, entitled, Unleash a Better Safety Culture by Controlling Process Variability, Gaddis notes that, in many incidents where a worker performs an unsafe act, the decision that often led to err was likely influenced by other uncontrolled variables residing within the work system itself.

Dan Peterson, in his book, Human Error Reduction and Safety Management, writes that “Human error is involved in every accident and there are many reasons … Read more...

The Importance of Permit to Work Analytics

Permit to Work processes are a necessary part of a company’s Safety management process, but they aren’t often recognized as a source of valuable insights. With the majority of companies using paper trails to manage their Permit to Work process, the ability to consolidate information, link that information to other areas of the business, and ultimately draw impactful insights is non-existent. Using software to manage your Permit to Work process can unlock those important hidden insights.

Linking Permit to Work data with EHS information can help Safety managers:

  1. Perform accurate audits to ensure Permit to Work procedures are properly followed

If it isn’t measured and tracked, then it likely isn’t happening. Auditing your Permit to Work process is essential to ensure that management, supervisors and workers alike are properly following your standardized process.

It will also allow you to objectively look at the process and identify areas for improvement, … Read more...

The Benefits of Becoming an EHS Business Partner

By Kenny Sandlin

What is a strategic EHS business partner and why should you strive to become one?

These are questions I have asked myself many times. Strategic EHS business partners think beyond the basic responsibilities of recordkeeping, compliance, documentation, incident investigations, etc. and acknowledge that while the basics must get done, and be done in an accurate, timely, and in a cost-effective manner, there is much more to their roles. Strategic EHS leaders serve as a business partner, ensuring that EHS initiatives are undertaken in alignment with the company’s strategy, priorities, direction, focus, and mission, vision, and values.

Being an administrator of the important stuff, the basic responsibilities I mentioned above, will not be sufficient for success. It is critical to our jobs, but not sufficient enough to achieve EHS Excellence. A true strategic EHS business partner helps to create a culture of continuous improvement that goes far beyond … Read more...

How to Handle Permits to Work the Modern, Efficient Way

Most employers are legally required to post some form of Permit to Work – whether it is a construction site, hospital, manufacturing plant or even a brewery. A Permit to Work:

  • makes workers, supervisors and management aware of any hazards around them,
  • educates them on how to safely work with the hazards, and
  • in many cases, lays out an action plan to ensure everyone works safely with each other.

Employers must post a printed Permit to Work in a visible space for workers to see when they enter the work site. They must also inform workers entering the work site for the first time of any open permits. Workers must confirm, through a signature, that they acknowledge and are aware of the information provided to them. While this task sounds simple, companies with large worksites must often manage hundreds of workers coming on and off a site with multiple Permits … Read more...