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6 Steps to impress Top Management with a continually improving performance

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The main reason organizations employ HSE professionals is to support with the implementation of their HSE Management System in an effective manner, where an effective manner means the ability to drive the HSE Management System to achieve its set objectives such as to prevent workplace accidents and diseases etc. As HSE professionals, our performance is measured by how well we have ensured an effective system under our watch. So one can argue that, the performance of the HSE Management System is invariably the performance of the HSE professional and therefore a failed system means an incompetent professional. This can justify some of the many reasons some HSE professionals would not associate with organizations with a failing system, especially those that do not listen or learn from their mistakes. Some would quickly resign from such organizations for fear of being blamed or sacked one day for a failed system assuming there is ever a fatality. This happens many times in organizations with a blame culture. So the fact is, HSE professionals will to a large extent be evaluated and held accountable to their organization’s HSE performance. Considering the fact that, a failed system could mean wrong people doing the job whereas a successful system does suggest the right people for the job are working. Take it or leave it, or share your comment on the post.

So whether you agree or not, the fact still remains, we are judged by our organization’s HSE performance. In order to stay effective, here are a few suggestions

Set HSE goals, objectives and targets

As HSE professionals, we must begin every year right by collaborating with our top management to set the HSE strategy for the year. That begins with the overall HSE goals and objectives for the year, based upon which we can gear our HSE management system towards. Here are a few example of HSE goals and objective;

  1. To protect life, property and environment.
  2. To improve control of work
  3. To improve behavior based safety and culture
  4. To maintain workplace controls
  5. To improve employee competence and awareness
  6. To improve emergency response
  7. To improve employee engagement
  8. To comply with legal requirements
  9. To continually improve the management system
  10. To reduce incident rate

After defining our HSE goals and objectives, we need to qualify them with targets to make them SMART, which will enable us to drive our safety programs with precision. Qualifying HSE goals and objectives means assigning parameters to make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound.  Here are a few examples of SMART HSE Objectives (as qualified with targets)

  1. Zero total recordable case in the year 2020
  2. 100% compliance with permit to work system in 202O.
  3. 100% participation in behavior based safety program in 2020.
  4. 100% employee engagement in 2020.
  5. Achieve 20% reduction in Accident Frequency Rate.
  6. Conduct 2 Internal audits in 2020 etc.

Identify relevant Key Performance Indicators

We must identify the Key Performance Indicators relevant to our set of goals, objectives and targets. KPIs must focus on how we can measure both the success and failures within our HSE management system. This means they should be both leading and lagging indicators to ensure we can adequately measure both success and failures in order to improve upon them. Leading indicators are forward looking and proactive in nature. They help us to measure success in our HSE management system. A few examples are

  1. No. of workplace inspections
  2. No of trainings conducted
  3. % of compliance with the training matrix
  4. No. of Hazards reported
  5. No. of audits
  6. No of emergency drills etc.

Lagging indicators on the other hand are reactive in nature and help us to measure the failures in our management system. Examples include;

  1. No. of First Aid Cases,
  2. No. of Medical Treatment Cases,
  3. No. of Lost Time Injuries,
  4. No. of Fatal Accidents.
  5. No. of Property Damages.
  6. No. of Environmental Incidents,
  7. No. of Total Recordable Cases etc.

Develop the road map for achieving HSE goals, objectives and targets.

We need to develop a road map, which is the HSE Action Plan and since safety is everybody’s responsibility, we must develop the Plan based on input from both the top management and workers in order to gain the needed ownership for implementing the road map to achieving the set goals, objectives and targets. Key responsible persons must also be identified to champion the various actions within the road map and specify realistic completion dates for them, after which the HSE Action Plan must be endorsed by Senior Management Person to ensure all key responsible persons can be held accountable to it.

Conduct regular assurance activities

In order to ensure that our entire management system is working as planned and our HSE Action Plan is  being followed, we need to regularly conduct spot checks, spend a lot of time on the field with the guys, correct unsafe acts, perform some coaching to those who need help and most importantly perform  some internal audits to identify any nonconformities in order to raise the needed corrective actions and follow up actions until closed as well as opportunities for improvement.

Leverage on a system for data collections and analysis.

Given that all of the above are being implemented, we must maintain adequate data collection based on documentary evidence for verification purposes using an effective system which should build an HSE database for the purpose of trend analysis. From the database, daily or monthly HSE reports can be generated in the best structured format for top management’s perusal and employees to know the daily or monthly progress update. This should convince Top Management and all employees that we have a full overview of our HSE road map and the progress we are making.

Generate an Annual HSE Performance Report

Lastly, at the end of the year, we must produce an Annual HSE performance Report explaining how our management system has faired based on the road map we have set and whether we have been able to achieve the set goals, objectives and targets. This is where the actual performance trends should be compared against previous year’s performance and any industry benchmarks, taking into account the high and the low. The report can then be shared at Management Reviews, General Safety Meetings and all forums for employee engagement to get everybody on the same boat towards the following year’s HSE strategy

Repeat these 6 steps every year. If you need a software to facilitate all of the above, try SHEQXEL HSE Performance Monitoring Tool.



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