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Where and how do I begin?

Not a few self employed CEOs have said to me in the past that they had no clue how  to set up for HSE in their businesses, so today I have decided to point them in the right direction with this model. I do hope they and others like them find it useful to their aspirations, aims and objectives.

Enjoy it and don't forget to share your impressions with us.

Health, Safety and Environmental Management Systems - HSE MS
Setting up some kind of management systems to have manage safety in the business is where to begin. It doesn’t have to be a massive organization or set up but it must have key elements embedded to ensure all angles are covered, including reviews for continuous improvements. Besides, management systems must be tailored to fit the organization. There’s no point in producing volumes and volumes of safety management manuals in small and medium sized companies or enterprises when a one-page document would do the trick. The key requirement is to adopt whatever is best fit without losing any of the basic elements of managing safely.  

In considering a management system, the following elements are a must, whether it is for a large, medium or small-scale organization: 

  1. Policy and Strategic Objectives - demonstrates management leadership and commitment. By putting out a simple policy statement, management makes it clear that the new system is for real and is to be taken seriously by all.
  2. Organization, Roles and Responsibilities - everyone must have a defined role/ responsibility to underline expected role in the programme framework
  3. Standards and Procedures - this sets the boundaries of acceptable workplace behaviours, limits, how and when and by whom.
  4. Implementation, Performance and Monitoring - here’s where you do what you promised to do, the rate and how well it is done and who’s supervising to see things are according to plan.
  5. Audit – auditing provides an instamatic picture of weakness and strengths of the entire system, pointing in the direction of where management intervention might be or has become necessary.
  6. Management Review – a tool for injecting new lifeblood into the system, to cement the gains or decouple obsolete and unworkable parts. It can be used to focus on particular area or activity once it’s clear for instance that repeated recurrences relating to that area or activity throw up similar remote and immediate causal factors across the company or organization. This would usually suggest there’s a trend borne out of common hazards, error-enforcing conditions, practices, methods, tools and techniques.
In the end, senior management is able to zero in on what is and the best option for improvement and feedback to the workforce. 

Systems Update 

Once these pillars are in place, updating the system becomes a matter of routine. That way nothing is lost or missed out, the document remains current, complete and correct. But it must be someone’s assigned duty to reflect all authorized changes, alterations and additions. 

What should never happen or allowed to happen is taking the foot of the pedal such that changes occur without procedural controls. Free wheeling changes without recourse to a central point of control is like inviting disaster that’s already waiting to happen. 

It works a lot easier if there is an appointed individual in the organization or company whose job is to collate proposals for necessary changes/improvements. These should be duly presented to Management HSE Committee for evaluation and approval. Once done, the necessary revision should be published in the form of an erratum for large organizations or a simple notification to all supervisors and managers for smaller outfits.

7.  Leadership 

An important point is Management Leadership in HSE for without it, the whole system will be regarded as a joke by employees. Consequently, nothing concrete is achieved.  

Management has a duty to properly resource the HSE department; back it up with visible and convincing actions otherwise employees will be given to wondering what it is all about. One sure way to kill a Management HSE initiative is to have different rules for different people in the organization. For it to come together, the leadership must walk the talk. It’s no use to have the Managing Director or the big boss walking around visibly disregarding commonsense HSE rules. 

Say a supervisor is seen on the machine shop floor without his helmet, goggles and earmuffs each time then it becomes extremely difficult for the foreman to enforce the company’s HSE PPE rules, regulations and policies. What follows is widespread rules abuse and violations which in turn leads to poor HSE performance overall.  

Each time there’s an incident anywhere in the organization or company, apparent and non-apparent losses occur bringing to bear on the company’s reputation and commercial bottom line. Performing poorly in HSE raises the spectre of increasing operating expenditure which leaves precious little for capital projects, growth and expansion. Like everyone knows, anything that doesn’t grow dies. Same is true for HSE and Businesses.




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