Make HSE a Priority

An effective health, safety and environmental management system will improve workflow and HSE performance

By Rebecca Pehler

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Periodic review of results, audits and incident investigations will help set objectives and targets. Know when to take corrective action and follow up for continuous improvement of performance. Are there repeat findings from self-assessment that show nonconformance? An instrument calibration program should be in place. Ensure that calibration occurs on schedule and is well documented.

Common pitfalls

Companies may encounter several common pitfalls when implementing an MS.

Workflow issues. These issues include lack of resources and performance issues that are neither reviewed nor funded and so cannot be addressed. The necessary changes to make implementation more effective are lacking. Senior management has not formally named an MS team with defined responsibilities and authorities for HSE issues. Management has not made a formal commitment to the MS or the implementation team.

HSE goals not met. There is a lack of HSE awareness and impacts are not being documented by personnel. There is no procedure to review and update HSE impacts with subsequent reporting to senior management. Management does not have input on change issues that affect HSE performance. This information is not being used by management to review and set business performance goals.

Risk reduction measures not met. The business's environmental or HSE risk is not being measured. The actual and potential risk level tolerable to the business has not been defined. There is no plan for mitigating either actual or potential risk.

Instrument calibration program not implemented. There is no documentation of any calibration program. Monitoring and measuring equipment are not regularly calibrated. Calibration activities that do occur are not documented. A preventive maintenance program has not been established.

Document control system not in place. Employees cannot distinguish the current documents from those that are obsolete. There is no indication of when the documents were issued or last reviewed, of who owns the document or who has the authority to approve it.

Assessing performance

To achieve continuous improvement of HSE performance, you must have a tool to determine the effectiveness of those responsible for HSE support. The HSE questionnaire can be used by the individual and/or management responsible for the specific workflow. Responses to the questions are then ranked as unacceptable, below average, average, above average and excellent. This information is then organized and related to the MS HSE Commitment and Policy Statement. The business MS acts as the glue between the workflow interfaces to ensure continuous exchange of HSE information that directly affects business profitability. If the employees are aware of HSE issues and controls in the workflow for which they are responsible, then business is better able to consistently produce products for the customer.

The information gathered from this questionnaire indicates whether the business's HSE Commitment and Policy statement is part of everyday business decisions. Also, information from the questionnaire gives management an idea of the effectiveness of HSE resource allocation and provides an avenue to discuss HSE issues. All of this has input into driving HSE performance of a business.

Rebecca Pehler is a chemical engineer and chemist with more than 24 years of experience working on the Gulf Coast. For the past three years, she has helped a major oil company design and implement an HSE MS.

 

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