HSE Strategy: Eight Focus Areas for Success

Where health, safety, and environmental efforts are focused must create value for the organization.

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Where health, safety, and environmental (HSE) efforts are focused must create value for the organization. Additionally, what the HSE efforts concentrate on must create the perception of value for those within the organization. There must be an HSE strategy that delivers this. Being strategic is about creating and delivering value.

As an advisor and coach to organizations pursuing HSE excellence, I consider eight areas when helping them improve the efficacy of their strategy.

Conditions: Workplace conditions are managed effectively through a continuous effort to identify and mitigate hazards and risks.

Compliance: Local, federal, and company workplace HSE compliance requirements are regularly reviewed and adhered to.

Capital: The process for how money is allocated allows the organization to invest strategically and tactically in continuous improvement.

Culture: There is cultural capacity to support and reinforce the HSE systems. The desired beliefs, behaviors, and experiences exist, and there is a shared mindset that continuous improvement will always be possible. HSE is viewed as the way business objectives are met.

Complete Person: The organization has systems to support the complete person, including mental health and psychological safety, and provides education on nutrition and healthy food options in company cafeterias or break rooms.

Confidence in System Capacity: There is confidence in the capacity of the HSE system (hierarchy of controls) to prevent incidents and injuries. However, because human error occurs in complex environments, the system has recovery mechanisms to reduce the severity of unwanted events and bring individuals or operations back to the pre-event state. There is confidence in the system's capacity to prevent deviations from expectations and recovery systems to recover when deviations occur.

Competency HSE Technical Acumen: All personnel in the organization maintain the necessary HSE technical acumen to understand regulatory requirements and the HSE expectations of the organization. Everyone has the knowledge and competencies to perform their tasks in a way that supports the work as planned and know what to do to contribute to an incident-free outcome.

Competency Leadership Acumen: All leaders understand their role in supporting the HSE strategy. These individuals work continuously to create a motivational environment that yields discretionary effort with HSE activities. They know their people and how to get the best out of them.

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