The world of business is evolving fast. Increasingly organisations, large and small, are under pressure to be accountable and transparent in their operations. They have a responsibility to their workforce, customers and the environment, including their supply chain. Failing to implement the right health and safety laws can put a heavy strain on a company’s finances and reputation, but more importantly put lives at risk.
Environment, Health and Safety breeches
Snapshot of incidents that were preventable:
- Proposed penalties of $70,000 for Dyson Corporation as worker loses part of a finger. Ohio. Unguarded moving machine part.
- Royal Mail Group Limited, fined £50,000 after worker’s foot was run over by a reach truck. Medway Magistrates Court. Not providing correct footwear for environment
- Major frozen food manufacturer fined £80,000 after employee nearly lost his arm. Peterborough Crown Court. Incorrect guards on conveyor
- Company fined £2.6 million after an employee was crushed to death when a trench collapsed. Preston Crown Court. Inadequate risk assessment.
In February 2016, oil giant Conoco Phillips (UK) Limited were fined after gas leaks on their platform off the Lincolnshire coast put the lives of 66 workers in danger. Releases of gas occurred as a result of a number of deficiencies in isolation and planning, allowing gas to come out of an open-ended pipe connected to the high-pressure vent system. The breakdown in communications across the five platforms meant some workers incorrectly believed the platform was gas-free, which it wasn’t, and it was estimated around 600kg of hydrocarbon gas was released. ConocoPhillips (UK) Limited admitted serious failings and were fined £3,000,000 (£1m for each offence) and ordered to pay costs of £159,459(1).
BP has been at the centre of a number of environment, health and safety disasters, including the explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. In another incident that happened in 2005, an explosion resulted in a divesting fire that ripped through BP’s Texas City Refinery. 15 workers were killed and 170 injured. BP was charged with violating federal environment crime laws and has been subject to lawsuits from the victim’s families. The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) imposed a fine of $87million (2).
Top tips for EHS managers
Acknowledge health and safety as an enterprise-wide challenge
Environment, Health and Safety belongs at every level of the organisation. A unified risk strategy is essential, and it needs to apply to every aspect of your company no matter where your employees are located. For example, if you have a 12 hours no alcohol policy for certain positions, rolling it out company-wide shows workers that this is something the company is committed to at all levels. It then involves a process for random testing which is then recorded for audit, action, and reporting.
Our client, Greenergy, a UK and Canadian based road fuel supplier, encourages every individual working in the business to observe and respond to hazards as part of their ‘no-blame’ culture, so there is transparency across the business.
Make the effort to standardise risk assessment across the business
One of the most effective ways to make informed decisions across the company is to try and standardise the same processes company-wide. This ensures a consistent delivery in health, safety and risk monitoring processes. Business intelligence then enables managers to identify potential risk areas and positively implement informed changes as well as adapt to any new regulations and laws.
Our client, Babcock, has implemented EcoOnline’s AI, Risk and Pass modules across their Defence, Support and Marine operations, which involves over 35,000 skilled staff with over 300 health and safety staff members. The business intelligence, reporting and real-time visibility of compliance and HSE performance promotes quick and responsive actions to minimise any potential risk or hazard.
Rules and regulations need to be constantly updated and monitored
The regulatory landscape is notorious for constantly changing and evolving to ensure the safety of lives. Many changes can be reactionary, resulting from recent disasters, and they can be highly political, such as the impact on this month’s EU vote for Britain. Keeping a central record of these changes and how they affect the running of your business will ensure your company’s overall governance is improved immeasurably.
With the strong strategic partnerships as part of EcoOnline’s portfolio you can manage an integrated and comprehensive range of up-to-date regulatory documents.
- Enhesa - who provide regulatory compliance assurance support to industries worldwide.
- 3E Company –offers a comprehensive suite of data and solutions for environmental health and safety compliance management in the chemical life cycle.
And Airsweb's (now EcoOnline) partnership with Kwintessential, means language isn’t a barrier, as they are an International Translation Agency, who can draw out the appropriate nuances in technical terms and inferences.
Use software to maximise the efficiency of your risk management programme
For Health and Safety professionals, using EcoOnline cloud-based software will help make intelligent business decisions, measure performance across the business, identify patterns and probe deeper into potential risk.
EcoOnline can help your organisation with all aspects of EHS, Risk, Compliance and Sustainability providing you with robust, usable, live reporting that can be accessed from anywhere including mobile and tablet devices. Our software allows you to report incidents, events and more importantly log and delegate actions in order to implement solutions quickly – ensuring the safety of your workforce and people and the reputation of your company.