The Risk Management Tool Box Blog

HSE Leadership Rules

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, July 05, 2011
Good HSE performance is driven through following rules.  Generally, it means following a systematic Think 6, Look 6 hazard and risk management process.

As a business leader, it's up to you to clearly establish your HSE expectations and "set the rules" for managing risk.

Below are actions you can take to get across your key HSE messages:

1.  Onboard new team members about your acceptable standards for HSE behaviour;

2.  Use all available opportunities to talk to subordinates and peers about your HSE expectations;

3.  Lead by example in demonstrating positive and proactive HSE behaviours;

4.  Support others who attempt to intervene when HSE rules are broken;

5.  Demonstrate zero tolerance for HSE rule breaking that you see; and

6.   Report breaches of HSE rules using your available tool kit.

Tomorrow marks the 22nd anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster.

There will be no blog about leadership, but as a leader, you should reflect on what you're doing in your business to avert a process hazard catastrophe of a similar magnitude. 


What Safety Leadership Behaviours did you Demonstrate today? (Part two)

Graham Marshall - Monday, July 04, 2011
Yesterday I said that leaders define the HSE culture in their organizations by demonstrating to those around them what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.

I then posed a number of questions for you to think about.

Today, we'll consider the meaning of your possible answers.

1.  Did you get out and about in your workplace and talk to anyone about hazards today?
If you answered "no" to the question above, what does that demonstrate?  Doesn't hazard management matter at your workplace?  Perhaps you were too busy with more pressing commitments?  Perhaps you're fearful about communicating with the workers about hazards because you might appear foolish?  What reasons can you think of that provide an excuse for not talking to people about hazards in the jobs they're doing?

2.  What have you done today to demonstrate that you follow written procedures?
How did you show you were following procedures?  Perhaps you decided you could break the rules?  Maybe the procedures don't apply to you?  Maybe they're out of date, unknown or just not workable?  What reasons could there be for you to demonstrate that the "rules are made to be broken"?

3.  What have you done today to ensure others in your organization are following written procedures?
Have you observed breaches of the rules and not intervened?  If so, why not?  What reasons could you have for allowing rule breaking to go on?  Did others that you influence notice you turning a "blind-eye" to known breaches of procedures?  What message do you think this behaviour sends to your subordinates?

4.  Do you know how your contractors are managing risk?
How do you know?  What have you done today to find out about the work your contractors may be performing?  What controls are they using to stay safe?  How are they planning their jobs? If you don't know, isn't it time you found out?

5.  Did you have a conversation today that had something to do with HSE?
If not, why not?  8-10 hours at work and not a single conversation about safety?  Incredible really?  Isn't it time for you to get out and get talking, influencing, and showing what your HSE expectations are?

6.  Did you do anything to close-out a corrective action from a hazard/incident report, an inspection or a HSE audit?
Your only excuse is if you don't have any correctives.  But there again, if you don't, is it due to a poor reporting culture?  Maybe you don't do workplace inspections?  Perhaps there isn't an audit plan?  Perhaps your people are fearful of reporting problems to you.  Why would that be do you think?

7.  Did you break any traffic rules when driving to work this morning?
Are the rules stupid?  Don't they apply to you?   Perhaps you're a great driver so don't need to comply to the stuff everyone else does?  What does this say about you?  What message are you sending to colleagues who may observe your driving style?

8.  Did anybody in your organization raise a HSE conversation with you?  If not, why not?
Maybe there just aren't any safety concerns in your business?  Is that true?  Or have people given up on coming to you with their problems.  Have they concluded that you don't care?  Have they concluded you won't listen?

In all cases it's a failure of leadership.

What Safety Leadership Behaviours do you Demonstrate?

Graham Marshall - Sunday, July 03, 2011
Leaders define the HSE culture in their organizations by demonstrating to those around them what is and what is not acceptable behaviour.

Check your leadership behaviours today by answering the following questions:

1.  Did you get out and about in your workplace and talk to anyone about hazards today?

2.  What have you done today to demonstrate that you follow written procedures?

3.  What have you done today to ensure others in your organization are following written procedures?

4.  Do you know how your contractors are managing risk?

5.  Did you have a conversation today that had something to do with HSE?

6.  Did you do anything to close-out a corrective action from a hazard/incident report, an inspection or a HSE audit?

7.  Did you break any traffic rules when driving to work this morning?

8.  Did anybody in your organization raise a HSE conversation with you?  If not, why not?


What do HSE Leaders do?

Graham Marshall - Saturday, July 02, 2011
As a leader, the quality of your leadership is reflected across your organization in perceptions held about your own safety behaviours.

Positive leadership for HSE is shown through a demonstrated commitment to the goal of zero harm.  That translates as a business with no fatalities and no lost time injuries.

To achieve zero harm, business leaders must accomplish the following outcomes:

1.  Always understand and be able to communicate about HSE risks in your organization;

2.  Lead by your example - demonstrate safety behaviours at all times;

3.  Motivate others around you to demonstrate acceptable safety behaviours;

4.  Coach and develop the positive HSE behaviours you wish to see;

5.  Ensure their are negative and unwanted consequences for those individuals in your organization who fail to demonstrate acceptable safety behaviours;

6.  Intervene when behavioural standards influencing HSE outcomes slip below what you find acceptable; and

7.  Hold individuals - including yourself -  accountable for the HSE performance of your organization.

Safety Leadership

Graham Marshall - Friday, July 01, 2011
Positive leadership for safety is probably the most defining characteristic that separates organizations with mature safety culture from the 'also rans'.

At the Risk Tool Box, we stress the point to the leaders in organizations with whom we work that they need to focus their leadership efforts on four key performance areas.

These are:

1.  Process Hazard Management;

2.  Workplace activity management;

3.  Road transportation; and

4.  Contractor management in relation to process hazards, hazards in activities and road safety.

Over the month of July I will be outlining  a set of guidance notes that will assist any organizational leader to progress the HSE goal of zero harm.

Feel free to check back each day in July for further updates on leadership for safety.


Life Saving Rules

Graham Marshall - Thursday, June 16, 2011
Shell has established a set of Live Saving Rules aimed at preventing fatal accidents.

Below is a summary of the key critical controls that will go a long way to preventing fatalities in the workplace and at home.

1.   Valid Permit to Work when required;

2.   Install and very isolations when required;

3.   Ensure gas testing and monitoring when required;

4.   No entry to confined spaces without a risk assessment;

5.   No removal or disabling of safety critical equipment without a risk assessment;

6.   Appropriate fall arrest to be used for work at heights;

7.   No walking or working below suspended loads;

8.   No smoking outside designated areas;

9.   No alcohol or other drugs affecting work performance;

10. No use of mobile phone when operating vehicles;

11. Always wear your seatbelt in vehicles; and

12. Follow and appropriate Journey Management Plan.

Following those rules will go a long way to making sure you go home to your family today but remember to also always use the Think 6, Look 6 for managing hazards in every task you perform.

A little more information on Shell's Life Saving Ruless can be accessed here.


Health and Safety Vision

Graham Marshall - Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Today I'd like to talk about my health and safety vision.  It's what I'm passionate about. 

To do this, I'll answer three rhetorical questions.

Firstly, what is my vision?

I am passionate about the Think 6, Look 6 hazard and risk management process.  I'm passionate about it because it is the only way to manage all hazards in activity and process safety areas of business and homelife.

My vision is to have Think 6, Look 6 embedded in every business, organization and home so we can all be safer.

Secondly, how can I assist you to achieve a safer way of working and living in a way that no one else is doing?

I recognise that there is only one hazard and risk management process.  Think  6, Look 6 is the best and simplest way to describe the process in theory and in action. 

Look 6 - six dimensions - look around you - that's up, down, left, right, front and behind.  Six dimensions to study. 

Think 6 - that's six bits of information. 

1.    What are the hazards around you? 

2.    What triggers will release the hazards? 

3.    What incident (accident) could occur to you? 

4.    What will be the consequences of the accident? 

5.    How will you control the hazards and triggers?

6.    How will you minimize the consequences and recover the situation?

So if you put Think 6 together with Look 6 it provides the process to follow in every hazard and risk management tool.

Thirdly, how is using Think 6, Look 6 more worthwhile than following someone else’s vision?

Simple - Think 6, Look 6 is  the best and simplest way of encapsulating the hazard and risk management process.  It's the easiest way to ensure the process is embedded in every hazard and risk management tool that people are using.  Same process every time.

It doesn't matter whether you're doing simple hazard spotting (e.g., Take 5 or Stepback); if you're preparing a JSA or JHA; if you're undertaking a risk assessment; doing a Hazop Study; an incident investigation; or even a HSE observation as part of a beavioural safety program. 

Think 6, Look 6
is the foundation on which risk management is built and I've put the process into every tool on this website.

Think 6, Look 6 makes risk management understandable to everyone.

Ask yourself, can you understand it now?

How to Maximise the Benefit of Senior Management Visits

Graham Marshall - Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The visible presence of members of Senior Management on the “shop floor” is now routinely accepted as a defining characteristic found in organizations with a more mature safety culture.

In fact, the concept of “time-in-field” has become such an established aspect of performance arrangements that Senior Managers are now measured against it and visits are now frequently a HSE key performance indicator. 

The number of site visits completed by Managers has become a de facto HSE “leading indicator” for safety culture in many organizations.  Organizations taking this approach include BHP Billiton, Shell, Rio-Tinto, BP, Woodside Energy, Santos, Chevron and a host of others in high-reliability industries.

The assumption that management visibility is a good measure of safety culture maturity, however, is not wholly unproblematic.

For example, on the 20th April 2010, the day of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, two Senior Managers from BP and two from Transocean were visiting the rig as part of a scheduled management visibility tour.  The four Managers were either experienced drilling engineers or had previously been rig managers. 

On the day of the disaster, the four Senior Managers spent more than seven hours on the rig and during that period they spent time on a range of safety initiatives.

In spite of their presence, however, sub-sea well control was lost leading to a high-pressure release and a series of catastrophic explosions.  Eleven workers lost their lives as the disaster unfolded.

Given the generally positive assumptions surrounding time-in-field safety initiatives, this week’s blog takes a reality check and questions these assumptions. 

The enclosed slideshow (click here) provides more detail about the Management visit to Deepwater Horizon and addresses the key lessons that HSE Leaders can learn when initiating their own time-in-field visits. 

In summary, the slideshow highlights:

  • Senior Management visits often spend far too much time on lower-risk occupational safety issues;

  • As such, Senior Managers are not addressing the real HSE risk facing high-reliability organizations;

  • In response, we argue that Senior Managers need to spend far more time addressing higher-risk Process Safety Management (PSM) issues when visiting operational facilities.

  • Information about Major Accident Hazards and the events associated with them are readily available (usually in the Project Safety Case) and should be reviewed by Senior Managers prior to visits.

  • Process hazards and catastrophic-consequence incidents should always be the top priority focus area of Senior Managers making visits to high-reliability facilities.

  • Senior Managers making site-visits should always check and verify that the process hazards are being managed in appropriate ways.  This could involve reviewing a procedure (in real time) or undertaking a formal HSE Observation during a walk-round.

Deepwater Horizon was a disaster because eleven men lost their lives.  It will be still more tragic if lessons are not learned that make workers safer in the future.

To review a copy of the presentation, please click here.

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