Anyone involved in the HSE department of their organisation will know that there are several issues faced by safety personnel around the workplace.
Having been in the safety engineering industry for years, NRG Engineering has identified a common thread of issues after speaking to HSE co-ordinators, engineers, supervisors or even advisors with multiple years of experience. Although we’ve found the list of issues to be endless, we’ve gathered a list of the top seven most common issues faced, and how we believe one can overcome them.
1. Language barriers
Globalisation has made way for the immigration of skilled workforce to be employed anywhere in the world. While a cross-cultural workplace is an invitation for new opportunities, it also has a downside that many big bosses fail to notice – communication issues.
NRG has consulted several organisations where the language barrier has led to serious repercussions. The solution: Workplace policies that are translated in all native languages spoken by your employees. But don’t just create any policy for the sake of it. Your company policy document, aside from highlight important safety procedures, should also include:
- A framework for standards of unacceptable behaviours (assaults, carelessness, non-compliance to regulations, etc)
- A framework for building healthy relationships between staff (ways to communicate with a non-native English speaker, requesting for documents to be translated, etc)
2. Lack of resources
On the flipside, however, companies are now facing a lack of skilled personnel to be part of their projects. With the oil and gas industry’s future looking shaky, experts are moving out of this field, resulting in a shortage of knowledge.
The answer: Outsource. With consultancy companies in the likes of NRG springing out like mushrooms across the globe, your resource gaps can be easily filled. In fact, it would also make you less reliant on one person and allows you to engage a pool of talents that can help you with projects whenever necessary.
3. Deficiency in organised workflow
While HSE systems are often set in place prior to the commencement of projects, NRG often finds a lack of organisation when we carry out HSE audits. Paperwork tends to go unnoticed, and although technology is becoming widely accepted, a lot of gaps are still seen in the workflow.
One of the ways we at NRG recommend our clients to overcome this is to carry out a gap analysis that will identify the issues in the workplace. Is communication hurting the paper trail? Is it the lack of knowledge of how to fill up certain forms? Or is it a lack of a system to put everything together? Our workshops have identified many of such issues and resolved them before things get even more out of place.
4. Inadequate information
Another aspect that HSE systems often lack is a bank of latest and relevant information. Industry standards and regulations are ever-changing and it becomes hard for HSE personnel to keep track with everything amidst their busy schedules.
To solve this issue, you can rely on HSE systems like SOTERASIA which come built-in with a library of information. Alternatively, subscribe to news portals or industry networking providers such as GEP APAC.
5. Report preparation
So you’ve got all your systems in place and information of latest market happenings in order. Your CEO asks you for a report on how your company is progressing against the world statistics. You’re stumped.
Smaller companies forget the importance of inputting and analysing necessary data. This can be done with simple solutions like Excel. For a bigger chunk of reports, customise your HSE systems to allow you to automatically generate reports from certain fields.
It isn’t uncommon to have project deadlines shifting and postponing. Delays can happen with production, by a client or a third-party vendor, or even due to the weather. The question here is how can a HSE personnel keep on top of these deadlines, if most issues are often beyond control?
The best HSE system is one that can allow you to track progress and provide you with status updates on the ongoings of a project. Think about this – if you know where you are now, you can estimate how long it will take to reach your goal. Track your safety performance indicators in order to come up with a more worthwhile plan to deliver projects at the right standards and with minimum risks and hazards.
Aside from just tracking, however, you need to bear in mind that as a safety personnel, you need to incorporate feedback from ground staff to analyse the situation better and make a more informed decision.
At every project location, come up with suggestion boxes for on-ground personnel to feedback safety issues to you. Implement systems such as the HAZOB and KAIZEN Card.
Alternatively, you can also carry out an HSE audit with a third-party inspector to evaluate and rate the feedback in order for you to evaluate and take action according to the priorities allocated to them.