The Verdantix Summit Europe was held in London from 13 to 14 March 2018. The summit was titled “Delivering Business Value with Innovative HSE Technologies.
According to Verdantix, HSE leaders need to craft a new mission statement which aligns with delivering value to the business. There is a burning need to reposition the HSE function away from being a cost of doing business.
There is a growing realization that HSE performance has a significant impact on operational – and therefore financial – performance. Risk-centric HSE management systems are delivering superior results to process-centric approaches. Verdantix research shows that executing on this new business value mission statement for HSE can be better achieved by supporting changes in people and process with better data and technology.
HSE professionals are under pressure to “innovate” to increase productivity and improve safety records to protect their organization’s’ reputations.
The summit identified three major skill-gaps in the profession:
In his opening address, David Metcalfe CEO at Verdantix said “HSE professionals are not always aligned to the C-suite’s objectives. If they are not aware of the strategic KPIs, it’s more difficult for them to align messages and secure budget for safety initiatives, for software [and other requirements].”
What is important for HSE professionals, and the organizations they represent, is that – when it comes to technology, one size does not fit all. It depends on the region and industry. If the primary goal is incident reporting and platform adoption, a simple point solution might trump the “all singing, all dancing” implementation that takes three-years before it goes live.
There are many options available to the HSE professional who wishes to implement Digital EHS systems. Smart sensors and the like create more data – but how do you process it and make sense of it. All of the data you collect has to be integrated, at the very least. Integration is not a nice-to-have. It is a requirement. Without integration, you cannot begin to take advantage of predictive analytics and preventative risk management.
While some share the view that some data is fine in isolation, for example, driver fatigue is site specific and there is no need for global views on this data. Others argue that incidents are often the result of a combination of factors, multiple risks. It wasn’t just “A caused B”. This complexity highlights the importance of an integrated approach; the use of leading indicators; and in some cases, the value of machine learning to predict incidents.
More and more, HSE professionals are looking to move away from “point in time” data to data that is “real time” and predictive. They invest in projects to get value from data lakes.
Transparency and accountability is especially important and HSE professionals cannot rely on the technology they employ alone.They need to make safety real within their organizations. An injury rate is not just a number, there people are behind it and those people, the workforce, needs to be empowered through a company culture of safety.
In his keynote address, “Doing Safety Differently: Risk-based HSE Strategies”, John Green, HSEQ Director at Laing O’Rourke points out that there are layers of control and complexity that prevent imagination and innovation. He challenges the view that “people are the problem”. He says “people are part of the solution, not the problem!” Safety should focus on the positive and break free of the negative connotations associated with “incidents”.
Safety is a moral responsibility, not an unrealistic activity. He believes safety is not a choice, it’s a product of the environment, and that certain targets can produce inappropriate activity. That is, in an environment where zero incidents are lauded over reporting near misses, HSE Managers may be reluctant to report on the truth, in order to appease the board.
Whichever view point you support, events such as the Verdantix summit are great opportunities to challenge your thinking; network with professionals who share the same challenges and find out about the latest technologies that can help you in your role.
The next Verdantix Summit will be held later this month in Houston, Texas. To find out more, visit the Verdantix website.