HSE Chief Executive issues challenge to Major Hazard Industries
Date: Monday, February 25, 2008 @ 14:00:58 GMT
Topic: Health and Safety Executive (HSE) News

HSE Chief Executive, Geoffrey Podger, today challenged the major hazard industries to take more responsibility for tackling the safety issues it faces.

Speaking at the American Society of Safety Engineers-Middle East Chapter annual conference in Bahrain, Geoffrey Podger told delegates how essential it was to invest in safety, "All of us here today have a common aim. We want our business and industry to be successful and for that success to be sustained in the long term. However, major incidents, like Buncefield, undermine this effort. Safety not only ensures people go home safely at the end of the day; itís also good for business. It requires investment though. Investment in leadership; investment in infrastructure; and investment in learning."

Mr Podger explained how the true challenge was to change behaviour in the boardroom, since it is their action and delivery that really counts, "Leadership is demonstrated through actions from the top, so that a culture develops where all managers and staff know that safety is being taken seriously. Staff must see and hear the right messages, with the right tone and level of commitment. Managers must walk the talk, and be seen to listen to staff and to value their insights. To achieve this, it is necessary to encourage a no-blame relationship, to recognise safe behaviours and challenge unsafe practices. "Strong leadership is fundamental to achieving robust process safety management. It is a Company Board issue and requires clear accountabilities at all levels, together with effective measurement systems, including indicators of process safety performance to enable learning from near misses and pre-cursor events, and avoiding major incidents. It is essential also to use the right metrics: too often occupational health and safety data is used as an assurance of the unrelated but key issue of process safety.

"Furthermore, an ingrained quest to learn is critical, companies must seek to learn from their own experiences while also looking beyond themselves for lessons in order to avoid complacency," concluded Mr Podger.

This article comes from Sheffield Occupational Health and Safety Association (SOHSA)

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