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EHS CONGRESS BERLIN 2024 OHS Interactions a Leadership Essential for a Safer Workplace

Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) management is not just a set of policies or procedures; it's a cultural shift that requires active leadership and consistent engagement. At EHS Congress in Berlin, last 22-23 may, 2024 Perrier Consulting facilitate a workshop focused on HSE interactions where participants explored the critical role of leadership in fostering a safe and compliant work environment. This article distills the key takeaways from the workshop, emphasizing the essential nature of HSE interactions for effective leadership. 

Structured Time Frames and Management Engagement 

One of the main challenges in HSE management is getting middle management on board, as they often feel overwhelmed with their existing responsibilities. To address this, it's crucial to establish a structured time frame for HSE activities. This means integrating HSE tasks into the daily routine, making them manageable and ensuring they don't get sidelined. 

Implementing a Step-by-Step Process 

An effective HSE strategy requires a clear, step-by-step process that everyone can follow. This structured approach ensures that HSE tasks are performed consistently and correctly. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) related to Safety Training and Incentive Programs (STIP) should be defined to provide measurable goals. These KPIs help track progress and drive continuous improvement in safety performance. 

Quality Data Collection and Feedback 

High-quality data collection is essential for effective HSE management. Using structured forms and open-ended questions allows for comprehensive feedback from employees. Regular inspections and performance reviews link feedback to tangible actions, promoting a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. 

Walking the Talk: Leadership Commitment 

Leadership commitment is crucial for the success of HSE initiatives. Leaders must "walk the talk" by being present on the shop floor, understanding the challenges employees face, and demonstrating a genuine commitment to safety. This hands-on approach builds trust and shows that HSE is as important as other critical business functions like quality, finance, and technical operations. 

Coaching and Hierarchical Engagement 

Coaching is a critical component of successful HSE management. HSE professionals should provide continuous coaching to supervisors and managers, ensuring they understand and can effectively implement safety processes. This coaching should extend throughout the hierarchy, promoting a bottom-up approach that connects shop floor employees with office staff. 

Systematic and Consistent Approach 

A documented, systematic approach to HSE ensures consistency and clarity. This approach should integrate various tools and opportunities for interaction, such as checklists and safety walks, driven by leading indicators rather than solely on risk-based metrics. Consistency in messaging and actions helps build reliability in HSE processes. 

Building a Listening Organization 

Creating a listening organization is fundamental to building trust and fostering a no-blame culture. Encouraging open dialogue where employees feel comfortable raising safety concerns without fear of negative repercussions is key. Leaders should actively listen to feedback and act upon it, demonstrating that employee input is valued and drives change. 

Developing Leadership Competence and Care 

Leaders at all levels must develop a keen sense of care and competence in HSE matters. This includes understanding the risks within their areas and being able to interact effectively on HSE issues. Leadership training should focus on developing these competencies, ensuring that leaders are not only aware of safety protocols but also genuinely care about their implementation and impact. 

Effective Interaction and Follow-Through 

Quality interactions are more impactful than sheer quantity. Leaders should be trained to ask insightful questions, recognize positive behaviors, and provide constructive feedback. The effectiveness of these interactions should be assessed through interviews and feedback mechanisms, ensuring visible leadership and accountability at all levels.



In conclusion, a safe workplace underscores the importance of  

  • Structured processes. 

  • Leadership commitment. 

  • Building trust. 

  • Effective interactions including free open questions. 

  • Continuous feedback and real care and listening. 

By integrating these elements into a cohesive strategy, organizations can elevate their HSE performance, fostering a culture of safety that permeates every level of the business. With consistent effort and genuine engagement, HSE can achieve the same level of importance and respect as quality, finance, and technical operations. Leadership, at its core, must prioritize HSE interactions into the organisation activities to build a safer workplace. 

You need OHS support into your organisation contact us today .

Perrier Consulting is the official Canadian Ambassador for the One Percent Safer Foundation. You want to learn more about this international movement for a safer workplace and save lives please visit our One Percent Safer web page and join the movement.


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