Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to work with many industries, including emergency services and defence. Through observation and discussion with those who successfully operate in these complex high risk environments, I learnt an important lesson on risk management: it must work from the frontline back. This set the foundation for the way I approach my work.
For too long, health, safety and environment (HSE) has operated as a silo function – developed, implemented and monitored primarily by HSE resources. This, in part, has led to over bureaucratisation, unnecessary complication, and a separation from the realities of how work is done. Unfortunately, the systems that were once intended to drive successful outcomes, now serve compliance more so than those doing the work.
If our profession is to continue to add value to our people and our businesses, we must challenge ourselves and approach HSE differently.
I want to empower our people to make good choices and proactively seek to understand and minimise risk. As such, mine is a role of creating an environment in which people evolve in their thinking and feel supported to make informed decisions.
We have come to understand that for real change to be realised, HSE must shift away from centralised control to an operationalised approach. Put simply, our role is not to prescribe every part of work; instead, we must empower, resource and increase the capacity of our frontline to successfully complete their work within mutually agreed and realistic parameters.
We are fortunate at Frasers Property that our people view HSE as an outcome of successful work. Our job is to continue to foster and mature this approach. Integral to this will be our HSE team. The effectiveness of our team will be based on our ability to collaborate, support, influence and advise. Like any service, for us to be successful, we must understand the wants and needs of our people and meet expectations.
In 2018, we are looking closely at our approach. We are concentrating on areas that we believe will have the greatest positive impact on the way our people perceive and interact with HSE.
When delivering on these key areas, we will stay true to three principles:
• We will start with the requirements of our end users;
• we will make it as simple as possible; and
• we will appreciate our compliance requirements, and ensure we achieve these practically.
At the end of 2018, I want us to look back and proudly say that we have:
• Improved our capacity to manage the critical risks that are innate to our operations;
• provided better opportunities for genuine engagement and collaboration with our people; and
• focused on learning as the primary driver for continual improvement in the way we deliver our work.
We operate in complex and dynamic environments. Effective HSE will be seeing how we have improved our people’s capacity to manage risk themselves. We need to be bold enough to encourage empowerment of our people and, as much as possible, partner with them to provide a framework that enables this.
That is how we will improve the way we work and bring about positive and lasting change.
National Health, Safety and Environment Manager
Frasers Property Australia