“Workplace fatalities and injuries” are the elementary challenges, HSE managers have to face while managing occupational health and safety.
About one million people get hurt at work daily, affecting economically, physically, and socially. Nearly 3 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases while about 400 million workers suffer from non-fatal workplace incidents. Poor workplace health and safety environment is responsible for many of these miseries.
Common Challenges, HSE Managers Come Across
#1: Workplace Incidents and Hazards
Failure to detect risk of hazards and near misses following accidents is the major challenge in industrial HSE management. Through investigation and the root cause analysis of an incident should be carried out to make sure an incident doesn’t get repeated.
#2: Proactive Risk Assessment
One of the major challenges faced by HSE managers while tackling industry safety is not being able to be proactive on risk assessment on a daily basis at a job level, process level, and at the task level.
#3: Frequent realignment of Safety Laws and Regulations
Safety laws and regulations are often complicated and they keep amending to create modify industrial safety. It might get confusing and tiring to understand and keep pace with all the safety laws and regulations.
#4: Workforce Training
Companies are worried that if they spend money on training, and if the employees leave, then their investment would go waste. They don’t realize that by not providing training, they are actually increasing potential risk of hazards.
#5: Regular Safety and Operational Audits
It is challenging, that having and maintaining a pertinent audit list for every operation in the organization. Secondly, most businesses aren’t preferring safety on cost. They avoid spending their supposed to be more valuable capital on safety audits.
#6: Mutual Communication Between Roles
Another challenge, HSE managers have to face while administering teams is to develop effective communication. Safety is the responsibility of each member in an organization. As every person has a different personality, there is a chance for miscommunication from time to time
Communication gaps in an organization can have an extremely devastating impact on your organization’s health, safety, and environment management operations.
#7: Task Management
Usually, managers are under pressure to achieve perfect performance of their role. Assigning and taking follow-ups, safety assessments, or investigations among employees or superiors proved to be challenging.
Apart from that, having a system in place, summarizing reports, status and progress of complete and incomplete tasks, deadlines of the tasks, etc. are also challenging responsibilities of an efficient HSE management.
#8: Trusting In A Safe Work Culture
Any organization can only be 100 percent safe when their workforce believes in safety culture and that safety is everyone’s responsibility. In weak culture, there is a greater need for procedures, policies, and bureaucracy, in order to get things done in the desired way.
#9: Volatile Mind-sets of Employees
Pervasive changing mind-sets are always difficult to handle.
Some of the pervasive preconceptions that affect safety procedures are:
Hesitation in accepting: changes, use of new tech, fear of blame, disempowerment, preferring productivity over safety, fear of injuries / fatality, and complacency.
#10: Insufficient Workforce
To reduce production cost and as the hiring process is time-consuming, most of the employers hesitate to appoint required amount of workforce.
Managers must recognize when it’s time to hire more employees to fulfil responsibilities within their department. They should get assistance from other managers and human resources professionals for appointing a new candidate.
#11: Inadequate Support
Sometimes, the executive team of a company or the business owner takes a long to approve requirements for a project. It may slow down the overall progress of the project. In such conditions, HSE managers have to arrange for one-on-one conversation with the decision-makers to accelerate the process.
#12: Skepticism / Distrust
When employees feel that they are ignore of the full process of safety or not a part of the plan, their degree of trust becomes compromise. Sometimes, certain employees feel like they are doing more work than others. They feel distanced and often question the transparency of management.
#13: Weak Organizational Culture
A weak organizational culture is one in which employees have varied opinions and are not clear with what their goals, mission and values are! Employees waste time spinning their wheels, to focus on what’s important.
They could experience a decrease in motivation.
Tips To Steer The Challenges HSE Managers Have To Face
#1: It is best to use an all-inclusive HSE management system from the very beginning. This system should include all the elements like, spread sheets and single purpose software tools for managing health and safety of your organization.
#2: Choose an HSE management system that’s cloud-based and helps you manage all your safety inspections/tasks, incident reporting, training, and storage of safety documentation in a single place.
#3: Keep updating your systems with changing safety rules and regulations. For this purpose you can take assistance with company’s legal advisors.
#4: You can leverage an HSE management system to overcome your industrial safety challenges by managing safety inspections/tasks, incident reporting, training, and storage of safety documentation in a single place. . Also, activities like tracking and investigating incidents, accessing risks, and reviewing safety tasks should be performed seamlessly without much back and forth in the processes.
#5: Traditional ways of auditing are repetitive and may not focus on critical risks in specific operations. Find a better advanced way to conduct audits.
#6: Remind your supervisors to communicate safety instructions to your employees every day. To get to know each other better, focus on relationship building within your team.
#7: If you feel stressed about your project status, take time to review the purpose why you were hired for the job. While planning your policy of action, you will likely face unexpected situations. The way that you choose to resolve them and react to challenges reflects your ability to lead.
#8: In implementing a strong safety culture and involving their workforce at every stage of the process is HSE managers must demonstrate their commitment towards safety through their day-to-day activities.
#9: Rewarding safe behaviors, developing soft skills, and encouraging every employee to take responsibility of their own safety are the factors that could change employee mind-sets.
#10: If needed, ask HR or other managers for help while creating a job description, interviewing applicants and selecting the right person for the best fit for your team in the desired role.
#11: To be honest with your team members. Let them know that you are waiting to share information from the executive team, and if possible, allow them to work on other projects. Teams that feel they are part of a larger group, experience more confidence and trust.
#12: To build trust between an employee and manager and resolve skepticism clear communication and honest interactions always works. Clearly explain why you assigned them the task and how it contributes to the overall wellbeing.
#13: Strong cultures help companies with outstanding execution and enhance performance. Rewarding employee who exceed expectations and expressing concern about safety of your workforce increase their faith in the management.
If you’re in a confusion or not sure of what to do next, consider second opinion from an HR professional or your seniors in the company. Their training supports conflict resolution and other aspects of the conundrum.
Even the slightest leniency from an HSE Manager, in facing out these challenges, affects not only workforces’ wellbeing but also affect your overall business efficiency and jeopardizes vendor relationships and customer satisfaction.
the best way to ensure smooth-sailing safety and business operations while practicing industrial safety and complying with regulatory standards, you should keep a keen eye on all the challenges that you are yet to overcome!