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The Road Between Reality and Philosophy (aka HSE Success within an Engineering Organization)

  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Spring Meeting and Global Congress on Process Safety
  • Presentation Date:
    April 28, 2015
  • Duration:
    30 minutes
  • Skill Level:
  • PDHs:

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Compared to the days when the industrial revolution started, safety as a discipline has come a long way.  The advancements in the civilization and technology - including the concepts of democracy, law enforcement, freedom of expression, and more recently the internet based social media have taught us what we know today – regarding how to value human life, dignity, and the common good for a society. We humans use the never ending process of introspection, conversation, and continuous improvement to raise the bar constantly.  Today, we all accept that no one needs to get hurt at work; and we have enough knowledge, skills and abilities to prevent injuries at the workplace.  But then, injuries and accidents continue to occur.  What’s wrong with this picture? Is an injury free workplace as hard to realize as the world peace? I don’t think so.  A long time ago, I had this epiphany that men would naturally turn into philosophers when they cross the age 50.  Also, I had a spontaneous thought few years ago, during the celebration of the 50thbirthday of one of my supervisors, that age 50 is a landmark, with some more significance.  It is (approximately) the time when the person’s need for the world (which decreases as one gets older) becomes less than the world’s need for that person (which increases as one gets older, assuming that most people get wiser as they grow older, and the world needs their knowledge!). This transformation helps one become more secure with increased level of confidence in one’s own knowledge. Also, our ability to articulate the definition of the problems and their potential solutions gets better with time.  Having spent 37 years in a Chemical Engineering career (and over 50), I now see myself as a philosopher, and feel happy to share what I know.  The purpose of this paper is to share my philosophy of Health Safety and Environmental (HSE) success (a.k.a., an injury free workplace) within an Engineering Organization executing hydrocarbon processing projects (my area of experience – I have no plans to address anything beyond that!), as we know today, and what it can be (or should be). 

The Philosophy of HSE Success is discussed addressing What does HSE do?; Corporate HSE & HSE in Design; HSE & Process Safety; Construction HSE; HSE in Programs with MSAs; When do we need a full-time HSE Manager in a Project?; How should we estimate requirements for HSE Resources?; Limitations of CTRs; What HSE Activities are not billable to a Project? What matters most & the importance of HSE competence; HSE Culture and Group Integrity; The sweet spot of success in HSE (OneWay to Zero Harm becoming a reality). 

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