Sometimes, the best way for EHS & Sustainability professionals to continually advance, build and promote safety and sustainability in their own operations is to start a conversation with other thought leaders in the industry. The National Association for Environmental Managers (NAEM) is an association that provides business leaders with the resources needed to achieve EHS & Sustainability success. NAEM held its annual EHS & Sustainability Forum last month, the largest gathering of EHS & Sustainability professionals showcasing the latest strategies in employee safety, environmental management, business compliance and sustainability. As regular attendee and sponsor of the Forum over the last few years, Gensuite joined over 550 attendees in Denver, Colorado to learn, share and grow with top companies from diverse industries. We were represented by Natasha Porter, EVP and Customer Development Office; Donavan Hornsby, VP & BD Executive; Mansa Manjunath, Leader, Subscriber Development; and me, R Mukund, Founder & CEO of Gensuite. Here were our key takeaways from this year’s NAEM Forum.
Facing Contractor Safety Challenges
As there continues to be a big push for companies to use contractors for specialized projects, it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage the safety of contracted employees, often working in the same facilities and conditions as company employees. The challenge in managing contracted employees is that they come from different programs, involving different training. In order to maintain a safe work environment for both contracted and company employees, and ensure that these projects are completed efficiently, it is important for safety managers to set clear performance expectations with contractors. Other solutions discussed during the Forum were making smart and informed decisions when selecting a contractor, identifying hazards that contracted employees and company employees may come into contact with throughout the duration of projects and conducting performance audits to monitor that contractors are following through on safety procedures. We were gratified to observe that these principles mesh well with the best practice process framework and functionality embedded in the Gensuite contractor management application, which streamlines and digitizes the tracking, investigating and improving of a contracted employee’s safety.
Reinventing Heinrich’s Triangle
Accidents happen. But what if we were more strategic about preventing them from happening? This concept was first discussed in a book called, “Industrial Accident Prevention” by a man named H.W. Heinrich in 1931, a pyramid system that explained accident causation in the workplace. For decades, safety managers have based companies’ injury and incident prevention programs on this system. Though, as the rate of serious injury continues to remain the same, experts can’t help but note that Heinrich’s model is a dated system. One popular discussion during the NAEM Forum was the opportunity to create a new model to follow, forcing EHS & Sustainability leaders to rethink their understanding of accidents and reinvent a new strategy to lower accident statistics in the future. And, while a major breakthrough hasn’t been discovered (yet), this widespread realization has clearly opened the doors for collaboration and forward-thinking to develop a strategy for the future.
Risk Management Approaches to Safety Performance Improvements
Going hand in hand with accident prevention are safety performance improvements. It is important for companies to continually improve upon safety programs in order to prevent serious accidents from happening. While current trends show that general workplace injuries are in decline, the number of serious injuries has plateaued. One discussion during the NAEM Forum was the need to increase safety performance improvements to reduce the number of serious injuries occurring at work. We attended a session on this topic, “Risk Management Approaches to Safety Performance Improvements,” where industry leaders shared how their organizations prioritize risk and study organizational performance to prevent serious injuries from occurring. One solution to improve safety programs is implementing safety procedure software into business operations, allowing leaders to assess risks, develop safety procedures and manage safety programs.
As always, for us, this year’s Forum was also an opportunity to re-connect with our users, champions and long-time friends and associates; to meet new EH&S professionals from around the world; and to learn more about our industry. Gensuite is proud to sponsor the NAEM Forum, an event that we will continue to champion for sharing ideas developed within the Gensuite subscribers’ community and for discovering new ways to evolve our products and services to meet both current and future EH&S & Sustainability needs.