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What is the first step for any EHS manager in a new role and new company?

From the LinkedIn group EHS Professionals comes this most basic question, with a number of diverse answers…

Introduce yourself to each department manager and ask them to give you a tour of their department, including everything they do that is HSE-related.

Conduct a gap analysis

I would conduct a five to seven year incident analysis and potentially an EHS perception survey to evaluate where the current program is.

Introduce yourself to each director and ask them “what they expect from you in your role as EHS manager and what do they consider being the greatest risk within their span of control”

If you get the answer “keep us safe” or similar you know you have your work cut out. And if they are unsure about their greatest risk then you may have an opportunity to educate them.

Sorry, should have said that was the second job, the first job is to acquaint yourself with the security team and the cleaners, they are the best source of information as to exactly what goes on day and night within the business

It sounds to me that most of them are saying “Get out on the floor, introduce yourself, take notes and ask questions. That’s what I do when I start with a new company. I also review the OSHA log and all the environmental reports verifying they’re doing them all. Also ask what can you do to help them do their jobs safely. The one running and working on the machine knows it better than his or her boss, so don’t limit your conversations to just supervisors and managers.
Good luck

Gap analysis,sure…said another way…..capture the “is-state” (what the situation, systems, processes are “now”)….and have a view of the “to-be” wished-for state. Folding in gap analysis will soon make it clear what bias or hierarchy you need to follow (biggest bang for the buck first, etc…..)

If you are new to the job and the company, after introducing yourself to staff surely you would want to acquaint yourself with the company policies and procedures. After all you are there to advise your employer of EHS matters. Then you can move on to what processes and see what each department does.

Read and understand the company EHS policy, Procedures and start implementing as a team member.

First of all you have to check whether your new company is interested to implement safety practically on site or they need the safety to be documented only in files.

Policies & Procedures are already in place but being a manager you have to ensure that all of this is being implemented. If company is not interested in that then there is no meaning of to go through these policies & procedures

Sit down with the head of your administrative section even if that is only one person. Ask her/him what they think is going on. Armed with that knowledge, after meeting with your new boss, arrange to meet with every department manager you have some type of EHS oversight. Let them know you are interested in their department, the safety of their people and facilities, and you are there to help. Then listen to what they have to say. You will soon know who is blowing smoke at you and who truly believes in your value to their department and the company. Once that has been achieved, check your records. If any exist, see if you can ID any problem areas. Then hit the employees with a visit. Ask questions. LISTEN! These people down in the trenches have a lot to say and much, if not most of it, will be genuine concerns. If it matches what your records indicate and ties in with what your department managers say, you will have a good idea of where to start. If it doesn’t you need to dig around and find out why.

Depending upon the size of the organization, get to know everyone and their concerns. If that’s not practical than target certain individuals, at all levels, where problems have been identified using their input and what you learn from analysis. Their participation and trust will get you a long way.

After joining with the company get introduced with all the team members, read and understand the policy, procedures, find out how the management gives you the support for safety and if you don’t get support or encouragement you have to set a goal to make the management to understand the importance of EHS including the team member and all the key personnel. Start out a with  a goal to implement the procedures to ensure that the work is going on with safety awareness and safety environment and ensure that work is going on safely without any incidents and accidents.

I would suggest: listen, observe, learn, gap analysis, take stock in the cultural language, build relationships and ask good open questions.

Start by reviewing all the incidents records of the company, study the culture and behavioral attitude of the people in the new company, review the EHS management system as well the process production/construction activities and start safety program.

In addition, if you haven’t done so already, I would first check with your boss to determine if there are any hot items, works in progress, expectations, priorities, and timelines. He/she may not value the same things you think are important. After your quick gap analysis (review compliance history, site tours, employee input), you may need to revisit the expectation list to discuss adding missing items or re-prioritizing and negotiating timelines. Make a plan and be sure your boss is on-board and supports it.

I agree that Gap Analysis is a good step. I like it as the “second” step though. My First Step is / would be to get a “Letter” from the Top Management (President, or similar) that delivers The Message: “I give my full support to Safety / EHS Person, and I expect you to do so also.” (Use language to make it fit your specific situation.) Then distribute that to all workers.

Having started a new EHS position a few weeks ago. I have asked for such a letter/statement etc. but so far -nothing from the owner/managers. As such I am contending with resistance at all levels, making day-to-day accomplishments VERY difficult. So yes indeed before starting to do assessments or anything else, GET a letter of support!!!

It is imperative that top CEO level of management give full support….”walk-the-walk, not just talk-the-talk”. Warning…. if there is upfront resistance from the CEO level, there will be trouble brewing as the corporate “culture” will not be correct ( ie, is “duplicitous”) for you to be effective. This is exactly the same thing as for any quality initiative, or project-management work process to be successful…the need to have uniformity of purpose top/bottom and sideways in an organization.

A high level response that shows resistance is an indicator that other motives (solely profit motive…others?) are drivers…and that safety will be supported only openly but not be a privately-held conviction as to purpose.

The sad truth is that a ( continue reading . . . )

Source: ISHN

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