Web/Tech in Corporate Regulation

Re-thinking your approach to HSE compliance

Part of the HSE management – Comply, improve, excel series

Blog 2

Some organisations have invested considerable resources in developing a granular, global, picture of their businesses’ Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) legal compliance. Indeed, there are a number of niche service providers of this regulatory content, others have made little or no effort to formally recognise the detailed obligations placed on their businesses.

The fact that approaches can differ so considerably, suggests that the very detailed and potentially costly approach, isn’t universally effective or required – if it were, surely all organisation’s would be doing it by now?

There are several stages in developing a robust legal compliance framework; from identifying all applicable obligations, to translating those into meaningful business requirements, before evaluating current compliance levels and taking any action to address identified ‘gaps’.

It’s only this last action to address gaps, that has any real bearing on risk level – and in practice, many of those ‘gap closing’ activities may simply be about tick-box compliance, rather than addressing real risk – which if significant, would likely have been revealed elsewhere, already.

"In practice, creating a granular register for legal compliance will do little to exercise this duty [to manage risk]"

Those who’ve taken a detailed approach may look over the fence with frustration, wondering how their less well-structured peers are surviving without a detailed and granular process in place. We have seen a few factors in play:

  • Practically all organisations have access to suitably competent HSE resource. This resource can guide the business toward good practice informed by vocational qualifications and prior experience;
  • In a world where it’s increasingly common to experience more than one employer during your working life, new hires bring with them experience, including HSE knowledge, gained from other organisations and may help to spot any obvious gaps. We average six employers in a lifetime, according to Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT); and
  • At the heart of HSE, particularly in the UK, organisations are legally obligated to ‘manage risk’. Such a duty has no clear endpoint, and in practice, creating a granular register for legal compliance will do little to exercise this duty. Therefore, regardless of the chosen approach to legal compliance, all organisations are primarily engaged in a pursuit to ‘manage risk’ which may be unique to their operations.

"Whilst there’s no clear answer, there absolutely is a case for all organisations to take stock of their approach to legal compliance"

Of course there is more to the story; ISO standards for HSE imply a need to document relevant legal requirements, many of the fundamental duties placed on business are common across multiple jurisdictions and so are familiar to most, and in some cases, organisation’s develop their own ‘ruleset’ which is seen to supersede specific local legal requirements; instead taking the most stringent local requirements and applying them globally.

Whilst there’s no clear answer, there absolutely is a case for all organisations to take stock of their approach to legal compliance, to understand where they sit between the coordinates of a granular register and ‘not knowing’, before asking whether they are where they need to be.

The place businesses ‘need to be’, invariably, is the place that enables them to best manage the risk of harm, with the finite resources available – a complex legal compliance programme may therefore be counter-productive for some.

Determining where you are, and should be

Answering some headline questions could be useful in framing the conversation for your organisation:

  • How diverse are your operations, both geographically and in the activities you perform, are you at increased risk of encountering unusual internal practices, or external requirements?
  • What degree of assurance is comfortable to your organisation compared to the effort to maintain that assurance, is ‘clause level’ confirmation of compliance essential?
  • Is your organisation managing risk well, thereby reducing the chance that a technical compliance issue could result in harm and therefore trigger regulatory action?
  • Is your organisation connected well within the industry, exposing you to good practice and learning opportunities between peers?

Complexity and strong performance are not inherently linked, and that’s almost certainly the case when managing HSE risks. There should be clear line of sight between any investment of effort, and a proportionate benefit to the organisation. Putting a scale to the benefit you expect to realise from investing in a HSE regulatory compliance programme should be core to determining type of approach will best fit your organisation.

Coming next: Bring some science to your HSE strategy

 

For any further information, please contact:

Callum Irvine

Director | Deloitte LLP

+44 20 7303 6277

cirvine@deloitte.co.uk

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Posted on 23/07/2019 | 0 Comments

Switch on a smarter approach to HSE

Part of the HSE management – Comply, improve, excel series

Hse

Many organisations continue to face challenges executing effective Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) programmes, despite the widespread availability of digital systems intended to bring structured, user friendly and robust replacements for error prone ‘pen and paper’ approaches.

"Few organisations have explored the potential impact of today’s more innovative technologies on HSE"

There is a strong case for reinvention of the way businesses achieve HSE outcomes. Many incumbent digital solutions were born in a time when the ambition was to replicate paper forms in digital format. Since this period of earlier adoption, the world around us has since progressed at an astonishing rate. Few organisations have explored the potential impact of today’s more innovative technologies on HSE – where a wholesale redesign is possible, rather than a simple ‘digitisation’ exercise (think of the leap to automated passenger recognition via CCTV rather than simply having a ‘digital boarding pass’ on your phone).

There are a number of clear examples where application of the right technology could free up time burned completing ‘HSE processes’, redistributing that effort to focus on managing an organisation’s most pressing HSE risks.

"A need for documentary, rather than documented evidence"

The recent publication of ISO 45001, the first globally recognised standard for health and safety management (replacing BS EN OHSAS 18001), brought a subtle but key change;– a need for documentary, rather than documented evidence – paving the way for organisations to demonstrate compliance beyond the constraints of the written word; video, photographs and audio will be pervasive forms of communication in the HSE management system of tomorrow.

Technology products that leverage ‘non-written’ media will be front and centre of the paradigm shift in HSE management. Solutions that are within our reach today include:

  • Integration of multiple data systems to automate previously cumbersome efforts to collate incident investigation information; such as CCTV footage, training history, operational data, and past relevant incidents.
  • The use of video analytics to automate observation based auditing (such as behavioural based safety audits). Managers will be able to measure compliance levels ‘round the clock’ in place of the snapshot previously provided by a single auditor. Real time results enable managers to measure the impact of their instructions; i.e. "did my start-of shift safety briefing help reduce the number of non-compliant actions compared to yesterday?"
  • Location tagged photos to report hazards and trigger notification to managers who enter a defined ‘geofence’; i.e., walking within ‘X metres’ of the reported hazard, allowing prompt action – reducing the reliance on computer access to ‘search’ for issues.

Making use of available technology to achieve HSE outcomes can help bridge the long-standing gap between business expectations and employee engagement levels on the topic; bringing simplification to users, reduce processing time and help make the outputs more impactful.

Are you ready for change?

Consider:

  • Where have you already used technology in your HSE arrangements, and are those systems in good health (being used pervasively, and producing good quality data)? If you use multiple systems, is there a "single truth" dataset used by all?
  • Do those systems meet the needs of the operators; presenting information when and where it’s needed, in a format that’s easy to interact with?
  • Where you have deployed digital systems, does this positively support employee engagement across all levels, or does the use of technology exclude the engagement of ‘non-computer-based’ colleagues?

Confidence to succeed responsibly

Many of the most impactful opportunities facing businesses today require vision and confidence as they largely don’t exist as ‘off the shelf’ solutions. Technology is advancing rapidly and digitising processes in a business saves time and resources which can be allocated elsewhere in your business. In our current world, where HSE is an ever increasing importance for companies, technology can reduce the likelihood of incidents and in turn increase productivity and general morale for the company.

Coming next: Re-thinking your approach to HSE compliance

 

For any further information, please contact:

Callum Irvine

Director | Deloitte LLP

+44 20 7303 6277

cirvine@deloitte.co.uk

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Posted on 16/07/2019 | 0 Comments

Regulation 2018: Focus on electronic communications

Outlook Jan 2018

As electronic communication becomes ever faster and ever easier, and the EU ramps up its Digital Single Market Strategy, 2018 will see a steady stream of regulatory change for Telcos and online services providers beyond the GDPR. Key themes include security, consumer protection and competition management.

We’ve pulled together the headlines on EU and UK developments, as a brief overview of what’s coming up. If you want to know more, please click through here for our background document, including a timeline.  

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Posted on 16/01/2018 | 0 Comments