HSEQ Success comes from Within

HSEQ SUCCESS COMES FROM WITHIN In a new column, Arend van Campen, manager at Tank Terminal Training, examines the current focus on HSEQ and compliance

This article is published in the June 2018 edition of Tank Storage Magazine
When I started my career in the storage and tanker transport world
40 years ago, I worked on a tanker barge in the Netherlands and
sailed the Rhine all the way to Basel, Switzerland.
We were transporting carcinogen cargoes such as benzene, but also
heavy fuel oil or petrol. I remember that in the summer, we worked on
deck in just our shorts and walked on flip-flops. I also recall that our chief
mate used toluene to clean our fuel oil stained coveralls with a broom, laid
out flat on deck.
After they were cleaned, we wore them again without any awareness
or information that the toxic fumes could harm us. As a 16-year-old boy,
I was given a bucket and a paint brush and told to open one of the tank
hatches and fill the bucket with benzene directly from the cargo tank.
After that, the mate ordered me to degrease the bollards with this hazardous
chemical because it worked wonders as a solvent. Once, a barge
captain threw a burning cigarette stub into an open cargo tank filled with
fuel oil during bunkering operations of a sea-going vessel. He laughed and
said to me: ‘Look Arend, nothing can happen, it won’t ignite.’ Those were
the days!
Today, I observe that health, safety and environment (HSE) have
become top priorities but why? Thousands of studies, articles, video’s,
training modules, conferences, safety fairs, or PPE’s have been produced
to protect people, assets and the environment. From virtually non-existence
or non-awareness of HSE we now observe that the tank storage and
tank transport industries are flooded by a myriad of rules and regulations
that are enforced through corporate and governmental compliance.
In 2013, I wrote a book on HSE & CSR called: ‘Safety of Ethics’ in
which I ask a simple question: ‘What is the true intention of HSE?’ I
wrote this conclusion on the back cover: ‘Enforcement of HSE rules when
not based on true and right intentions (to protect life and the environment),
but with the ulterior motivation of saving money by protecting
vested interests, is counterproductive. The true intent of HSE should be
to protect life: human and non-human.’ I tried to answer these three
questions based on several incident case studies:
1. Are HSE and CSR policies first priority? Answer found; no.
2. Are companies prioritising liability limitation by extreme HSE standards?
Answer found; yes.
3. Do companies sometimes mistake doing business legally with doing
business ethically? Answer found; yes
Research shows and confirms that what currently seems to be the way
to control and prevent ‘risks’ in HSE is being enforced from the ‘outside’.
The tendency to focus on compliance through standardisation, rules and
regulations, which are becoming stricter each day, is almost suffocating
normal practical and logical ‘human’ achievement. This is known as
‘impairing functionality’, meaning ‘losing strength’. Immanuel Kant wrote
about this in 1788, which was written long before I started sailing:
‘Rules and regulations would simply result in hypocrisy, and that
the law (re: rules or regulations) would be hated or at least despised.
The law would only be followed for the sake of one’s own advantage.
Legality would be found in the letter of actions, but not in the spirit of
minds, without troubling oneself with motives for doing it.’
What to do with the many books and papers on HSE, guidelines,
regulations, which only seem to increase complexity? Who has read the
thousands of publications, possibly contradicting each other, now filling
a HSE and compliance manager’s office? Who has the time?
To prove the validity of two principles: ‘the right intention and morality
before legality’ we researched and use ‘new’ so called ‘non-linear’ sciences
which are adding value to the limited empirical or reductionist way of scientific
analysis on which our current HSE/CSR regulations are based.
They are listed here:
Noetic science confirms to man that the human mind is a powerful tool
to steer reality, because he is a part of it. The power of intention, choice
and motivation is real. Awareness that this reality exists, would assist
decision makers to make them cautiously. This would mean that business
leaders or corporations should be careful of what their real intentions
are. Ulterior motivation can be understood as an impure intention.
The power of pure intention has to be considered as one of the factors
upon which a sustainable decision should be made. (Dean Radin)
Systems science: confirms Noetic Science – everything is connected,
interrelated and interdependent (the observer effect = consciousness).
Impact on objective reality by subjective (your) thoughts and actions.
We are not ‘outsiders’ looking in. Sustained life or living systems are
emergent properties or in other words the resulting qualitative improvement
of a combined interdependence and cooperation of all information
carriers. (Fritjof Capra, Pier Luigi Luisi, Arend van Campen)
Deontology: The science of duty or obligation. The knowledge what
is right and proper. Current HSE risk management systems are often
based on the opposite of deontology which is consequentialism. HSE is
a moral obligation first. Rules become guidelines.
Relativity theory: Eliminated the Newtonian Illusion of absolutes. (Albert
Quantum mechanics: Eliminated the dream of a controllable measurement
process. Mechanistic or deterministic thought had been playing tricks to the human mind. It gave people the illusion that they were
objective and in control (looking in from the outside), but subjectivity
(the observer effect) is confirmed by quantum mechanics and quantum
consciousness. (John Hagelin, Amit Goswami)
Chaos theory: Eliminates the fantasy of deterministic predictability, but
found that order from chaos is a natural phenomenon. (James Gleick)
Butterfly effect: Had to be included in science to understand chaos
and complexity theory as unpredictability (non-linear effects). (Edward
Theory of cognition: Life is autopoietic, which means that it creates,
maintains and sustains itself through communication (cognition) with
the environment. (Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela)
Cybernetics: Science of effective organisation. Learning and information
enables control and steering of energy and matter of organisations
(viable systems modelling) by the human mind and his actions. (Norbert
Wiener, Stafford Beer)
Law of requisite variety: ‘The variety of a regulator has to match the
variety generated by the system which has to be regulated.’ Variety is
about the capabilities of a system to regulate itself (by as much information,
knowledge, tools, and capabilities as possible).’ Organisations
that apply this law can build an adaptive HSE system, which is based
on maximum information – all of it – and is able to learn and adapt
constantly. Current HSE publications such as ISGOTT or PGS 29 are
non-adaptive HSE systems because they usually are updated after a
certain time has passed and/or new risks are experienced, which may
be years later. An effective HSE system needs to be able to absorb
changes (variety). (Ross Ashby)
When we understand organisations, such as storage terminals and refineries,
as autopoietic (self -maintaining), living, social systems of communication,
we intuitively understand that incidents and accidents can be
prevented by learning; sharing positive – and negative feedback (all information).
HSE risks can be ‘governed’ by information. (Niklas Luhmann)
This goes way beyond compliance and regulations from the outside,
which are usually too late and are often implemented only after something
bad has happened.
Tank Terminal Training works with information feedback loops to
create syntheses (observing and measurement of all interdependent
relationships – all stakeholders) and use the results to draw maps.
These so-called feedback loops maps directly show and predict HSE or
CSR risks before they could become incidents or accidents.
Rather than enforced compliance demanded from the outside in mechanistic
(outdated) fashion, we found scientific proof and created tools to
build enough variety and HSE resilience within organisations by using
information as energy to influence matter (assets, relationships and
people: human factors). No matter how many rules or regulations are
enforced from the outside, they will never produce morality of character
(Immanuel Kant). HSE has to come from within us, by the right intention.
It is an innate feature which allows us to survive.
HSE risks are controllable and governable by Information but need to
be managed within boundaries of functionality. (‘Realimiteit’ or within
limits of reality). This steering or control capacity needs to come from
within us, people, and cannot succeed by regulations alone.
We train organisations to understand the science behind this method
and how to use the tool as an alarm system.
This is done in two phases:
1. Operational observation, understanding and drawing all ‘feedback
2. Building ‘requisite variety’ in a HSE/CSR system.


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