Leadership Personified: Frank E. Bird, Jr.

Leadership Personified: Frank E. Bird, Jr. (1921 – 2007) – A sustainability leader before the word was even invented.

The story of Frank E. Bird, Jr. can be solidly placed in the sustainability family tree. Genealogically speaking, Frank’s branch originated along the safety root. (Although I used most of this for our CISL e-Leadership module, I also want to get this out there to a broader audience… ENJOY!)

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Frank E. Bird, Jr. was born in New Jersey, America, in 1921. He graduated from Albright College in Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s Degree in history and science. During World War II, Frank enlisted in the US Navy, and served from 1942 to 1946 as a medic. Frank’s character and early leadership qualities were demonstrated by one of the stories from his time at sea. Frank was involved in the battle for Iwo Jima in 1945, one of the fiercest battles of WW II. He was aboard a vessel taking Marines to Iwo Jima on pontoon boats when a young Marine got his leg caught between two pontoons. Frank went overboard and, finding that the Marine’s leg could not be extricated, he amputated the crushed leg and fashioned a temporary tourniquet. Under fire, he carried the Marine to shore and saved his life.

After the war, Frank wanted to train as a doctor but had to support his family, so in 1951 he went to work at Lukens Steel in Pennsylvania. During this time, Lukens was the largest independent steel company in America, with nearly 5,000 employees. Starting as an operator working the open-hearth furnaces to produce steel from iron ore, he soon was asked to become a safety trainee, rapidly rising to become Lukens’ Director of Safety and Security.

While at Lukens, he implemented leading-edge operational safety practices / activities for all levels of management and regular employees / operators. He led research studies and implemented new concepts for safety, security, and thus, he is the person most associated with the term ‘loss control’ when applied to a health, safety, and environmental management context. His practical background and innovative mind enabled him to integrate and lead the operational concerns and practices of productivity, quality, and costs into traditional safety techniques. Frank also reduced the complexity of the Luken’s safety programs by focusing greater attention on the higher-risk aspects of the work. At Lukens, Frank headed a 7-year research study of the causation of 90,000 incidents.

In July, 1968, Frank became Director of Engineering Services for the Insurance Company of North America where he headed a research study into 1.75m industrial accidents. The study and its data, published in 1969, resulted in the famous Bird Pyramid / Accident Ratio Study showing that for every one claim of a serious or major accident, there were claims for 10 minor injuries, claims for 30 property damage accidents, and with a sophisticated interviewing technique, ‘Incident Recall,’ developed by Frank himself, there were 600 near-misses / no-loss events sharing the same / similar chains of causation.

In 1970, Frank established the International Safety Academy where he selected and developed a staff of safety professionals to ‘spread the word.’ In 1974, Frank founded the International Loss Control Institute (ILCI), initially associated with Georgia State University’s School of Insurance and Risk Management, eventually taking it private, and built up a business with more than 200 safety professionals helping companies implement safety programs globally. In 1991, Frank sold his business to DNV (now DNV GL) in order that his work could carry on and reach a still wider audience.

As such, Frank E. Bird, Jr. was a true pioneer in the safety profession and his work has made a huge contribution to industrial safety globally. The lives saved, the injuries prevented, the property and asset damage avoided, and the environmental incidents not occurring around the world due to his work are immeasurable. When talking ‘sustainability,’ these core issues go right to the heart of the matter – people (social / family / community aspects) and of course, environmental. This being said, none of this could have evolved as it did without Frank’s considerable leadership skills, sales / marketing skills, large doses of charisma, generosity, and love of his fellow man.

Frank E. Bird, Jr. has always been an inspirational figure to those that have known him, to me personally, for I was given my initial training by him for over three months when initially hired by DNV. It was learning, thinking, discussing, and reading about Frank Bird’s contributions to the field – the 1969 Accident Ration Study, his expansion and improvements to Heinrich’s Loss Causation Model, his associating – for the first time ever – the notion that property damage as not only being a maintenance problem, but also a safety problem, that inspired me to undertake and stick with my career in HSE management / HSE management systems. His knowledge, experience, and profound understanding that losses / accidents don’t just happen but are caused by inadequate management systems, is still a revolutionary insight and has as much power to help organizations today as it did when he developed it over forty years ago. Frank frequently voiced that companies should not do things the ‘safe way,’ but the ‘right way’ (which of course includes the ‘safe way’!) and his concept of operational efficiency through minimizing losses of all types (human, environmental, process shutdowns, quality, security, and financial) was ahead of its time – and all are still in the forefront, or at least part of, the sustainability agenda as we know it today. Not to mention, this is now conventional wisdom among sustainability leader companies.

Frank also believed that leaders are readers. He had a thirst for new knowledge and led innovative research activities to expand the boundaries of safety management knowledge. Related to this, Frank developed the first edition of the International Safety Rating System (ISRS) in 1978 which became known to many as the ‘Safety Bible.’ ISRS has been the basis of many thousands of safety management systems worldwide for over five decades. I have been involved since the 5th edition, and now work with the 7th and 8th editions of ISRS, and am helping to develop the 9th edition, which also formed the basis of my AP, SAP, and is figuring substantially in my CISL dissertation. Gosh, do I feel the weight of responsibility to live up to Frank’s high standards!

In many ways, Frank was larger than life. He was a big man and a big thinker, yet practical and creative. His big heart made him a generous teacher and inspiring mentor. Frank gave more than he took. He sold by giving. His uplifting spirit enabled him to help others see the positive, their potential, their possibilities. One of Frank’s regular themes to leaders was the importance of ‘commitment’ and he once commented: ‘Commitment has been described as the stuff that character is made of. It is the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.’ Frank’s legacy demonstrates his absolute personal commitment to improving the safety and lives of others and is a continuing inspiration, inspiration that I continually look to, but am trying to apply it more widely to all sustainability aspects.

I can add that in relation to my sustainability journey, inspired by Frank in many ways, and related to some of the blogs I have posted over these past months, we are now (finally) approaching the finish line for the release of our / DNV GL’s International Sustainability Rating System (ISRS) – 9th edition!

I am happy to say that my efforts have paid off because we are going to have an expanded ‘Social Responsibility’ aspect (to be named as such) incorporating much of the research I did in my AP, SAP, and Dissertation. Because of this, we will be able to audit / assess, rate, and benchmark an organization’s community development management system and the programs they implement for surrounding communities. So, having felt a bit frustrated with our time management in this multi-DNV GL office / team project, it is finally coming to fruition. A draft protocol will be released in May, with piloting / testing it with some trial assessments at key customer sites shortly thereafter, leading to its release as the ‘ISRS9’ protocol in September of this year. Fingers crossed!!

 

Communications, Promotion, and Badak LNG: Contributing to Sustaining the Business

PART TWO….. The Logic for this Communication and Promotion ‘Project’

Although lightly addressed in the latter part of Part One, it is important to understand the background and the rationale for Badak LNG having decided to implement this activity.

For the first seven or eight years of our work with Badak LNG and assessing their management system, the explicit focus had been on HSE, but from an occupational point of view, with an implicit ‘undercurrent’ covering Process Safety Management or ‘PSM.’  For a major process facility, this should not be allowed to continue for long as the risks that need to be explicitly addressed – process risks – tend to go undercover taking this approach.

So, in 2009-2010 thereabouts, Badak LNG transitioned to DNV GL’s ISRS 8th edition, which had recently been launched as well to the general market, and containing internationally accepted standards for managing process safety.  Thus step one accomplished – PSM was now explicitly on paper so as to be assessed explicitly in the Badak organisation.  For the first two years, such assessments were done as per routine, and the pattern of findings kept emerging that although process safety was documented in various manuals, procedures, work instructions, etc., it wasn’t a focus of leadership communication.  ‘Walk’ and ‘Talk’ were not meeting harmoniously.  This was consistently evidenced in verification interviews whereby when regular line employees were asked questions such as, “what are the top three major hazards on site?,” their responses were typically related to occupational HSE events, yet they were working in a major process facility.

So what?

This pattern of findings was both somewhat alarming and actually a reflection of the existing culture that was still persisting – personnel were well versed in what could injure them individually and send them home occupationally – all the slips, trips, and falls that anybody could encounter any place on the planet.  But they weren’t conversant, and therefore were also not risk competent enough to identify, evaluate, control, and monitor those risks that could devastate the entire facility, as well as potentially devastate surrounding communities.  This is a prime example of a major threat to the business and its sustainability, with major knock-off effects for sustainable development activities for the immediate region.  The result of a major accident to sustainable development is a simple causal chain: major release of LNG occurs, an ignition source meets the LNG, which leads to explosion and devastation of the plant, which leads to loss of business continuity, which subsequently leads to loss of funding for their nationally famous community development programs, ultimately leading to loss of livelihood for thousands in the community.  Period.

Thus for two DNV GL assessment reports (2011 and 2012) these were among the major findings, verbatim:

  1. “’Modern’ thinking about Process Safety Management (PSM), i.e., ‘barrier approaches’ should be more evident across all levels. (Suggestion would be to make next year the ‘Year of PSM,’ to carry on from the current ‘Year of Reliability’ theme).”
  2. “Badak LNG should make a formal decision for their 2013 theme in order to continually sustain and promote a positive process safety culture.  DNV recommends that these guidance questions be addressed:  Is the ‘Year of PSM’ and ‘Year of Reliability’ still fit-for-purpose for 2013?  If so, can these be repeated for year 2013 without personnel losing interest?  Is a new theme for 2013 better instead, perhaps related to PSM, such as Management of Change (MOC) and/or other PSM element(s)?”

Thus, after considering these recommendations, Badak management did indeed approve and initiate a ‘Year of PSM’ communications and promotion campaign organization-wide in 2012, and looking at recommendation #2 above, continued / extended it, but in a more specific way during that year.  The expressed goals in doing these campaigns were as follows:

  1. to supplement other PSM activities with a communications ‘module’ that would support communicatively what other PSM modules aimed to achieve.
  2. to provide an overall, ongoing ‘umbrella’ message communicating the importance of thinking about, learning about, and implementing PSM consciously / explicitly in the organization.
  3. to provide a communications mechanism / driver as part of overall Badak efforts to establish a ‘World Class Safety Culture.’  Without PSM as part of this, it would have been well nigh impossible for Badak to achieve this goal considering that it is one of the world’s largest process facilities handling volatile hydrocarbons.

In the next part, PART THREE, we’ll look at some of the techniques and themes that Badak employed to drive this initiative forward…..

 

Sustainable Production and Consumption: A Tale of Tempe…

tempe
Tempe wrapped in banana leaves
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The tempe undergoing fermentation: you can see the mold starting to do its magic.
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Before “it’s a wrap!”
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Arif’s tempe wrapped in teak leaves

 

Greetings!

Haven’t been here for a while… perhaps because I have been under with dissertation fever!

But now I / we have been tasked with writing a bit about sustainable production and consumption. To be honest, I don’t want to get all ‘researchy and academicky’ but I think one of the most powerful sustainable production and consumption stories is actually a very simple one – under the topic of local food systems, and specifically that of tempe (sometimes spelled ‘tempeh’) production in Java, Indonesia. As I write this, I am actually in West Java, driving to a customer site, and on my left and right are rice fields and soybean fields, the soybean fields being related to this blog’s topic.

Tempe is basically a fermented soybean product, usually made in cake-like or block-shaped form, sliceable like cheese, and used in hundreds of dishes – fried, deep-fried, boiled, sautéed, baked, you name it. It is sold throughout Indonesia, but my point of reference is in central Java. Some perspective first of all: the total population of Java is about 145 million people, crammed onto an island half the size (128,000 square km.) of the American state of Oregon (252,000 square km.)! Of this total population, I am sure 99% of the people eat tempe at least occasionally, and most probably eat it every few days or so. I proudly admit I am one of those 145 million people. Tempe is a key, staple food ingredient, and completely vegetarian, literally feeding the world’s 4th most populated nation.

I have a friend who is a small time farmer in central Java, Arif is his name. Besides farming, he supplements his income with a home tempe production business with his wife. I see this as a simple example of sustainable production and consumption, because the footprint is so minimal. He grows the soybeans, his wife prepares them with a fermentation culture bacillus called ‘ragi’ locally, and after a few days, voila, one has tempe. Packaging is also totally organic – they wrap each tempe ‘cake’ in teak leaves while fermenting, and this imparts a unique flavor – sort of like the terroir concept in winemaking. Normally, tempe is sold wrapped in banana leaves, and when cooked the flavor is different from being wrapped in teak leaves.

Now, this simple process is multiplied hundreds of thousands of times over on a daily basis in Java by families and/or small cottage businesses, and all of Indonesia actually, but the total footprint – soybeans, ‘ragi,’ some water for mixing, is minimal. This is pretty much already scaled as well, so scaled in fact, that it has become part of the culture and behavior of Indonesia / Indonesians. There is no corporate or industrial size involvement here – just simple, clean, inexpensive production that delivers a powerful and tasty protein punch – without the inherent and messy problems of large scale meat production, for example! I know the answers to the problems of sustainability are complex and require systems thinking on the large scale, but often times one comes across a simple scenario that makes a meaningful contribution to sustainability, even though that was never its original intent. There is an elegance to that.

 

 

 

 

 

The broad theme of climate change and the need for a transition to a low (or no) carbon economy.

I must admit that I am no expert in the climate change field, but I can nevertheless give my point of view / insights:

  1. I do feel that this IS the number one issue of our time.  If mankind cannot get this right, all the other numerous efforts we do in the name of sustainability won’t matter.  Climate change, either directly or indirectly will be the cause that screws it all up.  Period.  Really.
  2. My group research project is addressing the following research question: How are companies aligning their corporate strategy and targets with the sustainable development goals?  I take some solace in the fact, that so far, of the companies that we have interviewed the most favoured SDG to address has been #13 – Climate Action.  So, if this is an indicator, it is hopeful.  It seems that many companies realize that prioritized action towards climate change is the main issue as well.  Indeed, many have told us that focusing on climate change is an enabler for other SDGs to be attained as well – good systems thinking going on there!
  3. Organisationally, my company does not leave a large carbon footprint in relation to other industries.  However, we can, we are, and we will continue to improve.  One of our largest issues is flying to work.  It is hard to cut down on this for customers, but internally we can and have increased our teleconferencing activities, and we do a carbon tracker for taking flying business trips, although its consistent usage by employees needs better enforcement ☹.  I think our best efforts are when we do work for customers, providing consultation and solutions for those seeking answers to their climate change problems.  For example, we have conducted a lot of studies, developed standards, and have run projects for carbon capture and storage in and for the oil and gas industry.
  4. I work in Indonesia, and the prominent message I perceive as pervasive in society is that this issue is also important, but Indonesia is in a full-fledged greenwashing state of mind.  Promotions left, right, and centre scream ‘Go green,’ but they seem to be screaming into a void or into a proposition that such screaming sells / markets product.  Disgusting.  Key economic drivers in Indonesian society from both the private or public sector could / should also be making much more significant contributions.  For example, the state oil company, Pertamina, has only taken baby steps to grab this bull by the horns, and fossil fuels is the name of the current game. The state electricity company, PLN, has no programs or strategy for major investments in renewables – wind, solar, tidal, and even geothermal (which is super abundant) is miniscule to date.  Government ministries do nothing to truly alleviate the issue either.  Religiously, every June, July, August the Sumatran and Kalimantan forest are slashed and burned to clear land for palm oil cultivation.  This has gone on ‘religiously’ for as long as I have been here, 30 years now…  Without any strategy or planning by the government to accommodate the alternative energy needs of Indonesians in the foreseeable future, society is being held ransom to having nothing in place when such infrastructure will be desperately needed.

So, I’ve painted a rather depressing picture.  Well, I don’t want to gloss it over – it’s all real.  I can only hope that leaders elsewhere in the world spur others to action; I do not see it happening on the radical scale that it needs to domestically in Indonesia – if Indonesia is to make a meaningful contribution to the planet.  I would appreciate any ideas, suggestions, provocations of thought for this scary picture!

THE SECOND INSTALLMENT: Personal Sustainability Challenge: Community Development Management System Guidance for Business

Ahhhhh, the pleasures, adventures, challenges, and interesting conversations from Workshop Two are now over and exist as wonderful memories as I head on from there….

As we left it, I / we were in the process of preparing to write Community Development guidance for our DNV GL management systems assessment protocol, ISRS (i.e., the International Sustainability Rating System). This second blog is intended to update the progress and my reflections regarding such progress.  Officially, this initiative is treated as a project in the company and so naturally we are all aiming for the perfect trifecta of good project management: on time, on budget, and on spec (specifications related to quality and any other relevant aspects, such as HSE, for example).

For us, this is important for two reasons:

  1. Our customers are expecting a new product launched relative to the time when we said it would be launched.
  2. DNV GL risks being too late to the market to maximize the opportunities represented by having leading community development guidance in an existing popular, reputable, and effective product / service we offer to industry.

While it is not a critical / major issue yet, I am a bit frustrated in that this project is not fulfilling the ‘on time’ aspects of good project management. We are about 4 months delayed to date, and I am worried that this affects both product launch timing (which should have started about 3 months ago) and influence customer perceptions (‘Can DNV GL deliver the goods?!?!?).

I have analysed this and can only come to the conclusion that two major things have occurred:

  1. The Project Manager in the UK, around three months ago, got heavily involved in a very large, commercially important project (the reality is that the oil and gas industry is still in a slump, and we need external project work for revenue generation) which very much distracted him from this internal project’s expected deliverables, and
  2. There was inadequate and misleading communication from the Project Manager which was not effective in managing stakeholder perceptions. For example, we have emails which specifically state that the updated assessment protocol should / would be ready for ‘piloting’ with key customers by December 2016. However, speaking with this same person, the message is that this was never an expectation. So how should we feel / react to such a contradiction? This is the frustrating thing.

I have no fear that the project won’t be finished. It will.  It is just the timing issue and the ‘sour’ feeling that has resulted from the various inadequate / misleading communications (mostly by emails) along the way that have tainted an otherwise fantastic learning experience, intra-company cooperation, and overall great project.

This is a lesson(s) learnt which needs to be captured as part of our project management procedures, and I will process this more myself and reflect later on what can be done for improvement. Looking at the trifecta of good project management: on time, on budget, and on spec, I think I’d rather be a bit late (on time) than settle for lower quality (on spec) and/or a bloated budget (on budget).

See ya’ soon!

Personal Sustainability Challenge: Community Development Management System Guidance for Business

As I recall, writing some time ago (Workshop 1) and interacting with a few of you during the Peer Coaching session we had one day, I gave myself a task / challenge related to the work I do with DNV GL.  In our consulting work (which also includes a range of services such as training, facilitation, audit, assessments, ratings, and benchmarking), we typically work with organisations who seek our assistance in establishing, documenting, improving, maintaining (sustaining??), reviewing, and/or improving their management system.

We usually start from a health, safety (occupational), and environmental view, but over the years we now include security and process safety as additional considerations.  Of course, this is essentially ‘scoping’ the work, but most organisations include all of the above in the scope of work nowadays.  This has proven to be a very practical, useful, and value-adding business model / approach for both the customer and for us (from a revenue and reputation generating perspective), as it helps organisations identify and implement the solutions they are looking for.

However, the traditional field of HSE, and even with its additions more recently of security and process safety, still requires continual improvement, new ideas, new additions, to give ‘life’ to the business and keep the existing customer base, while also trying to attract new customers.  As such, there is a fairly strong initiative in my organization to expand, enhance, and enlarge our services to more match the overall field of sustainability.  ‘Sustainability’ here includes both the sustainability of a customer’s business and the sustainability of the planet, which includes those external aspects with the potential to affect a customer organisation.

As part of this picture, I have taken an interest in focusing on the community development aspects of the sustainable development / sustainability picture.  Where I work in Indonesia / SE Asia (primarily), I experience an increasing need for organisations (customers or not) to pay more attention to the communities that surround their operations and the communities which they serve – which may be the same or different depending on the context.  I / we see that developing guidance for how to establish community development management systems as something innovative, something new that has not been formalized into a practical format for industry.  There is a need here for this – community development (‘CD’) is not typically the core business of an organization, but it is increasingly consuming their attention as organisations realize the benefits of securing a social license to operate and/or proactively creating a ‘living fence’ around their premises because they have good CSR programs and the surrounding communities help guarantee their security as a result.  We foresee this becoming even more important in the region.  Countries like Indonesia are starting to legislate this, and therefore this becomes a driver.  This legislation is also now explicitly tied to the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals in Indonesia, whereby organisations must report on which of their efforts are tied to which specific SDGs!

So, in future blogs, and to continue this story / challenge, I hope to report on our progress here, and my contribution to it.  Yes, it’s a challenge, but I am confident it can be done.  There are enabling factors and more will come to support this if the current trends continue.  More soon….

Communications, Promotion, and Badak LNG: Contributing to Sustaining the Business

PART FOUR:  Additional, final thoughts about this experience…

What I have tried to illustrate with the Badak LNG case discussed in Parts 1, 2, and 3 earlier is the importance of a taking a (management) systems perspective to a larger sustainability problem / scenario; to illustrate how internal company issues, however trivial they may seem to some, can have profound, external ramification if they aren’t brought to the surface and considered formally through proper identification, evaluation, control, and monitoring processes.  The Badak scenario (inadequate internal communication and promotion with respect to process safety aspects) has played itself out before in other organizations whose operations are process-related, but where management / leadership did not properly understand the importance of process-related issues with respect to health, safety, environment (‘HSE’), and the potential wider consequences to other sustainability issues, both internal and external (such as Badak’s vital Community Development program for the surrounding society).

The Badak scenario – an organization which largely based their HSE management system on ‘traditional’ occupational safety issues and aspects, at the expense of prioritizing process safety issues and aspects via many management system activities, including process safety communication, is one all too common in the process industry.  This can have the effect of establishing the wrong culture, the wrong safety focus, and can lead to major or catastrophic events.

This has been seen in two relatively recent events – the BP Texas City refinery accident and the BP Macondo / Gulf of Mexico rig blowout accident.  Both of these events, if one reads the official investigation reports by the relevant US Government commissions, identify various basic causes / findings related to inadequate management / leadership attention to process safety from various aspects, such as measurement of process safety, conducting leadership inspections for process safety, and communications with respect to process safety, etc.  All of these contributors can be lessons learned for other organizations to be aware of and to apply to see if their management systems also have such deficiencies.  Acting upon such deficiencies before a major event occurs is an excellent investment, will be far less costly than the potential event itself, and help ensure the sustainability of the business from numerous aspects and points of view, i.e., survivability of the LNG processing plant itself, people’s lives, ensuring the continuity of the community development program, etc.

Thus, this background became part of the basis for our original DNV GL audit / assessment report recommendation to Badak LNG to enhance their Process Safety (Management) communications by suggesting that their communication and promotion activity also include focused communication promotions and themes for a ‘Year of PSM.’

Communications, Promotion, and Badak LNG: Contributing to Sustaining the Business

PART THREE…

In this section, Part Three, we’re now going to take a look at how Badak LNG used communication and promotion techniques and applied them to sustainability-related issues in the organization.

Beginning in 2006, Badak made a conscious effort to implement an overall 3-year ‘umbrella’ campaign, ‘The Year of Safety Culture Change.’  This theme was publicized company-wide, including with a catchy, colorful patch affixed to all employee uniforms with the overall goal being that employees would carry this message, literally, with them for a period of at least three years.

Culture that needed to be changed was support with various sub-themes, in addition to Badak efforts to improve their Vision and Mission, along with the company Policy.

Here are some sub-theme examples:

1.  Improving Employee Behavior, by the use of BBS (Behavior-based Safety) tools; in this case reporting events using the Badak ‘AWAS Online’ reporting system.

  • Main Theme:  ‘The Year of Improving Safe Behavior,’ including:
  • Every employee was given observation targets; use of AWAS Online reporting a minimum of 3 times per month in the plant, and twice a month in non-plant areas (such as offices).
  • The best and the most cards / reports submitted were given rewards, with a procedure providing formal reward guidance for management.
  • The AWAS Online system had its own Administrator, as the program generated tens of thousands of reports per month.
  • This program was valid for both Badak employees and contractor employees as all had computer access for reporting purposes.
  • Reportable events included behavior, physical conditions, and/or near-miss events, so as to also contribute to data for the Badak’s event ratio data.

Communication / promotional slogans used for this theme included:

  • ‘Record and Report all use of First Aid kits.’
  • ‘All work must be accompanied with a HIRA – Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment document.’
  • ‘Do your safe work behavior observations regularly and report them via AWAS ONLINE.’

From this theme, Badak has reported the following ‘payback’ realized by the company:

  • More focus provided to maintain and/or reduce incidents / accidents, along with improvement in recording near-miss and first-aid data.
  • Increased levels of awareness and application of the HIRA process among workers.
  • Increases in the production of valuable data for statistical and preventive purposes: observation data helped improved focus in critical areas for improvement, such as leadership, weaknesses in procedures, use and availability of PPE, taking remedial actions for many reported sub-standard conditions, etc.

 

2.  Improving Process Safety Management, through better application and        implementation of procedures.

  • Main Theme: The Year of Process Safety and Reliability Improvement program, including:
  • Taking a team approach, especially focused on identifying and analyzing weaknesses that cause plant unplanned shutdowns, trips, etc., known in the program as ‘BAD ACTORS.’
  • The team presented their findings and the programs needed based on their identification and analysis results.
  • Determination of indicators / parameters to measure achievement.
  • Launch and implementation of the program and promotion, including measurement and monitoring of program results.
  • Printing of large posters and banners placed strategically at all plant entrances and exits for all employees to see at least twice a day.

From this specific PSM-focused theme, Badak has reported the following ‘payback’ realized by the company:

  • Successfully reduced, by a large amount, the number of plant trips during the period.
  • Successfully raised worker / operator confidence in doing their work (without fear of the work), including infrequently performed tasks.
  • Successfully identified and increased levels of critical stock materials to ensure the availability and reliability of the plant / operations.

 

3.  Rationale for communication and promotions focus: Badak personnel further add that the logic for the choice of these themes was based on results of studies, DNV GL audits / assessments and their recommendations contained therein, and indicators of the poorest performance that needed to be improved.

Another key issues was the aspect of leadership accountability, where prior to this, leaders did not feel personally responsible if an event occurred – this was the ‘culture!’  What Badak did was to finance a series of formal workshops, off site for a better, focused learning environment, whereby both Badak and contractor leaders were gathered for sessions to focus on improving process safety culture, management, and other relevant  implementation details.

 

 

 

4. Communication mechanisms implemented.  According to Badak LNG HSE personnel, these were the main techniques and drivers applied in the promotions:

  • Each person / department was requested to be involved and was given the freedom to communicate in any relevant forum they thought useful: meetings, safety talks, tool box meetings, and TAKE-2 personal risk assessments.
  • Every employee was given the right and the freedom to STOP WORK for any HSEQ reason with the use of a signed permit and reporting the situation to the Control Room.  (This, by the way, is a key ‘do’ in developing the right safety culture!)
  • Each and every time there is a meeting, the first agenda items discussed are safety performance, AWAS cards, substandard conditions reported, and workers who have not met their targets yet.
  • Each department has been allotted their own SHEQ MS (Safety, Health, Environment, and Quality Management System) Coordinator, tasked as the ‘right hand’ person to the Senior-most department manager for managing SHEQ performance AND communications, as well as liaising with the Badak SHEQ Department.
  • Numerous and various banners / posters according to need and what needs to be promoted as freely made available and budgeted for in order to visually communicate any message required to be implemented, obeyed, etc.

 

In the last Section, I will summarize some of the overall benefits that Badak LNG has realized from their ongoing communications and promotion activities, and how these have contributed in their own way to sustaining Badak LNG’s business, not to mention assisting in maintaining their good reputation with both their internal and external stakeholders in the region.

 

Communications, Promotion, and Badak LNG: Contributing to Sustaining the Business

PART TWO…..

The Logic for this Communication and Promotion ‘Project’

Although lightly addressed in the latter part of Part One, it is important to understand the background and the rationale for Badak LNG having decided to implement this activity.  Here in Part Two we will look at this in more detail before getting into what was actually implemented to achieve the goals of the overall initiative, which will be discussed in Part Three.

For the first seven or eight years of our work with Badak LNG and assessing their management system, the explicit focus had been on HSE, but from an occupational point of view, with an implicit ‘undercurrent’ covering Process Safety Management or ‘PSM.’  For a major process facility, this should not be allowed to continue for long as the risks that need to be explicitly addressed – process risks – tend to go undercover taking this approach.

So, in 2009-2010 thereabouts, Badak LNG transitioned to DNV GL’s ISRS 8th edition, which had recently been launched as well to the general market, and containing internationally accepted standards for managing process safety.  Thus step one accomplished – PSM was now explicitly on paper so as to be assessed explicitly in the Badak organisation.  For the first two years, such assessments were done as per routine, and the pattern of findings kept emerging that although process safety was documented in various manuals, procedures, work instructions, etc., it wasn’t a focus of leadership communication.  ‘Walk’ and ‘Talk’ were not meeting harmoniously.  This was consistently evidenced in verification interviews whereby when regular line employees were asked questions such as, “what are the top three major hazards on site?,” their responses were typically related to occupational HSE events, yet they were working in a major process facility.

So what?

This pattern of findings was both somewhat alarming and actually a reflection of the existing culture that was still persisting – personnel were well versed in what could injure them individually and send them home occupationally – all the slips, trips, and falls that anybody could encounter any place on the planet.  But they weren’t conversant, and therefore were also not risk competent enough to identify, evaluate, control, and monitor those risks that could devastate the entire facility, as well as potentially devastate surrounding communities.  This is a prime example of a major threat to the business and its sustainability, with major knock-off effects for sustainable development activities for the immediate region.  The result of a major accident to sustainable development is a simple causal chain: major release of LNG occurs, an ignition source meets the LNG, which leads to explosion and devastation of the plant, which leads to loss of business continuity, which subsequently leads to loss of funding for their nationally famous community development programs, ultimately leading to loss of livelihood for thousands in the community.  Period.

Thus for two DNV GL assessment reports (2011 and 2012) these were among the major findings, verbatim:

  1. “’Modern’ thinking about Process Safety Management (PSM), i.e., ‘barrier approaches’ should be more evident across all levels. (Suggestion would be to make next year the ‘Year of PSM,’ to carry on from the current ‘Year of Reliability’ theme).”
  2. “Badak LNG should make a formal decision for their 2013 theme in order to continually sustain and promote a positive process safety culture.  DNV recommends that these guidance questions be addressed:  Is the ‘Year of PSM’ and ‘Year of Reliability’ still fit-for-purpose for 2013?  If so, can these be repeated for year 2013 without personnel losing interest?  Is a new theme for 2013 better instead, perhaps related to PSM, such as Management of Change (MOC) and/or other PSM element(s)?”

Thus, after considering these recommendations, Badak management did indeed approve and initiate a ‘Year of PSM’ communications and promotion campaign organization-wide in 2012, and looking at recommendation #2 above, continued / extended it, but in a more specific way during that year.  The expressed goals in doing these campaigns were as follows:

  1. to supplement other PSM activities with a communications ‘module’ that would support communicatively what other PSM modules aimed to achieve.
  2. to provide an overall, ongoing ‘umbrella’ message communicating the importance of thinking about, learning about, and implementing PSM consciously / explicitly in the organization.
  3. to provide a communications mechanism / driver as part of overall Badak efforts to establish a ‘World Class Safety Culture.’  Without PSM as part of this, it would have been well nigh impossible for Badak to achieve this goal considering that it is one of the world’s largest process facilities handling volatile hydrocarbons.

In the next part, PART THREE, we’ll look at some of the techniques and themes that Badak employed to drive this initiative forward…..

 

Communications, Promotion, and Badak LNG: Contributing to Sustaining the Business

PART ONE….

As mentioned in my last blog entry, I’d like to present how one organization, a DNV GL key customer, used effective communication and a focused promotional activity which contributed to continual improvement with respect to their business sustainability.

Since 2005, our Indonesian office has closely worked with Indonesia’s largest LNG plant(operating a massive natural gas liquefaction process), Badak LNG, Bontang, East Kalimantan (Borneo island), Indonesia.  Our main work was assisting them in establishing a more robust HSE management system in light of two separate fatality incidents that Badak experienced several years prior.  These deaths spurred Badak to change, i.e., to drastically improve their management system, which was kicked off by a 3-year ‘Safety Culture Change’ drive and initiative, aligned with using  DNV GL’s International Sustainability Rating System (or ISRS) as both implementation guidance and as an audit / assessment, rating, and benchmarking tool.

This started what ultimately has become an 11-year journey, with the journey and customer relationship still continuing today in terms of both ISRS and other DNV GL services to the customer, such as risk studies, technical failure investigations, etc.  In 2009/2010, DNV introduced Process Safety Management aspects into ISRS, resulting in the ISRS 8th edition, whereas prior to this, Badak was implementing the ISRS 7th edition which primarily and explicitly focused on covering health, occupational safety, environment, security, quality, and other business management processes, but NOT process safety.

Strangely enough, Badak had an ‘official’ process safety management system in the late 90’s / early 2000’s, but it had somehow drifted and became more implicit rather than explicit in their overall management system.  This does not mean integrated – aspects of PSM fell by the wayside, and these were ultimately picked up in subsequent ISRS8 annual assessments at the Badak site during 2009, 2010, and 2011.  These assessments resulted in numerous findings of gaps in PSM implementation, gaps that if not filled, threatened the sustainability of the business in that not addressing them in a suitable, adequate, and effective increased the probability of occurrence for major accident hazards (MAH) and major accidents themselves (MA).

Even more concerning, Badak LNG is a major process facility, a major contributor to the local economy, and a major ‘actor’ in the regions’s / province’s community development activities.  With a loss of plant and facilities due to a major accident, all these positive contributions to sustainable development, community development, etc., are also threatened.  Stay tuned to find out how communications and promotion contributed to Badak’s effective incorporation and ‘rebirth’ of Process Safety Management (PSM) at their facility.