International Practices of SH&E Metrics and Its Alignment with Business Functions

Cooper, Richard (Level3 Communications (Europe)) | Mukherjee, Nirupam (Praxair Inc.) | Al-Dhamen, Fahad (Kuwait Oil Company) | Garlapati, Ashkok (Kuwait Oil Company)



The old adage that ‘You can’t manage, what you can’t measure’ is holds good today as well. Many Organizations are establishing SH&E management systems in line with international management systems to measure the performance, protect an organization’s assets, people and the environment. The use of performance standards, commonly known as metrics, has become an integral requirement of the SH&E management system aligning with main organizational goals. Lagging metrics such as accident, frequency & severity rates have dominated almost all Organizations as the key indicators of their SH&E performance since decades. These numbers and figures have been in wide use to represent an organization’s image in the SH&E arena. However, the advanced SH&E management systems have started to expand their attention to a few other leading indicators as well. This shift from an age old practice is primarily to be more proactive and effectively predict future SH&E issues. Leading and lagging metrics are used to verify whether the products, processes and systems that have been implemented to prevent or control losses that can impact the customers of the organization are effective and functioning as designed.

SH&E metrics must be integrated into all levels of the organization if SH&E aspects are to become an integral part of the business plan and operations. In many respects that management extends not only to the performance of the business in a safer way with the lack of accidents but also on the ‘productivity’ of the SH&E professionals employed by the Organizations. This requires SH&E professionals to integrate themselves at the highest levels of the Organizations to ensure that the SH&E initiatives are recognized and valued. Since each organization has various internal and external stakeholders, such as employees, visitors, contractors, shareholders, regulators, the public, suppliers, customers etc., the use of organization specific performance measurement metrics aligning with their organizational main goals will be specific depending on the nature of their organization. The need to develop and implement a comprehensive SH&E metrics program aligning with the organizational goals is a critical part of creating confidence in management and soliciting support for the programs. With the increasing move towards globalization, SH&E Professionals encounter a challenge of understanding of organization / country specific SH&E measurement metrics as they move from each type of industry across several countries.