A MCHAM T&T launched the 27th Annual Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Conference & Exhibition on August 30th, 2023, at Ohana Restaurant, Chaguanas.

Speaking at the launch, AMCHAM T&T President Stuart Franco announced the theme “Learn, Empower, Sustain” for this year’s event originated from the organisation’s quest to ensure that HSSE policies continue to be at the forefront of every decision that companies make to survive and thrive in today's business landscape.

“Learning reminds us that we must keep enhancing our knowledge and awareness of all the new concepts and theories that are revolutionizing how we work, live, and play in a continuously changing landscape.”

Franco warned organizations not to become too complacent into thinking that they know everything and have all the solutions. “A robust safety culture requires us to keep up to date with all of the latest trends and technologies that will improve and strengthen our safety systems and processes.”

He also encouraged companies to empower their people to create an environment that not only makes them feel safe and secure but helps them to achieve their greatest potential. “Implementing the right systems and policies is one thing, but we must keep asking ourselves how we can establish a safety culture that allows all employees to feel seen, heard, trusted and included, allowing them to perform at their best.”

When it comes to the sustaining part, Franco admits that this is where companies are failing. “Most times, our focus is only on correcting the wrong but not necessarily on changing the culture that fosters the wrongdoing,” Franco said. “Our approach must be different if we want to ensure we are building lasting and impactful systems that allow our people to feel safe and our organizations to thrive and succeed.”

“We have seen the unprecedented pace at which the field of HSSE has evolved over a short period of time. This has been largely driven by technological advancements, heightened public and regulatory attention to health and environmental issues, and the enduring impact of COVID-19. Now we must ensure our safety systems match up to these rapid changes.”

Franco recommended organizations keep up with the latest trends, have the courage to embrace digital transformation, and increasingly integrate HSE objectives into their overall corporate strategies in a more empowering and sustainable manner.

The AMCHAM President said the seismic impacts of accidents and emergencies in the workplace observed in the past year are the results of what happens when organizations fail to embrace these changes. “We may not be able to change the past, but we can transform the future so that our employees feel and experience a sense of safety and security while in the workplace. That's why we are asking for organizations in all sectors of our economy to adopt a policy of full transparency in the way we respond to accidents and emergencies when they occur.”

In this approach, Franco acknowledged that there must be more of a willingness to share the lessons learned from these negative events. “This isn't just about accountability, but more importantly, it's about creating a culture of learning and teachings that can prevent future incidents and save lives,” Franco said. “This goes beyond reinstalling public trust in our institutions but more importantly, it's about just doing the right thing by our people when it comes to embracing safety.”

Imtiaz Easahak, VP - HSSE at Atlantic delivered the Title Sponsor Remarks and also spoke about the value of the learning process in building Atlantic’s safety culture. “We have systems and programmes in place, including a Learning from Incidents Programme, which enables us to unearth lessons that are then shared with all stakeholders and indexed and archived in an easily accessible online database.”

Easahak said this allows the risk assessment team to not only better evaluate scheduled work activities, but to actively consider how they can improve Atlantic’s systems to support workers on site, even when the activity being done is considered routine.

He said Atlantic has been on a mission to empower their employees on-site to raise their hands and their voices at the first sign that something may be amiss, even if it means slowing down the work. “When we champion this, over time we continue to build an environment where everyone is comfortable speaking up, because the reality is the ideas and the new approaches that our industry needs can come from anywhere – not just the C-suite.”

“When skilled workers feel heard, see their contributions as valuable, and their safety as a priority over the completion of a particular job, overall performance improves,” Easahak said. 

Meanwhile, cybersecurity will once more be part of the agenda with a two-day cyber track session which will run simultaneously with the HSSE Conference. Franco said the reason for this stems from cybersecurity being no longer a “nice-to-have” since it is now about protecting the safety of the company’s data and their customer’s information.

“It is not a matter of if your company would be breached - it is a matter of when. If there are vulnerable points in your systems – then they can be exploited. Few of us would recover from a massive security breach.”

Franco said Cyber-attacks were the fifth top-rated risk in 2020 which continues to grow in 2023, with IoT cyber-attacks expected to double by 2025. Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risk Report states that the rate of detection (or prosecution) is as low as 0.05 percent in the U.S.

“We do not know the detection rate for Trinidad and Tobago, but we are advocating that prevention is better than the cure – so just as you protect your premises, it is now a business imperative for you to protect your data,” Franco said. 

Additional topics that will be featured on the agenda include Learning Teams, Mental Health, Psychological Safety, Emerging Technologies, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Cyber Security, Advancing the Environmental Agenda, Process Safety, and Active Assailant
The HSSE Exhibition will feature over 40 booths from companies operating in the HSE, Security, Environment, and Cyber Security industries.

The event is sponsored by the following companies:
Title Sponsor - Atlantic; 
Platinum Sponsors - The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago; bpTT; DigitalEra Group; Proman; YARA Trinidad Ltd; Woodside Energy; Shell; Heritage Petroleum; 
Gold Sponsors - Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited; Nu-iron Unlimited; International Labour Organization; 
Cybersecurity Sponsors - DigitalEra Group, LLC.; MASSY GROUP; Fortinet 
Cocktail Sponsors - Nutrien, Amsha Engineering Limited
Coffee Break Sponsors - Simply Intense Media; ANSA McAL Chemicals Limited; Caribbean Bottlers, Trinidad; Contour Global; Green Engineering Ltd.; Unipet; Roche;