Good afternoon, everyone.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the launch of our 27th Annual Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) Conference & Exhibition.
For approximately three decades, AMCHAM T&T has provided expert leadership and advocacy in HSSE. We did this because we were driven by one singular purpose - we aim to save lives and livelihoods.
This has been the central tenant to everything that we have done and continue to do in making sure every organization is defined by a robust HSSE culture that keeps their people safe and operations running smoothly.
Today is no different. We want to continue building on this legacy and making sure that HSSE policies continue to be at the forefront of every decision that organizations make to survive and thrive in today's business landscape.
That's why this year I am pleased to announce our theme - "Learn, Empower, Sustain".
Let me tell you a little bit about why we chose these three words as our theme for this year. The first word "Learn" 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. We cannot become complacent, thinking that we know everything and that we 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.
Next, we have "Empower". It is so crucial that we create an environment that not only keeps our people safe and secure but also empowers 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.
Finally, we come to "Sustain". This, to me, is the most important. So often, we spend a lot of time trying to enforce new policies and programs to learn and empower but we often hit a stumbling block when we discover our best-laid plans fail after the enthusiasm and interest wear off. We ask ourselves, why? The answer is simple - We don't spend enough time figuring out how we intend to sustain what we hope to create or change.
Most times, our focus is only on correcting the wrong but not necessarily on changing the culture that fosters the wrong-doing. 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.
So, that's why this year's HSSE Conference remains very relevant and important to everyone in our society today. 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.
This entails but is not limited to, keeping up with the latest trends, having the courage to embrace digital transformation, and increasingly integrating HSE objectives into our overall corporate strategies in a more empowering and sustainable manner.
Sadly, we know all too well what happens when we fail to embrace these changes. Just in the past year in T&T, we have seen the seismic impacts of accidents and emergencies in the workplace. These incidents, while tragic and heartbreaking to the families of the victims, cannot be the legacy we leave behind. 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, 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. 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.
So, that's why this year we want to enforce a stronger culture of learning, empowerment, and sustainability in our HSSE policies and processes. We want to ensure that we are amplifying the messages we deliver on important issues such as mental health, psychological safety, cyber security, generational diversity, advancing the environmental agenda, embracing digital technology, and promoting a process safety culture.
I promise you we will be addressing all these topics, and many more, at this year's HSSE Conference.
Once more, we have a team of international and local experts who will lead the knowledge transfer on these issues. We are very happy to have as our Feature Speaker- Kym Bancroft who is the Director at New View Safety which is a specialist training and professional development consultancy company based in Australia that is passionate about the practical application of the latest safety science.
We know our HSSE practitioners will greatly benefit from Kym's twenty-year-plus experience of strategically leading safety, health, wellbeing, environment, sustainability, and injury management functions across a diverse range of global organizations while achieving safe, fair, productive, and sustainable outcomes. Kym will also be joined by a list of regional and international HSE experts and leaders at this year’s HSSE Conference.
Last year, AMCHAM T&T took the bold move to host a two-day Cyber Security Conference simultaneously with the HSSE Conference. Why? The answer is simple, Security is a business imperative—a growth accelerator. It is no longer a “nice-to-have”, but it is the safety of your data and your customer’s information. Cybersecurity is a change maker - companies are using cybersecurity as a differentiator to deliver better business outcomes. 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.
Cyber-attacks were the fifth top-rated risk in 2020 and continue to grow in 2023, with IoT cyber-attacks expected to double by 2025. Plus, 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!
I also want to mention that we are hosting our 13th Annual National HSE Awards which will evaluate companies for their robust HSE systems. The awardees are selected by judges with over 30 years of experience in HSE and provide companies with coaching to fill existing gaps in their HSE arsenal.
This year, we are making a slight change to the agenda. Instead of the HSE Awards being part of the Conference, we are moving the Awards to the night before the Opening Ceremony. We made this change to amplify the importance of these awards.
Whilst at AMCHAM T&T we advocate that it is necessary to learn from mistakes we are also strong believers that you also learn from positive stories, proactive learning. We can mirror best practices, and when we see what others are doing, and in so doing recognize that it is not beyond us to create an exemplary safety culture where we are continuously learning, empowering our employees, and building sustaining businesses.
It would be remiss of me not to recognize our SPONSORS.
Thank you to our TITLE SPONSOR: Atlantic LNG – We thank them for their continued partnership and support of this conference which dates to 2018.
Also, we thank our PLATINUM SPONSORS: NGC Group of Companies; bpTT, Shell, Woodside Energy, Digital Era, Yara, Heritage, and Proman.
We also want to thank our GOLD SPONSORS: Nu Iron Unlimited, PLNL; and our COCKTAIL SPONSORS: Amsha Engineering, and Nutrien for their unwavering commitment to this cause and event.
Finally, I would like to thank the hard-working AMCHAM T&T HSE committee and specifically the Conference sub-committee - chaired by Balchan Jadoonanan. I want to call out the sub-committee members, as sometimes we do not see the people in the background who are giving of their time and expertise - Balchan, Wayne Mohan, Skyle Baptiste, Vitra Gopee, and Gerard Rajkumar. And Melissa tells me that in the background, Cindi Nandlal has been providing key support for the Conference.
Let me tell each of you, on behalf of the Board the Secretariat, and the AMCHAM membership - thank you! The work you are doing is important to changing and shaping the landscape of T&T. I also must thank our very own, Melissa Pierre, Senior Trade and Policy Specialist, Arianna Guyadeen, as well as Choy Durity for this year’s HSSE Conference & Exhibition.
Let me remind you to check out the official 27th Annual Health, Safety, Security, and the Environment (HSSE) Conference & Exhibition Website at www.amchamtt.com/hsseconference2023 There, you will find all the information about our speakers, sponsors, agenda, sessions, topics, registration details, and much more.
We hope to see you on October 31st & November 1st for AMCHAM T&T’s 27th Annual HSSE Conference & Exhibition.