LEARN, EMPOWER, SUSTAIN
Good morning, everyone.
It is my pleasure to welcome you to our 27th Annual HSSE Conference and Exhibition.
Thank you to all our sponsors who continue to show their unwavering commitment and leadership on this topic.
It would be remiss of us to celebrate all the positives we have derived from almost three decades in HSSE leadership without recognizing the people whom we have lost, in recent times, to tragic workplace accidents. I know this has been in the news a lot lately which is why I think, as health and safety leaders, we should take a moment of silence to pray for those whom we have lost and their families.
(PAUSE FOR A MOMENT OF SILENCE) Thank you!
We must do more. We must do better. We must continue to prioritize health and safety in every aspect of our operations to ensure we keep our people safe.
We do this because HSSE matters to all, we do this because YOU - our employees, our members, our citizens - MATTER.
Last night at the 13h Annual National Excellence in HSE Awards Ceremony, The Hon. Minister of Labour, Minister Stephen Mc Clashie, shared some stats of OSHA during the fiscal year 2022-2023 which included but were not limited to:
- 25 Legal Prosecutions
- 51 reported critical accidents
- 15 reports fatal accidents
These numbers are simply way too high!
Right now, there is no doubt that we are wrestling with some big problems. Instead of losing hope, I want us to recognize that nothing we are facing today is new. We have already faced and overcome similar trials and I believe we can do it again.
That’s why the question we are asking you today is simple: how do we Learn, Empower, and Sustain? Essentially, that’s the theme for this year’s HSSE Conference & Exhibition. I am happy to report that we have a conference full of experts to teach and guide us. So, I will leave the learning part for the professionals to administer.
I want to concentrate more on the Empower and Sustain elements. Quite frankly, I feel this is where we are falling short. Why?
I think the fundamental reason for this lies in our unwillingness to collaborate.
AMCHAM T&T’s decision to host this conference for almost three decades wasn’t built on keeping what we learned to ourselves. On the contrary, bringing people together and sharing vital information to find solutions to problems that hold us back is what has sustained this event.
That’s the approach I want all of us to take especially when we address accidents in the workplace. While we know that not all accidents are preventable, we can certainly change the way we report. We have to see accident reporting as a means to empower each other by sharing the lessons from our failures. Perhaps if we are more open and transparent about this, we will earn the respect of our customers, win over investors, and motivate our
AMCHAM T&T will continue to encourage our membership, the wider private sector, and the public sector to share the lessons learned from the accidents and incidents that take place at your facilities. We also encourage the sharing of near misses.
We believe “lessons learnt” should be shared as the potential exists for a repeat of similar types of accidents. At our lunch session tomorrow, our members will share a recent accident, a catastrophic failure of an ammonia plant primary reformer due to a mixed feed piping failure. I invite you to join that session to learn from them.
Our Featured Speaker, Kym Bancroft, will explore the dynamic world of ‘Human and Organizational Performance’ (HOP) Learning Teams to help us better understand the decisions people make that may result in an accident or emergency.
In this session, we are saying let’s empower each other by sharing stories and identifying ways to solve problems to support the continuous improvement of our business's operational excellence.
So far, technology has been a massive contributor to building excellence in our business operations and enhancing safety. We have seen how embracing digital transformation in our HSE operations has empowered employees to make better-informed decisions which ultimately results in reduced risks and more lives saved. So, let’s continue utilizing the innovation blocks available to us to build and sustain our safety culture.
At the same time, we must also be aware of the threats posed by cybercriminals. Since our employees are our organization’s first line of defence against cyber-attacks, we must continue to empower them by increasing their cybersecurity awareness, education, and training especially now that remote work is here to stay.
We have a strong lineup of expert speakers in our Cyber Track sessions who will administer these teachings. I hope you use the knowledge transfer to boost cyber resilience across your operations.
I also strongly feel we can use diversity to really empower our people and build more sustainable businesses. I know many positive strides have been made in this space over the last decade but there is still room for focus and improvement in the treatment of employees who feel marginalized and who seek career advancement and better opportunities.
So, let me offer a solution. Why don’t we make space to include more diverse voices at the decision-making table? Not only would this enhance our safety culture, but it would also empower the people who often feel the most isolated, silenced, and unseen.
This is one of the major reasons why we continue to include mental health on our HSSE agenda. COVID-19 may have been one of the worst disruptors we have experienced in our lifetime, but it also made sure we no longer overlook areas of mental well-being and psychological safety.
So, when it comes to creating sustainable work environments and empowering employees, we must do everything within our power to ensure that every employee feels accepted and respected in the workplace.
We also need to come together more by bringing all the interest groups in one room to address the crime situation in our country. We look forward to the government and opposition meeting to discuss this critical issue and take this opportunity to remind all that AMCHAM T&T stands ready and willing to assist in any way we can.
Remember, we cannot empower our employees by promoting a robust HSSE culture in the workplace when their lives are being threatened on the streets and in their homes.
As business leaders, it is our job to protect and safeguard our people. That’s a responsibility I know many in this room take seriously, I sure do. So, let’s not wait for crime to be declared a public health emergency before we act. Let us do our part to support the government and assist where we can in turning the current scenario around.
At AMCHAM T&T, we established our HSE, Security, and Rule of Law Committees because we remain ready and willing to work with all interested parties on this issue to keep our employees and citizens safe. Finally, nothing we do to empower people will matter if we aren’t working towards building a sustainable planet. I hope as we embrace innovation to
improve efficiencies, reduce expenditure, and improve safety, we continue to lower our carbon emissions and build climate resilience that will sustain economic prosperity, environmental security, and social well-being across the region.
As you absorb the information being delivered over the next two days, remember that your safe employees are your business’s best investment for long-term success. On that note, I hope you continue to empower your people to ensure a more sustainable future for all.
Before I leave, I would like to recognize the work of all the talented experts in our HSE Committee who crafted this year’s agenda. Thank you to our HSE Committee Chair, Balchan Jadoonanan for his leadership on these very important issues.
Thank you to our team at the Secretariat, Melissa, Arianna, Choy, and Celine who did a lot of the heavy lifting in the coordination of this event. Thank you for your hard work and thank you to all our participants today. Without you and your participation, this event would not be the success it has been over the last 26 years. I hope you enjoy the conference and use the rich content to build a bright and sustainable future for all.
Thank you and God Bless!