EHS Governance and Leadership: The Making of High ...

EHS Governance and Leadership: The Making of High Reliability Organizations Published by Routledge, UK, 2018

By Dr Waddah S. Ghanem Al Hashmi, MSc, MBA, AFICHemE, FEI, MIoD
Executive Director – EHSSQ & Corporate Affairs and Vice Chairman of Dubai Carbon (DCCE PJSC)

Managing Operational Risks Strategically!

Environment, health and safety (EHS) management has become increasingly important in the past 10 years, especially within high risk and high reliability organizations. EHS is driven from the top of an organization, and whilst there has been much research about EHS leadership, there is very little on EHS governance and the director’s role in leading or influencing change in organizational safety/EHS performance.

A significant aspect of risk governance is informed decision making by senior persons within an organization. What is challenging is balancing between the details of the risks which are posed in an environment of ever-increasing complexity. That is why truly you need to develop directors and executives to better understand risks and the relationship of those risks with one another.

A good example is whilst the regulatory frameworks in industry are quite developed in most industries, we find the frameworks are much more prescriptive and regulated in certain industries such as maritime, aviation and perhaps even the construction and manufacturing industries. Whereas, when this is compared to the oil and gas and mining industries (and other extractive industries), a lot of the onus remains heavily on the duty holder who somewhat self-regulate. The truth is that in such industries such codes of practice and experience based processes and procedures have been developed, which have increased the safety and reliability with little doubt. The problem is there are still major incidents occurring in these industries, which in the GCC provide a major GDP-driver.

The effective model for effective EHS Governance and Leadership in organizations which reflects the deep complexity of managing these significant risks at a very high and strategic level within an organization must be understood. The complexity and dynamics between the Board and the Executive Management team is important to appreciate in the dialectical value maximization and sustainable safe and reliable growth. The main themes that impact and should drive EHS governance include risk management, leadership, safe organizational cultures, legal imperatives for safety and so on. There are various factors that drive this governance in organizations towards high reliability and they include: Internal organizational factors – such as organizational structure, communications, transparency etc.; the external – social, political and economic factors; the enterprise business factors – such as the business resilience and making EHS a business value driver and most significantly the personal leadership factors which include knowledge/competence, leadership, influence and accountability and morality.

EHS Governance and Leadership: The Making of High Reliability Organizations reviews the factors influencing safety/EHS leadership and governance and addresses all the areas where the role impacts on the performance and sustainability of organizations. Based on the author’s in-depth research, the book draws on much of the best-practice standards developed by many leading organizations such as the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

This book provides exclusive insights and legal imperatives for practitioners and leaders alike to help them in making decisions in the areas of strategy and EHS governance. High reliability fundamentally impacts business continuity, developing company value and the sustainability of large organizations around the world. This book explains through both an in-depth review of recent literature and the perspectives of the senior leaders in high risk and high reliability organizations on EHS governance and leadership. Much of the field work that supported this research is from those operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

The book comes in fourteen short chapters which carefully review and analyze the increasing responsibilities boards and individual directors have for general corporate governance and EHS. The growing trend into the unique context of the Middle East and the Gulf Cooperation Council region from the perspective of detailed specific research from an indigenous expert from the region.

In his foreword to the book, Gerard Forlin, QC from the UK explains “There is clearly a regulatory trend that investigators will review not only what organizational systems were in place domestically but also globally. Faults picked up in one jurisdiction must be remedied across the whole operation wherever it is situated. The courts are increasingly making that point and punishing those who do not adequately heed this message.” And then goes on to conclude with “This book looks at the increasing requirement for corporate governance to be at the very heart of organizations in the GCC and hopefully will be a helpful guide and aide memoire to those tasked with running the various institutions in this hugely important region.”

This book is based on the insights from many different foundational texts, practitioner reviews and industry research papers by consultants, as well as academic research. Much of the field work that supported this research is from those operating in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region as well as globally on environment, health and safety (EHS) leadership and governance matters through interviews. Many organizational leaders were interviewed, mainly in the GCC region, and many supported the view that the EHS performance monitoring role of the board of directors (BoD) is a critical one, but many disagreed, stating that the BoD instead should play an active role in risk management at entity level. This is interesting and quite fundamental, and this book addresses the most likely reasons for these growing sentiments.

The book provides one of the most internationally authoritative and the most regionally comprehensive reference that can help Board Directors better understand risk governance and oversight through effective monitoring, analyzing and thus managing risk effectively in such a way to transform high risk organizations to high reliability organizations.


About the Author:

Dr Waddah S. Ghanem Al Hashmi currently works as the Executive Director of EHSSQ&CA for the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) which is based in Dubai. Waddah’s received his doctorate in 2015 from the University of Bradford’s School of Management (United Kingdom), in Corporate Governance and EHS Leadership. He is an engineer by training and has several vocational and academic achievements. He is an author and co-author of several other technical, self-development and theological books. He is an active member and supporter of the work of the BDI-GCC.

Note to Reader: The book is available on-line from all major bookstores and the Author can be contacted on for any further information.