It is with deep sense of responsibility that I write this piece. I am harbouring a mix feeling of sadness, grieve and blame. I come to wonder why we are HSE professional, I wonder why we practice the HSE profession, I even wonder why we (HSE professionals) are employed in organizations.

It is quite unfortunate that we the HSE professional and the management of the organization in which we practice the profession are not living to expectation.

Let me pause here to make us understand one thing. The HSE profession is not for just any one, it is for men with passion, men with an inner drive to help and safe people, men who will go out of their way to safe people; even people who do not value their lives.

HSE professionals should understand the enormous task which accompanies their duty. Both the duty of care and the duty of responsibility is handed over to a HSE professional at the point of engagement.

We may say; the Nigerian system is not favouring the profession, we may say that employers are practicing HSE of convenience, we may say that organization are practicing HSE just to fulfil all righteousness, but with all these limitations we still have a role to play. A kind advice, a candid suggestion, a patient persuasion, an informed recommendation and a true sense of concern can break even the most difficult mind.

The HSE profession is not just a job, it’s a calling.

SINCE IT’S A CALLING; WHAT ARE WE CALLED TO DO – WE ARE CALLED TO SAFE LIFE WITH OUR KNOWLEDGE AND CHARACTER.

 

I got privy to an incident lately. A worker fainted while disposing his duty and passed-on before he could be conveyed to a medical facility. It was a painful lost owing to the fact that he was someone i knew. A lively and energetic individual, but today he is no more.

This is why i want to stress the importance of health assessment in HSE.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTH ASSESSMENT IN HSE

Unfortunately, we as HSE professionals get so inclined to safety and relegate other area of the HSE profession (Health & Environment) to the background.

I want to state here categorically that health and environment is as important as safety.

The worker that passed-on may have died from health related issue which was not discovered early.

As HSE professionals we should recommend routine medical assessment for the workers depending on their profession. The routine medical assessment should also commiserate with the level of risk these workers are exposed to.

Most health related issues are chronic, like eye damage, lungs related issues, damage caused by vibration, musculoskeletal disorders, etc. Some of these health issues could even be asymptomatic. So, the only means of diagnosis is from medical examination.

We are losing precious lives, people are losing their working capacity. We as HSE personnel has a very important role to play.

The lives, wellness and sustainability of the workers under your care is in your hand, do not be indifferent.

Act right, do your best, show a sincere passion for what you do and develop a sense of sympathy.

 

REMEMBER THE HSE PROFESSION IS NOT JUST A JOB, IT’S A CALLING.

 

Thank You.

 

Yours Sincerely,

Your Passionate Professional Colleague

 

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By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

2 thoughts on “MUST READ – A LETTER TO ALL HSE PROFESSIONALS”
  1. I appreciate the comment of the writer, the passion and the cry for medical health assessment as part and key area of HSE professional role however the writer is emotional about his taught rather than being professional (just my view).

    A define role must first clear the responsibility and as we all know we might have a faint responsibility in health assessment of workers but this is HR & ADMIN. Depending on the organisational organogram/chart/responsibilities, this should be managed under welfare package owned by employee relation (faint responsibility by HSE) and working together to achieve this.

    Questions to be asked before jumping into conclusion includes;
    Who is responsible for the health surveillance check of staff?
    What level of information is available for staff about their health, medical assess, check up and treatment plan (including HMO or retainer-ship clinic)?
    what is the role of the HSE/OHS practitioner in this and was it spelt out?
    Was the death investigated?
    Is their an investigation report to address root cause and recommendation?

    with these few line of questioning, it will reveal more where the system needs improvement rather than pointing fingers (lets not write for the sake of writing or being emotional). A professional safety (OHS) practitioner must know one of his key strength lies in quality investigation to address root cause (s) to forestall future occurrences.

    I feel your pain and sympathies with you and the family of the deceased. May God strengthen them and give them the fortitude to bear the loss.

    This is just my opinion and my professional way of addressing the issue raised. Sure i am open to corrections and other professional review for the purpose of learning and improving the quality of lives now and for the future generation.

    Thank you

    1. You are right, I was very emotional when I wrote this. Also, it’s a cry for both organizational and professional improvement in delivering on our responsibilities.

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