Best Practices

The Safe Shell

BY: Pancho Adelberto Hubilla • Jul 03, 2017

“Your employees learn by example. If they don’t see you practicing good safety habits, they won’t think safety is important.”

In our line of work, we have had the chance to visit several corporate offices, but Shell’s security and safety concept impressed us most.

One of the most notable things is that Shell’s first-time visitors are provided with an orientation on the primary safety procedures for preconceived emergencies such as conflagration, earthquake, medical contingencies and others before they will be logged in and allowed to enter the premises.  Far from being a boring lecture, the orientation is done through specially programmed iPad tablets, allowing for an interactive and interesting experience for the users.  We saw a number of iPads on standby for the use of visitors, prompting us to joke if they gave it away for free — levity aside though, it was impressive to see that Shell dedicates resources to disseminate its safety protocols even to its corporate visitors.

To share more about Shell’s organizational thrust for safety, we sought a conversation with Mr. Oliver Ortega, the Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) Manager of Shell Philippines. “ Shell’s primary HSSE objective is Goal Zero. Safety is a deeply held value and Goal Zero is the vision of causing ‘no harm and no leaks’. By keeping Shell visitors aware of the safety protocols, we ensure that the safety of visitors are upheld,” notes Mr. Ortega.

He also shared about the Shell Safety Plan – a contingency scenario that addresses medical, fire, and earthquake as foreseen probable emergencies that may affect their corporate office. It has established procedures that designate specific personnel primarily responsible for specific activity to ensure the safety of its employees and visitors in an instance that the foreseen probable emergencies occur. We felt impressed simply because…

“…if responsibilities are specifically designated, then competency is assured. “

In every floor there are designated medical first aid responders with appropriate first aid medicines aside from their in-house medical personnel. Thus, the response time is faster and availability of first aid medicine is more immediate.  Moreover, there are designated Marshalls to shepherd the personnel and visitors to the pre-designated evacuation areas as the need arises. This is a safety assurance through redundancy because all departments have their respective evacuation plans and personnel are periodically updated through dry run exercises.

These safety procedures are further directly coordinated with the local government public safety agencies for seamless support activities in any of the foreseen probable emergencies.

Shell’s safety protocols further cover the work areas outside the corporate office as well as other activities of its personnel.

The Life Saving Rules

The organization also has its organic Life Saving Rules that has been in effect since 2009 that cover all its work places, all of its employees, and third party service providers. Breach of this Life Saving Rules would result to investigation by the Shells’ Compliance Board and establishment of guilt would result to separation from employment for the employee and the possible ban of erring personnel from 3rd party contractors. There are established key performance indicators that aid in the monitoring of compliance aside from the random and spot compliance verifications initiated. Shell simplified through illustrated instructions this Life Saving Rules to ensure easy compliance in its worldwide offices. The Shell’s Life Saving Rules include Shell employees driving regulations.

While most big companies provide car plans to its employee to ensure effective job performance and as a form of incentive Shell has its own specialized car plan rule. An employee must pass a third party driving competency evaluation based on the 4-Star ASEAN New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) parameters. Moreover, an in-house investigation is conducted if an employee gets involved in an accident and based on the investigation, the employee may be asked to undertake remedial driving trainings and counseling. This sounds so stiff like what the heck but it is their rule and may help better the ‘helter skelter’ traffic situation or we need Shell to hire more employees to bring about better road users.

Shell allows its different country offices to formulate security and safety measures and procedures that must address the peculiarity of the different areas albeit these measures and procedures must pass through the approval of their main office. It is presumed that Shell ensures that the formulated security and safety measures will not be violative or contradictory to its corporate core principles and universally accepted rules on acceptance and tolerance.

Relatively, in consonance with the current government’s thrust against illegal drugs, Shell has an existing health program to address substance abuse and dependency since 2002. This health program is envisioned to provide medical assistance and psychological counseling to an employee who has a medical concern for drug dependency as maybe determined through random drug testing or voluntary disclosure of their drug dependency and abuse. However, Shell feels fortunate that up to this time no one has availed of this medical program.

We inquired from Mr. Ortega the Shell’s security layout and he disclosed that they have security coverage for their corporate officers, offices, and other vital resources. However, he is not at liberty to discuss the different security protocols. It is understandable and we did not insist. Very well, we agree that the security layouts must be protected to ensure that the threats will be denied an opportunity to get around, below, above, and aside the security layouts.

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