ICT as a Tool in Industrial Networks for Assessing HSEQ Capabilities in a Collaborative Way

ICT as a Tool in Industrial Networks for Assessing HSEQ Capabilities in a Collaborative Way

Seppo Väyrynen (University of Oulu, Finland), Henri Jounila (University of Oulu, Finland) and Jukka Latva-Ranta (University of Oulu, Finland)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch075
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Introduction

There may still be many companies and organizations that use information and communication technology (ICT) for employees’ work conditions and systems, particularly only for collecting and presenting yearly figures of their absences from work due to sickness and accidental injuries. The employees, meanwhile, probably frequently use text messages or e-mails to inform their bosses that they are not well enough to come to work. In many companies, computer applications can use, produce, or present the results of job satisfaction surveys. This article presents other much wider potential applications of ICT. It describes in detail a system developed and used by a process industry network in Finland and provides a general review of contemporary needs and possibilities. The potential contributions of ICT to work organizations and personnel is much larger and more diverse than commonly realized.

Networking is a typical solution for companies of different sizes to combine and manage their contributions competitively in a contemporary business environment. It is typical for employees from several supplying companies or contractors to work simultaneously for the same production, such as in the process industry (e.g., purchasing organization, customer of suppliers). This method of production, using so-called shared workplaces, has become more common. This situation has set up new requirements for managing health, safety, environment, and quality (HSEQ), causing issues and achieving desired results within that framework. These requirements are partly regulation-based, but are also voluntary, business-driven, and promotional. Large-scale process industry companies in Finland have developed and have started to apply the HSEQ Assessment Procedure (HSEQ AP) for measuring and evaluating suppliers (Väyrynen, Koivupalo, & Latva-Ranta, 2012). The objective of HSEQ AP is to ensure that outside employees in shared workplaces have sufficient knowledge and skills for HSEQ to operate in the principal customer companies’ premises.

Generally, HSEQ issues concern the key factors of a company’s contemporary holistic control, assurance, and management measures. The integration of all “additional” aspects of quality (Q) is a practical, rational, feasible, and cost-effective model (see Hutchison, 1997; Dale, van der Wiele, & Iwaarden, 2007). This is in line with the UK definition of an accident covering “any unplanned event that resulted in injury or ill health of people, or damage or loss to property, plant, materials or the environment or a loss of business opportunity” (Hugnes & Ferrett, 2003). Integrated management systems (IMS) (see Wilkinson & Dale, 2007) are used to assure customers that products and services satisfy requirements for “basic” Q. Responsible organizations also have to be concerned about the working environment and well-being of their employees (HS), the impact of operations on the local community, and the long-term effects of their products and activities (E). HSEQ management involves planning, organizing, controlling, monitoring, and reviewing the measures. Multi-employer HSEQ management can be effectively arranged through the proper participation of all employers, including contractors, and employees. Both managerial and labor commitment to an HSEQ-oriented culture should be a part of the business and all work activities. Internal and external auditing of HSEQ capabilities plays a key role in maintaining a high level of HSEQ. This can maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. In Q maintenance and in continuous improvement, sharing good practices and applying benchmarking procedures are also important (see Hutchison, 1997).

This article will provide a detailed review of the literature on the ICT-enabled system, in our case the HSEQ Assessment System (HSEQ AS). It is followed by a section on the main features of the current system. It will discuss the system’s essential phases and all tasks allocated to it within the industrial network in Finland. The next section analyzes the utilization of HSEQ AS by answering the five Ws and one H (i.e., who, what, where, when, why, and how) (see Hutchison, 1997).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Health, Safety, Environment, And Quality (HSEQ): Performance will be achieved by an integrated management system and by conditions of sustainability and corporate social responsibility, supporting processes such as education, training, recruitment, and other human resource management and leadership activities. Both managerial and labor commitment to an integrated HSEQ-oriented culture should be a part of the business and all work activities.

Model or Standard for Managing Work System and Processes: Identify ways to effectively and efficiently carry out their missions and achieve their visions. A model or standard should be a generic and applicable system to various organizations and sectors. It should include emerging trends and topics, be in a language targeted to managers, and should involve all employees. Driven, enhanced, and made visible and accessible by ICT, the managing system, hopefully IMS, guarantees that the organization is an “excellent place and network to work and do business.”

Work System: One or more employees and work equipment acting together to perform the system function in the work space in the work environment, under the conditions imposed by the work processes and tasks.

Stakeholder: A person or organization that can be affected by or can affect a decision or activity of an organization.

Supply Chain And Network: A connected set of resources and processes that begins with materials and extends to the delivery of goods and services to the customer.

Integrated Multiple Management System (IMS): Goal-oriented, especially to HSEQ. In a work system and organization, it widely and synergistically covers employees’ health and safety and the prevention of accidents. It is a key to the goal of continuous improvement and innovation, and is critical to corporate governance and general success in the industry.

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