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EHS Manager : a professional’s point of view

News International-French

12 Feb 2011

In our previous issue, we discussed the RHS1 Manager from a general point of view, in an article entitled: "RHS Manager: for everyone’s benefit". Here we discuss with a professional of EHS2 the know-how and professional qualities required of him on a daily basis.



JEC Composites Magazine: What was the career path that led you to this job? Specific training and/or work in the field?

FRANCK MEISSIMILLY: I’ve had a university education in chemistry and textiles, and have experience as a technical manager at Hexcel. I've no general and dedicated EHS training, but I do have field experience in security and accident prevention.


JCM: What does an EHS manager do?

F. M.: The EHS manager advises and assists company management with risk evaluation and with defining the people health & safety policy and the environmental impact of industrial installations. He also assists with the deployment of the resources required for accident prevention measures arising from this policy, and from any potential impact, in order to reduce the number of incidents and their cost.


The main activities of the EHS manager are as follows:


  • implementation of the Environment/ Health/Safety policy (defining the objectives and resources required, implementation, organisation, monitoring and improvement);
  • proposing staff awareness-raising and training initiatives on health & safety and the environment;
  • implementation and monitoring of standards (for ISO 14001 certification; OHSAS 18001 already in place on certain sites);
  • drafting miscellaneous documents (EHS reports, authorisation reports, written procedures, accident reports and emergency management procedures, safety diagnostics and evaluations, document system management);
  • inspection (monitoring indicators evaluating the EHS results, checking the observance of safety notices and the wearing of protective equipment);
  • helping with the organisation of the Health & Safety at Work committee. To successfully discharge all these duties, the EHS manager therefore needs good communication (one-on-one) and teaching skills, and a flair for analysis and seeing the big picture. He also needs to be independent, disciplined and organised. Responsiveness, the capacity to adapt, patience and tenacity are other necessary qualities.


JCM: How do you succeed in getting all of the staff involved in the EHS approach? We know for example that the need to wear personal protective equipment can sometimes be perceived as an imposition.

F. M.: Accident prevention procedures include initiatives that may have an influence on safety-related behaviour. An initiative to ensure that safety behaviour is properly observed, involving a large number of workshop managers, has effectively been launched with this in mind.


JCM: How you noticed any changes to the job recently, with the application of REACH, for example?

F. M.: Yes, although not only on account of REACH, but in the face of the increasingly frequent regulatory changes (reforms to labour legislation, environmental legislation, the "Grenelle de l’Environnement" summit, the reclassification of ICPE (environmentally sensitive) sites in France, REACH in Europe, GHS worldwide, etc.).


JCM: What advice would you give to anyone interested in this line of work in terms of training and professional skills?

F. M.: It’s not indispensable to have taken a basic EHS course. Training in certain specific EHS domains along with good field knowledge would seem to me to perfectly correspond to what is needed in the job. Even more than all that, you need above all to be motivated by the mission to protect the health and safety of all persons who set foot on our sites and, at the risk of sounding too evangelical, to limit the impact of our activities on the planet for ourselves and for future generations. This is what the environmental aspect of our job is all about.


1: RHS: Risk, Health & Safety

2: EHS: Environmental, Health & Safety