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Home > News and Media > Stories > our people > Creating a Culture of Safety

EHSS – Creating A Culture of Safety and Stewardship at SABIC

At SABIC, we are committed to achieving industry-leading performance across all our operations. Environment, Health, Safety and Security (EHSS) is one of our core values, integral to the foundation of our business globally. Our internal and external stakeholders - from employees and contract partners to our customers and our communities – expect that we excel in the protection of EHSS. Safety is a fundamental force driving our actions and behaviours worldwide. SABIC delivers on this core value year after year by maintaining a strong EHSS culture, which reaches far beyond simple compliance. In any organization, A ‘compliance culture’ alone can lead to complacency, whereas we foster a supportive and collaborative corporate culture in which everyone working within and alongside SABIC work to meet this expectation in their daily actions and decisions.


What is EHSS?

EHSS stands for “Protection of the Environment and Human Health, Safety, and Security”. EHSS refers to the steps and measures organizations must implement and follow to ensure their activities do not cause harm to anyone.


For over a decade we have promoted best-in-class EHSS through our Safety, Health, and Environment Management Standard (SHEMS) at all our manufacturing sites. During 2021, we conducted two major audits to measure SHEM effectiveness – through a combination of in-person and virtual assessment using the new eSHEM SAP Auditing system. Our Manufacturing Excellence Management Standard (MEMS) has complemented SHEMS since 2015. We believe in continuous improvement and innovation and have taken these standards to the next level by launching the Operations Management System (OMS) charter. This is an innovative approach that incorporates both standards, ensuring SABIC’s manufacturing can excel in EHSS performance and reliability, while creating value by aligning priorities for site stewardship.


What is OMS?

OMS stands for “Operations Management Systems (OMS)”. OMS integrates EHSS and Work Process Management systems in one framework to safely operate and optimize the performance of SABIC assets.


The OMS charter has empowered our global manufacturing community to take ownership and drive results through commitment and innovation. We are continually improving our EHSS performance at all our sites around the world, and have more than 20 EHSS networks active across all of regions. The global EHSS organization serves as a center of safety excellence, supporting all manufacturing operations, business units and corporate functions in continually improving our EHSS performance and embedding this approach into all levels of the organization, supported by key functions.

Health, Safety and the Environment

Achieving safe and sustainable plant operations, driven by our highly competent and committed workforce, is a key way to maximize sustainable shareholder value at SABIC. It helps us achieve our vision of becoming the world’s preferred supplier of chemicals by 2025 by embedding EHSS values into our work culture. Of course, we support the learning and development of our employees globally in EHSS to ensure we always operate at the highest standards.

Building on the outcomes of the global EHSS Culture Survey conducted in 2020, we continued to enhance SABIC’s EHSS culture in 2021 through the Hearts and Minds Principles, which define critical organizational behaviors aimed at improving safety and operational performance. A major focus area here has been leadership behavior to cultivate better leadership visibility and engagement. Over 16,730 employees responded to the survey and each site is working on an action plan to make improvements based on areas identified.

Additionally, EHSS Maturity exists as an overarching performance monitoring system and we created the Safer Chemistry Program to ensure that chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize adverse impacts on the environment and human health. EHSS training remains a priority and in 2021, we continued to conduct training sessions for the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Safety & Health, for example. This has helped to build the competencies of subject matter experts at our affiliates in Saudi Arabia. Across the year, we successfully executed four competency development training programs for 50 participants.

Process Risk Management

At SABIC we have integrated process risk management into all our business activities with an expectation that we will not compromise EHSS. SABIC and its affiliates’ leaders are expected to reinforce their commitment to an incident-free workplace by ensuring that every activity is subject to strict EHSS risk management principles and procedures and conducted with the utmost care and adherence to compliance at all times. For example, the SHEM Maturity Level concept was developed to ensure this, and in addition to the SHEM Standards Audits, has been successfully implemented to assess performance at all facilities.

At SABIC, we have also implemented E-SHEM to improve risk identification and management by making key EHSS information richer and more accessible. This is achieved through better aggregation and distribution via efficient web-based platforms and communications. SABIC Manufacturing has also introduced the electronic EHSS Risk Register, EHSS Audit Management and EHSS Calendar in Saudi Arabia to help register risk, capture findings, and track recommendations and mitigation actions.

These processes and functions form the bedrock of our EHSS values and are integral to the success of our EHSS improvements over recent years.

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