Commitment, Cooperation Key to Health, Safety Plans

Article excerpt

Environmental health and safety programs operate better when government, labor and industry work together, according to Dr. Steven D. Emerson, vice president of Corporate Safety, Environment and Technology for Kerr-McGee Corp. of Oklahoma City.

This was one of the summary findings Emerson acquired from a tri-national seminar on Safety and Health in the Petrochemical Industry last month in Edmondton, Alberta. Industry, government and labor representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico attended the five-day seminar.

In addition, "meaningful employee involvement in areas such as indentification of workplace hazards, training programs and emergency preparedness are crucial to effective environmental health and safety programs," Emerson said. "Training of all employees including contractors and subcontractors is important."

"Commitment and involvement of employees at all levels _ top and bottom _ is required for" effective worksite programs, he said.

Emerson, who is responsible for corporate environmental safety and technological groups that support Kerr-McGee operating units, said "integration into corporate strategy should ensure that environmental health and safety protection is value-added."

The seminar was the third in a series developed under agreements stemming from the North American Free Trade Agreement. The trade agreement became effective Jan. 1, 1994.

The purpose of the petrochemical seminar was "to share best practices, learn about different regulatory approaches used and achieve a common understanding about working toward continued improvements," Emerson said.

Emerson, chairman of the U.S. industrial group, spoke about taking a proactive approach to safety, health and the environment at the seminar.

"The crucial thing is for top management to have a commitment to take a proactive approach to recognize good business and set a pace for involvement in the entire organization," he said. …

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