As the Head of Global EHS, Brian Maeck is responsible for developing Sims’s global continuous improvement strategy with a focus on reducing process risks that could potentially cause harm.
“Over the last four years, we’ve developed Sims’ critical risk management program, which has seen significant risk reduction in all business units, including Metals, with a year-over-year reduction in incidents and injury. In 2022 Sims Limited recorded its lowest injury rates ever, and this year those rates are trending even lower, towards world-class performance.”Brian Maeck – Head of Global EHS
Brian’s key focus areas are implementing the continuous improvement strategy, driving progress and adoption of enhanced best-in-class standardized risk control measures, and ensuring a smooth transition when new acquisitions and mergers happen. “I consider my role to be the global link between business units and regions, collecting EHS data to make informed, risk-based continuous improvement investment decisions.”
EHS stands for Environmental, Health, and Safety. The EHS department at Sims has a crucial role as change agents, implementing and continuously improving the control measures that protect workers, contractors, visitors, and the environment at all times.
But how exactly does the EHS function work?
“In the EHS function, we are very data-driven. We have a streamlined EHS management system built to drive improvement to protect the end-user (our field workers) who are at the most risk of injury. Each component of the EHS Management System is designed to support the next; for instance, our EHS Standard requirements set control measure specifications and expectations, while our control verification inspections collect proactive data determining whether these control measures are effective, which in turn drives continuous improvement. Associated awareness training is specific to drive control measure adoption, while our global communications celebrate that adoption.”
Incident prevention is imperative for a company like Sims. Most of our improvement initiatives come from proactive critical control verification data, which comes directly from our subject matter experts in the field, rather than relying solely on reactive incident data. “EHS is constantly gathering information on control measure effectiveness to drive improvements before an incident occurs.”
What are the biggest challenges that the EHS function has to face?
“The biggest challenge for us is determining what the best control measures are, then globally implementing them. As a global business, we pull a lot of data to determine where in the business we have the best solution. We then go through a data analysis process to present operations leaders’ business cases demonstrating how these improvements will positively affect the business and reduce incidents. We gain support and work to implement control measure improvements throughout the business. The great thing about our program is that these innovations have been implemented and adopted successfully elsewhere in the world. That’s where the benefit of having a globally aligned EHS function shines; we are not trying to solve problems in isolation; we leverage everybody’s experience around the company to drive positive change. Sims has recently created an EHS Partner Committee where all EHS management comes together to evaluate best-in-class control measures based on the control verification data and operational experience.”
Once controls are proven effective and adoption is achieved, the next important step is in positive reinforcement through recognition; either formally through our EHS Excellence Recognition program or informally one-to-one, it is crucial to celebrate positive EHS changes. We at Sims publish a monthly global EHS Focus [the publication name] communication highlighting personnel demonstrating EHS excellence.
Our culture is an essential element of our EHS strategy, and we at Sims continue to learn and grow.
“In the last few years, we’ve changed our way of thinking about safety in many ways. Management is focused on building trust-based relationships with employees, moving away from blame culture. We recognize that our employees are the solution to problems; they hold the answer to how things can improve. We recognize that Sims employees are the subject matter experts, so through collaboration with them, we evaluate and target potential process failure risk consequences. Not only does this provide new insights, but it creates excitement and support for future adoption of enhanced controls. People will always get behind something they played a part in developing.”Brian Maeck – Head of Global EHS
Failures do and will happen, so we proactively prepare.
Our parent company, Sims Limited, leads the industry in safety performance due to proactive, continuous improvement processes that are transparently monitored across the company and challenge the effectiveness of existing health and safety control measures.
Find out more about health and safety at Sims here .