At Lucite International (LI), “having a passion for safety, health and the environment (SHE)” is our number one priority and a core value for all who work for us. Following the United Nations’ World Day for Safety and Health at Work, we introduced a series of features speaking to SHE specialists at LI about their role.

Today, we hear from Alan Marsh, Global SHE Manager, based at LI’s Wilton, UK site. Alan joined the Company, then ICI, some 30 years ago and held a number of roles typical for a chemical engineer before becoming Senior Plant Manager at LI’s MM8 methyl methacrylate production plant in 1996. From there he became Site Manufacturing Manager before moving to his current role in 2009.

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What are the key focus points of your role?

I manage a small team of people who have a company-wide responsibility for:

  • Process Safety Management (PSM) – making sure we avoid the risk of any major incident.
  • Product Stewardship and Integrity – making sure that our products are safely handled and used in the public domain, and that we satisfy all associated toxicological and eco-toxicological regulatory requirements.
  • Sustainability – ensuring that we retain the right to operate into the future by minimising risk of harm from our operations, improving resources management and ensuring responsible care through our supply chain.
  • Providing an umbrella set of operational SHE Standards that provides a framework for our sites and people to operate under.

Finally, we are currently involved in trying to take our strong heritage and merge it with those of other Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) operations, so that we can improve cross-learning and develop a ‘best of the best’ position, which will help us further in our goal of causing zero harm to people and the environment.

 

What do you enjoy most about working in SHE?

The knowledge that I’m working with a great group of people; I can go to any site and see the strong and positive efforts being made to keep our operations, and everybody associated with them, safe and free from harm. It’s also the pride in knowing that when we talk with people outside of the Company – competitors, suppliers, regulators and others from industry – that our practices and performance are rated highly. We are getting a lot right and that should bring us all great satisfaction. However, we only achieve this through the efforts of people in all parts of the Company, in all regions of the world working together. Being a part of that is fantastically enjoyable.

 

What are the most significant ways in which SHE practices have evolved in the last 10 years?

I think the two main changes continue to be the globalization of standards and practices and increasing transparency. Global companies and regulators use a lot of the same language and a lot of the same practices – the world is a smaller place and the rate of learning is very fast. In relation to SHE, this is fantastic. For example, it means that a higher focus on PSM activities will reduce the number of major incidents globally. It also means, because of global regulations such as REACH, that the same tests regarding the quality of data and information for materials is being used – and therefore we can be confident that customers are better protected.

When it comes to transparency, we get more credit from stakeholders if they see that we (and the industry) are using and reporting through internationally recognized and accepted systems such as ISO, Responsible Care and ECOVADIS – particularly because of the independent, external auditing that comes with such systems. Being associated with these types of transparent systems is a very important way of being open with stakeholders about how we operate.

 

How does the challenge of causing zero harm/zero injuries influence your work at LI?

In the world of SHE, you can sometimes feel as though you are spending most of your time managing negative things, such as injuries and incidents and it can be difficult to see beyond that. However, I take great pride in knowing that we are committed to continually improving, and that we genuinely believe there is nothing more important than sending people home safe at the end of their time at work.

The necessary target of zero harm is tough to achieve but we never stop trying our absolute best! Even when we are operating at world-class levels statistically, we never forget that anything above zero means we can always be doing more. Holding onto this core value always directs our approach to our work and the decisions we make.