AMCHAM T&T Prioritizes Health and Safety at 25th Annual HSSE Conference Launch


Dr Philip Mshelbila, CEO of Atlantic, Title Sponsor of the 25th Annual HSSE Conference

The American Chamber of Commerce of Trinidad and Tobago (AMCHAM T&T) will be celebrating 25 years of health and safety excellence and leadership across the private sector later this year with the hosting of the annual Health, Safety, Security and Environment (HSSE) Conference from October 25th to October 29th, 2021.

The largest HSSE Conference in the Caribbean hosted by AMCHAM T&T has consistently brought together local and international industry leaders and experts who are responsible for the health and safety culture shift across many industries over the past two and a half decades. Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic only amplify the importance of a focus on health and safety in business.

Speaking at the launch of the HSSE Conference, Melissa Pierre, Senior Trade and Policy Specialist at AMCHAM T&T says the Conference theme “Learn, Evolve, Thrive” is most fitting because it speaks to the experience companies and citizens have been facing because of the pandemic while continuing AMCHAM T&T’s commitment to health and safety. “We learned to pivot and thereby introduce new methods of doing things once thought to be familiar or routine,” Pierre said. “We adapted so we could evolve, and we rethink, and we reimagine a world so we could thrive.”

Melissa Pierre, Senior Trade and Policy Specialist at AMCHAM T&T

Pierre said AMCHAM T&T’s commitment to this topic centres on putting people first. “Implementing new systems and processes, and enforcing new regulations may do well to reduce risk and prevent hazards or injuries but if the central focus of these new measures isn’t placed on people, then all we are doing is just creating more rules.” However, Pierre acknowledges that companies must adjust their HSSE policies to match new realities and unforeseen risks to better protect their employees. “What we are saying is that to make sure that we are always at the forefront of keeping our people safe, we have to constantly learn from our past mistakes, adapt to the new circumstances and be willing to evolve so that we are always preparing for a new normal even if that may be far away on the horizon. We must also create cultures of trust and collaboration.”

Feature Speaker and co-author of the book “Meltdown: What Plane Crashes, Oil Spills, and Dumb Business Decisions Can Teach Us About How to Succeed at Work and at Home,” Chris Clearfield

Meanwhile, Dr Philip Mshelbila, CEO of Atlantic, Title Sponsor of the 25th Annual HSSE Conference, says leaders must change the way they view impossible problems before finding a solution. “If you take the perspective that it is an impossible problem just because the solution hasn’t yet been found then that gives you a completely different approach to tackling the problem,” Mshelbila says. “There is nothing that is truly impossible. Whatever challenges or problems we face, whether as a person or as a business, there will be a solution somewhere, somehow. We may not get to it, either because we look at it in the wrong way or we don’t have the right tools and resources but there is a way to get around it.”

Mshelbila says leaders must be able to sustain the solutions they build to solve impossible problems otherwise time will be wasted on trying to solve the problem again. “You have to create a culture that enables you to sustain the model and it is in that culture that will allow you to evolve through different difficult times and times of change.”

Speaking on the topic: “How To Solve Impossible Problems,” Feature Speaker and co-author of the book “Meltdown: What Plane Crashes, Oil Spills, and Dumb Business Decisions Can Teach Us About How to Succeed at Work and at Home,” Chris Clearfield says companies seeking to solve impossible problems must 1) Ask real questions, 2) Celebrate Resistance, and 3) Run Experiments.

Clearfield says companies seeking to be an agent of change or influence must engage people and meet them where they are. “The opportunity is to use authentic inquiry which is to really engage your people to understand the problem better,” Clearfield says. “If you’re engaging with people in an authentic way across an organization you are naturally going to be starting to build the muscle for teamwork and collaboration in a very different way and that is one of the muscles that is needed to solve these kinds of impossible problems.”

Clearfield also advises leaders to solve problems by celebrating resistance because it helps to prevent dumb ideas and makes a good idea even better. “The process of dialogue or working with someone to develop ideas and having somebody not accept what you say is true, that is the creative process of generating better and better ideas.”

Finally, Clearfield argues that leaders are much more effective with change when they can think in terms of experiments. “It’s not about coming up with some right answer and then changing your policy manual and pushing it throughout the organization. It’s about experiments,” Clearfield says.

“Instead of saying, what’s the solution, think about the question, what do we want to try next” Clearfield says. “When you’re able to do that, that’s when you’re able to not only move faster but also really create this opportunity to engage leaders and people at all different levels of the organization who are invested in the success of the experiment. If they see that successful experiment happening, then they will start to get interested.”

The 25th edition of AMCHAM T&T’s HSSE Conference will feature a list of internationally renowned speakers, local experts and leading industry players who have been spearheading the HSSE revolution in T&T for the past 25 years and beyond. The conference agenda and topics will once more explore how we are embracing the new trends and concepts that has been transitioning HSSE into a new era. The Theme “Learn, Evolve, Thrive” will focus on how we can revolutionize the approach to health and safety in the workplace and elevate the conversation we are having around HSSE systems and policies.

Several major local companies have signed up as sponsors of the Conference, with Atlantic LNG once more returning as the Title Sponsor; The National Gas Company of Trinidad and Tobago (NGC), bpTT and Shell as Platinum Sponsors; Nu-Iron Unlimited and Point Lisas Nitrogen Limited as Gold Sponsors; and Green Engineering as a Technical Session Sponsor.

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