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AmCham gears up for HSSE conference
Chief executive officer of the American Chamber of T&T (AmCham), Nirad Tewarie, said executives at both the board and management level have a role to play in ensuring that health and safety is maintained in the workplace, including safety within the internet space that their employees occupy.
He said trends have shown that CEOs internationally, regionally and locally would prefer to give up their bonuses to take precautionary measures in place, instead of having their company endure financial and reputational damage.
Tewarie’s remarks come ahead of AmCham’s Health, Safety, Security and the Environment (HSSE) conference scheduled to be held on the November 14 to 15, at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port-of-Spain.
Lisa Schlosser, a technology and cyber security executive from the Office of Management and Budget for the US government will be one of the feature speakers at the event.
Tewarie spoke to Business & Money at AmCham’s Maraval Road headquarters in Port-of-Spain.
Themed “People, Systems and Sustainability,” the conference takes a global perspective on HSSE across multiple sectors including the airline industry as well as the energy sector.
In a survey conducted by KPMG about cyber security and the role of boards, it was found that, “Australian boards recognise that cyber security is no longer the domain of IT risk and is now considered one of the top business risks that requires focus, leadership and governance.
“The survey asked business leaders whether they had explicitly defined a risk appetite for cyber security. More than one-third (34 per cent) confirmed their organisation defined a risk appetite. However, a high 38 per cent stated they had not. The remaining 27 per cent stated it was partially defined.”
With the conference being in its 21st year, Tewarie said some of the best practice in HSSE can be found mainly in the energy sector, but pointed out this has not spread to other parts of the economy.
“The conference started off as an HSSE conference. We have long taken the view that while it is impossible to believe you would have no impact on the environment as you develop, we should have as little as possible and employ the best practice, best technology, best standards and best regulation. We have been focusing on the environment for quite some time now.”
Asked what prompted the need for focusing on cyber security he said, “We speak with our members all the time and we get feedback on what keeps them up at night.” He added that cyber security becomes a bigger and bigger risk if it is not managed properly.
Referring to the occupational safety and health aspect of the conference Tewarie said British barrister Iain Daniels will present on health and the environment.
Commenting on the OSH laws he said, “the OSH Authority have stepped up the fines which is good. If you are not operating properly you should be called into account. We are for good regulation.
On the issue of oil spills, Tewarie said while there are no sessions specifically focusing on that, Professor John Agard is presenting on sustainable development.
“In the energy sector the evidence suggest it (HSSE regulations) is taken seriously in T&T. However, outside of that sector, there is a lot of work to do.
“The contractors who work for the energy sector have improved tremendously but, outside of the energy-related sectors, you are still seeing too many incidents of people in utilities, transportation and that is not acceptable.”
Vice-president of corporate safety at United Airlines, Michael Quiello as well as T&T’s Police Commissioner Stephen Williams are among the keynote speakers carded for the conference.