International EHS Collaboration: A Discussion with Darryl Hill

Darryl HillI had the opportunity recently to talk with Darryl Hill about his upcoming participation in HSE Excellence Europe, May 20-22, Vienna, Austria. You may know Darryl from his work with the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). His involvement includes a recent tenure as the President of the Society.  Darryl is currently the Executive Director of Global Health & Safety at Johnson Controls, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Johnson Controls (JCI) is a global diversified technology and industrial leader who’s 170,000 employees serve customers in more than 150 countries.

The purpose of my interview with Darryl, and this post, is to share his views as an Executive Leader of EHS on the value of international collaboration. I asked Darryl three questions regarding his participation in the conference.  Below are the questions and Darryl’s responses.

Question 1:  Why did you decide to speak at HSE Excellence Europe?

Darryl’s Response:

I have been involved with this group before in similar conferences in the Middle-East and it was very interesting to get the perspectives of their culture.  I like going [to other countries] to share some of our viewpoints and learn some of theirs.

The learning and sharing of best practices is the main reason.  Before I commit to speak I learn about the theme of the conference and make a determination if I have something to offer.

Question 2:  What do you perceive is the biggest value of working with professionals from other cultures?

 Darryl’s Response:

In the case of Europe I know from some of JCI’s European operations that the professionals there tend to focus more heavily on training and employee behavior and especially on Risk Assessment/Risk Mitigation activities.  I think it is the risk focus that has really driven their improvement.

Another aspect [of the European approach] is the use of Design in of Safety requirements typically included in project specifications and contractor service requirements.  Risk assessment is even included in these agreements.  In the U.S. these activities are hit-or-miss.  I feel like these are the areas where Europe, particularly Western Europe, is ahead of us.  I also see a slow movement towards these concepts in the Middle-East.

It’s always interesting for me to get some of these perspectives and bring some of these thoughts back to the States.

Question 3:  What is the most exciting aspect of your presentation?

Darryl’s Response:

The opportunity to discuss my company’s improvement project to integrate an HSE Maturity Model into the Johnson Controls Manufacturing System.  We have just started the alpha testing but are already seeing some early traction.  I will discuss how we started it, give detail on how it’s integrated with operations and what we are ultimately trying to achieve with this project.

I’ll also discuss the linkage between EHS and Manufacturing Capability and Competitive Advantage.  I’ll build off of the work I did with Kathy Seabrook (ASSE President, 2013-2014) in a 2013 article for Professional Safety: Safety & Sustainability: Understanding the Business Value.

This is what really peaked my interest in this conference.

HSE X EUYou can see by the revealing responses from Darryl, there is a lot to be gained by interacting with our peers around the world.  The diversity of experiences and norms drives innovation for the group as a whole.  Also, because of language barriers, it becomes imperative to distill concepts and strategies down to clear and concise descriptions, driving simplicity, focus and cost reduction in the new ideas.  Finally, organizations that are able to build successful global collaboration capabilities not only gain more knowledge and vision, but have also strengthened their ability to execute projects to exploit this knowledge for increased competitive advantage.

I would like to thank Darryl for sharing his time with me to discuss this topic and to wish him good luck at the HSE Excellence Europe Conference.


About Chet Brandon

I am a highly experienced Health, Safety and Environmental Professional for Fortune 500 Companies. I love the challenge of ensuring HSE excellence in process, manufacturing and other heavy industry settings. The connection of EHS to Sustainability is a fascinating subject for me. I believe that the future of industrial organizations depends on the adoption of sustainable practices.
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