Human Capital - Fall 2013 - (Page 24)

FEATURE Synergies between the Human Resources and the Health, Safety, & Environment Departments BY GRANT J. PILGRIM, CET, CRSP WHEN YOU LOOK AT the responsibilities set out for the Human Resources (HR) department and the Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) department within organizations, you will find numerous synergies and overlap of responsibilities. This is due to the fact that both departments are responsible for the most important asset of any organization: its people. Too often, the HR and HSE departments are at odds with each other and become territorial over specific functions within an organization. Often there is a lack of understanding of one another’s needs or, in some cases, the classic power struggle over employee files and who is entitled to see the information. This is not only counter-productive, it can be detrimental to the working relationship between HR and HSE, which ultimately impacts the organization. 24 O If done effectively, the HR and the HSE departments can support and complement each other very successfully when addressing the challenges with staff and the “people” issues that arise. The onboarding process of all new hires is a crucial time for employers, particularly in today’s demanding market for finding high quality talent. Both the HR department and HSE department have specific responsibilities in ensuring that new employees get the required orientations, documentation completed and welcomed into the organization. In many cases the requirements of the HSE onboarding process can differ quite substantially from the HR onboarding process, but in certain circumstances there is a need for the HR department and HSE department to work closely together, particularly when “safety sensitive” positions are involved. When a new employee enters into a safety sensitive position or with medical restrictions it is the HSE department that manages the fitness for duty requirements, drivers medicals, physical demands analysis (PDAs) and functional capacity evaluations (FCEs) to ensure that the organization is not putting the new employee or fellow co-workers at risk of injury or incident. At the same time, it is the HR department’s responsibility for managing the drug and alcohol (D&A) testing, drivers abstract and background check. Both departments have a piece of the puzzle in the onboarding of new employees, and it is how well they work together and communicate that will make it a success or a failure. Often when employees are returning to work following a short-term or long-term disability case, there could be a Duty to Accommodate the return to work. This is

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Human Capital - Fall 2013

Leadership Matters
Economic Pulse
Shared Responsibilities: Human Resources Management and Health, Safety, Environment & Quality Processes
HR & HSEQ Together: Planning for a State of Emergency
Training versus Competency in the Demonstration of Due Diligence
Synergies between the Human Resources and the Health, Safety, & Environment Departments
Mobilizing HR and HSEQ for Positive Organizational Change in Health, Wellness and Productivity
HR & HSEQ: The Team Approach to Building Effective Supervisory Leadership Skills
HR LegalEase
Index of Advertisers/

Human Capital - Fall 2013