Recruiting Environmental, Health and Safety Managers –
Needs and Problems

Mikhail Divovich, General Director, ECOTEAM
Olga Zinina, Environmental, Health and Safety Manager, ROCKWOOL Russia

EHS managers in Russia – at least we do not know of any reliable ones. 

You can try to find a qualified EHS manager but it takes a lot of time. In most cases you will be forced to “headhunt” such a specialist from his present job. So there is a reason for taking a good specialist in one of the EHS spheres (environmental pr otection, labour protection or industrial safety) who has good learning ability, creativity and dedication to the job. 

Russian EHS legislation requires different degrees and certifi cates, so you certainly will need training for your employees. You can try to find a suitable company that gives not just a certifi cate, but real knowledge and skills. Unfortunately there are few companies like that in Russia, and they charge extremely high rates for their educational services. In the EHS sphere, knowledge comes from experience. 

So it is good idea to be backed by a consulting company. 

Almost all multinational companies which have factories in Russia use external consultants. For example, one hired a smart graduate and a consulting company instead of one specialist. 

The cost of both of them was comparable with that for a qualified specialist. Smart young engineers and a consulting company can help a trainee become a highly qualified specialist in the future. 

One of the co-authors of this article is an environmental engineer who gained knowledge and experience in labour protection and industrial safety with the help of training, consultants and self-education. The desire to do her job well was her strongest motivation. 

In Russia, an EHS manager is often considered to be similar to a GR manager. But that is a big mistake! An EHSmanager has to be an engineer. You cannot put a psychologist in a chief engineer’s position, however convincing he may be. At least we do not know examples of that working. If you need a GR manager, take a GR manager and he will help an EHS manger. But our experience shows that trying to solve EHS issues by means of “talks” will lead to even bigger problems. EHS legislation is obligatory so there is no scope for negotiation. 

It is not like land transaction issues, where the result partly depends on GR qualifications. Agreements with the authorities are risky. Because new authorities can easily renege on any agreement made with previous ones and you will have many more problems than before. 

So hiring non-professionals will cost you much more than finding specialists or smart graduates and consultants. 

In short, hiring professional EHS manager is not less important than a qualified top manager. 

In recruiting EHS managers it is necessary to consider: 

·                   ability to think and develop skills during the working process 

·                   dedication to the work 

·                   an engineering degree (alternatively hiring a consulting company on a permanent basis) 

·                   knowledge of English 

·                   professional experience (in the absence of experience a consulting company’s services are necessary, at least at first). 

AEB Business Quarterly, Spring 2013