Interview with Walter Lovato – HSE Head SUANFARMA Italia


What does an HSE Manager do?

The HSE Manager is the figure who deals with the management of Health, Safety and Environment within the company.

In general, the technical expertise of an HSE Manager represents a key value for the company because through the processes of monitoring and analyzing the Management System indicators, they convey to management objective elements that are necessary for decision-making, allowing them to make more aware business decisions based on reliable sources.

More specifically, the HSE manager promotes the dissemination of laws and company procedures pertaining to HSE and the development of a culture of safety and environmental protection. The HSE Manager is responsible for drafting and updating the documentation required to comply with safety and environmental obligations, managing safety and environmental protection systems and maintaining relations with the competent authorities and certification bodies.

The HSE Manager is therefore normally also responsible for the Prevention and Protection Service (RSPP), who is not, as is widely believed, the company’s safety manager. The RSPP works to enable the implementation of legal health and safety requirements in the workplace. They provide risk assessment and identification of safety measures, the development of specific safety procedures and propose training plans for workers.

How has the role of the HSE Manager evolved over the years?

Over the years, the HSE sector has undergone a major regulatory evolution that has significantly encumbered and complicated the role. However, what has had the greatest impact on the evolution of the HSE Manager’s role has been the rapid increase in people’s awareness of the issue. I believe that this phenomenon is linked to the fact that the culture of safety and environmental protection is constantly nurtured both in the workplace and in our private lives: workers and citizens are two sides of the same coin.

The HSE manager has therefore had to evolve by defining strategies that allow for an ever-greater involvement of workers in the company’s decision-making and developmental processes, but also an effective interaction and transparent communication with the community, particularly the local community. This is why sharing tools such as the EMAS Environmental Declaration and the Corporate Sustainability Report are becoming increasingly important.

One might also ask what the ultimate goal of this evolution is.

The role of HSE manager is destined to become extinct. This will happen when the level of HSE culture has reached full maturity. With the so-called “Generative” level, it will no longer be necessary to have a dedicated service.

What are the main challenges you face in your work within SUANFARMA Italia?

The real challenge is to adequately support the company in its long-term path towards being a sustainable business.

In increasingly complex companies, in the management of which both internal and external factors and direct and indirect impacts must be taken into account, traditional vertical skills are no longer sufficient to rise to the challenge. It is essential to identify, find and effectively work together with those who have the right skills. Fortunately, there is no shortage of talent in this company, and we are also well aware of our strengths and weaknesses.

It is also important to take advantage of new technologies; digitization and innovation are essential. It is essential that everyone is aware of their responsibilities and that their contribution is recognized.

What goals in terms of environmental health and safety has the company achieved in the last year?

As everyone knows, the last year has been marked by the COVID-19 health emergency. This event, which has had and continues to have a global and transversal impact, has heavily distorted (negatively but in some cases positively) the indicators that had been designed to monitor the proper functioning of company processes in “normal” contexts.

The main result achieved, and one that should make us all proud, is that the organization was able to rapidly and positively cope with the epidemiological emergency, guaranteeing continuity of production by implementing protocols that made it possible (thanks to a joint effort) to not have any case of transmission of the virus in the workplace.

Focusing exclusively on this important goal could lead one to think that little else has been done. In reality, even in this difficult context, we still managed to achieve important goals such as, for example, obtaining ISO 14001 Certification, ISO 5001 and EMAS Registration, laying a solid foundation for a drastic reduction of waste, both hazardous and non-hazardous, through the installation and commissioning of the new sewage sludge drying plant, the installation of the pervaporation column and the development of the distillation process for the recovery of solvents that would otherwise be disposed of as waste.

3 nouns to describe SUANFARMA Italia:

Participation, culture and commitment.

Related news