Client Interview with Darrell Davis from Sasol
“But we’ve always done it this way!”
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, but not from Darrell Davis. Darrell is the Manager of Safety, Health, Environmental, and Security from Sasol Chemicals (USA) LLC, and a VelocityEHS community member. Darrel shared food for thought on why this mentality has negative consequences.
Sasol Chemicals (USA) LLC (formerly Merisol)
Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemicals company that leverages the talent and expertise of our more than 34,000 people working in 38 countries. We develop and commercialize technologies, and build and operate world-scale facilities to produce a range of product streams, including liquid fuels, high-value chemicals, and low-carbon electricity.
VelocityEHS: Why did you choose a career in EHS?
DD: I originally started working as a chemical engineer, one of my responsibilities was participating in process hazard analysis at the plant. When my former employer added some new EHS positions, I decided to make the transition to the EHS department in the mid-1990s – I enjoy actively promoting safety and environmental compliance throughout the company and to my colleagues. And now, I’m the Manager - SHES (Safety, Health, Environment and Security).
VelocityEHS: What’s your go-to resource for valuable EHS insights?
DD: As a member of ASSE, BCSP (CSP), and the Texas Chemical Council, I am privileged to have access to great resources. Continuing education and training is a requirement for maintaining CSP membership so I’m constantly learning best practices from industry experts. Attending seminars and training is a great hands-on learning experience and an opportunity for further networking.
VelocityEHS: Name one person that’s majorly influenced your career in EHS.
DD: A former colleague, who has since passed away, taught me that the mentality “we’ve always done it this way” doesn’t get you anywhere. The result of this mindset is missed opportunities and unpredictable outcomes. A better philosophy to live by (applicable in all aspects of life I might add) is recognizing the need for change and continually striving for innovative ways to improve. As the chemical industry and EHS profession continue to develop, I’m not afraid of adapting our programs to be more efficient and reduce risk.
VelocityEHS: What do you know now that you wish you’d known earlier in your career?
DD: When I started my career in EHS, I would never have predicted how stringent environmental regulations would come to be, but I’m glad it’s moved in that direction. Environmental policies now deserve equal attention as health and safety, which wasn’t always the case. E-tools like VelocityEHS software keep us accountable to uphold our environmental responsibilities.
VelocityEHS: What’s your long-term EHS vision at Sasol and what do you think your role will look like in the future?
DD: At Sasol, an integral part of our planning and decision making is ensuring we maintain a safe and healthy workplace not only for our employees but also for our neighbors, the environment and for the people that interact with our products. I will continue to uphold our commitment of being 100% compliant as we continue to grow as a company. The security and protection of our employees is also part of my personal responsibility, so we need to continue to find ways to protect the workplace. I will continue to educate, train, and engage all stakeholders to further improve our environmental and safety performance.