Manifesting the safety culture
“Every safety observation is a life saved”, says Sahabuddin Ahmed.
My father wanted me to be a doctor. I, on the other hand, underwent NCC cadet training as I wanted to enrol in the army. However, my calling, I realised later, was to be in HSE where I am now. A tough choice, at a time, when awareness, interest and standards around safety in India is everyone’s guess. I recollect many times when one had to plead for safety helmets and suits from site contractors.
Safety, as a mind-set, has taken a more definitive form in the last 10-12 years. In 2008, I joined thyssenkrupp, and my journey to belong to one of the finest safety cultures started. The independence that comes with my role, its compliant processes and the openness of the management to take actions wherever necessary are some of the reasons that root me to this company.
In my current posting at Numaligarh Refinery limited (CDU-VDU site) in Assam, I have the opportunity to be near my birthplace. I am flooded with memories from my childhood, when along with my friends, I have trekked these numerous hills and walked the banks of the Brahmaputra. Once, during NCC cadet training, we had to make a round-trip from my native in Sivasagar to Dibrugarh, a 100-mile ride on a bicycle in a day. It was strenuous, but the picturesque journey along the way made it bearable. That for me, is the essence of this beautiful state.
From my mother, a teacher, I inherited the habit of reading. She purchased two books every month which I had to read and summarise at the end of that month. Till this day, every evening, I make time for reading, if not then I listen to music. I enjoy playing football too and don’t miss an opportunity to play. Cooking engages me and although my wife cooks well, when I visit home in Kakinada, my kids, 17 and 15, urge me to cook Assamese cuisine. Their support in my career comforts me to dispense my duties well.
With weather changes and torrential rains in Assam, nature can impact the project schedule inter alia the supply of material, power outage and loss of network connectivity. At site, each day begins with the knowledge that things may go wrong if due care is not taken, that everyone needs to feel safe while working and that humans can err. One of my strongest focus areas is to align everyone to the safety mind-set through weekly talks, by sharing the lessons learnt, by remaining alert. Every safety observation is equivalent to a life saved. Thus, I feel I have a larger role to play here, by mitigating potential risks.
Perhaps, as a doctor too, I would have done the same thing.