Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Sadaf Drives for Safety Excellence

Magazine article Occupational Hazards

Sadaf Drives for Safety Excellence

Article excerpt

Employee participation fuels a dynamic safety program at Saudi Petrochemical Co.

The Sadaf Safety Policy is simple: "Safety is the direct responsibility of each person." Easy to say, easy to remember, hard to implement.

But the employees of the Saudi Petrochemical Co. (nicknamed "Sadaf," which means "sea shell" in Arabic) in Jubail City have made the job of the manager of industrial safety and security a rewarding one.

"Our employees are champions of safety," said Abdullah S. Al-Sekhan. "It is without question the excellent contribution and self-initiative of our employees which has led to the success of Sadaf's Health, Safety and Environmental Management System and the reason for our outstanding world-class safety performance."

Al-Sekhan said that employee involvement has become institutionalized at Sadaf, adding the safety program could not operate without it. Employees are actively involved in each part of the safety process, from helping to create policies to training to monitoring the workplace for hazards.

Sadaf employees serve on safety committees, develop and lead daily and monthly safety meetings, conduct job safety analyses, and write up daily work orders, which include sections about safety. They also submit safety suggestions, report incidents and participate in incident investigations, volunteer as emergency responders and conduct safety audits.

"While management is responsible for initiating safety programs, it is the responsibility of each employee to implement these policies and procedures to ensure safety for themselves and others," said Al-Sekhan.

An outside auditor said the Sadaf safety program equals or surpasses any program he has seen, and that the employees are one of the reasons.

"This is a very well-managed program; one of the best programs I've seen," said Steve Hendricksen of HS&E Compliance Consulting Programs, Houston. "Sadaf is a leader in health, safety and environmental management. It puts a lot of U.S. facilities to shame."

Saying Sadaf "sets the standard in Saudi Arabia," Hendricksen called company employees "the most safety-conscious group I've ever met. They deserve the (Champions of Safety) award. Sadaf employees are very knowledgeable about safety. Safety really is a line responsibility."

Safety by Committee

A good safety program, with full employee participation, begins with top management, said Al-Sekhan, providing a strong foundation. Sadaf management realizes that a strong, effective safety program is an indication of a world-class company, he added.

"Everyone talks about quality. Quality is important, but safety should be more important than quality," said Al-Sekhan. If a company does not provide a safe work environment, it will not be able to keep good employees and it will not be in business long, he added, making the quality of the product moot.

"Our customers want to conduct business with a world-class company. You cannot be a world-class company if safety is not important to you. The safety of our people is most important," he said.

Since the facility first began production in 1986, employee health and safety has been a priority. In fact, employees are told when they are hired that they have three jobs:

* To look out for number one: don't let themselves become injured.

* To look out for the safety of fellow employees.

* To perform the job they were hired to do.

Representatives from the Senior Management Team, along with management representatives throughout the company, serve on the Sadaf Management Health and Safety Committee (MHSC). Al-Sekhan chairs the committee, which includes the general managers of the operations, technical, expansion and service divisions and an engineering advisor.

The MHSC meets monthly to review incident reports, establish company health and safety goals, review company and contractor safety statistics and endorse and sponsor safety-related programs. …

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