Industry majors working to standardise HSE practices

Date Posted: Mar 11, 2019

Industry majors and some companies dealing with the safety aspect in industrial units took an important initiative of forming a committee to enhance and upgrade health, safety and environment (HSE) standards in Oman. As a first step the company representatives met in Salalah and discussed the modalities of having some kind of association with UK-based International Institute of Risk and Safety Management (IIRSM).

If formalised the body would work as IIRSM’s Oman chapter — Oman International Institute of Risk and Safety Management — as a forum for risk professionals to share experiences, best practices and to develop their own skills through professional personal development.
The initiative in this regard has been taken by Raysut Cement Company, National Feed and Salalah chapter of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industries (OCCI).

“The branch will look at all kinds of risks like safety, environmental, natural disasters,” said Frank Higgins, Head of HSE at Raysut Cement while attending the first meeting of the proposed chapter.
Commenting on the underlying reasons for having a standard organisation and a committee to monitor HSE needs of the country, Higgins said, “I have been in Dhofar Governorate for a short time and like any country or region, I find there are varying standards and as such it is very hard to quantify safety standards without visiting every industry sector. I believe, by having an IIRSM branch we can develop better standards across the sectors for the benefit of the region and country as a whole.”

There are areas where an IIRSM branch can support industry to bring new technologies to the region to support the risk programme as the branch has already spoken to specialist sectors to come and demonstrate their equipment and bring training to the branch members.
“The branch is open to members and non-members alike. We also encourage students to join and the IIRSM has given 22 free membership places to students from Salalah and we hope to extend this to other students in the future,” said Higgins while commenting on membership criterion for IISRM’s Oman branch and added that the safety committee would be formed by the end of Q2-2019.

The main risks in the region, according to Higgins, are unpredictable weather patterns that can turn into cyclones. The safety risks are mainly in the construction sectors that involve working at height, transport, and confined space, working in excavations, and environment wise, waste management.

Commenting on perceived changes after the formation of the proposed safety committee, Higgins said the model was quite successful in UAE with which he was also associated.
“The IIRSM had a similar model in the UAE. From this model we developed specialist forums who worked with regulators to develop regulations, to support training for the inspectors and bring new training solutions to the region.

In the UAE we developed a branch in March 2011 where six likeminded people met in a room with the passion to stop the next person being killed or injured in the workplace and to share their knowledge on crisis management. From this meeting the branch grew to over 150 members attending meetings. We also generated local sponsors to support branch activities culminating in annual general meetings or seminars which were free to attend…The branch also worked with regulators to write new or update existing regulations.”