Home > OUR NEWS & MEDIA> President's Speeches & Interviews> Recognition banquet speech 2008

Abdul Rahman Jawahery
President
Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (GPIC)

Your Excellencies
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Let me begin by saying what a great honour and privilege it is for me to receive the "Robert W. Campbell Award 2008 Category II" on behalf of the shareholders, board of directors, employees and business partners of the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (known as GPIC), as well as the people of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

I know that this award will only augment our perseverance and commitment to spreading the culture of health and safety both within GPIC, and across our country.

When I was asked to give a brief talk today, I quickly realised that this would prove to be a daunting task for three simple reasons.
Firstly, I have to speak immediately after lunch, so this is a challenge in itself;

Secondly, my speech follows one by Cornelius Murphy, President and CEO of Fluor Hanford, which is hard to top;
and thirdly, I have been asked to talk to you about commitment to health and safety – but to speak to an audience that is as distinguished and experienced as yourselves, and wholly committed to the concept of health of safety, will not be easy.

Our commitment at GPIC to safety, health and the environment (SHE) starts from within. As employees and managers, we built our SHE management system to be responsive to continual improvement and enhancement.

In doing so, our intentions are clear – to propel GPIC’s business excellence by delivering our services and products to our customers in a responsible and caring manner. And over and above this, we strive to carry our deeply instilled SHE culture outside of our company at every opportunity.

GPIC’s SHE management system is made up of the following building blocks:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Management System OHSAS18001;
  • Environment Management System standard (International Standard Organization (ISO)14001;
  • Quality Management System standard ISO9001;
  • Integrated Management System standard Publicly Available Specification 99 or PAS 99
  • Process Safety Management (PSM); and
  • Information Management System standard ISO27001

The aim of this integrated and overlapping SHE management approach is to make certain that the employees and management are jointly striving to achieve SHE excellence at all times, and that the company is always challenged to enhance its performance and improve its processes.

This integration has enabled us to achieve numerous successes and ensured that we work safely and that our lost time injuries are minimized, while there is no adverse impact from our business activities on the health of the workforce or our surrounding environment.

In Bahrain, GPIC is the representative for the industry in the National Assembly. I am a member of the Shura Council, which is the equivalent of the British House of Lords, and we continually bring SHE issues to the forefront of our agendas. This has translated into some notable legislation including: the introduction of the country’s first public health law; the passage of law for the protection of marine life; the designation of a small bay in Bahrain (known as Tubli Bay) as an environmentally protected area because of its prominence as a shrimp breeding area; and the introduction of a safety and fire protection curriculum in Bahrain’s primary education system.

In addition, GPIC is also actively pursuing the introduction of the first health and safety law in Bahrain through the Ministry of Labour’s Supreme Council for Occupational Safety and Health, as well as introducing another law to establish an executive entity solely responsible for health and safety in Bahrain - similar to the U.S. Department of Labour Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or British Health and Safety Executives.

Ladies and Gentlemen

Through our relentless efforts to inculcate SHE awareness as a way of life in Bahrain, we will endeavour our utmost to ensure that at the national level, Bahrain has a strong and influential legislative system that will protect the workforce and make health and safety an integral part of our culture.

But for GPIC it does not stop there. I am happy to say that GPIC is also very active in promoting SHE awareness at the regional level. Indeed, we foresaw the need for a voluntary and non-profit association for our industry through which we can promote our SHE culture and values.

We were instrumental in the establishment of the Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association (GPCA) in 2004, as a non-profit association serving all the countries in the region. Through membership with GPCA the region benefits from access to a variety of data and resources alongside technical assistance and knowledge required by the petrochemicals and chemicals industry.

Soon after the establishment of GPCA, we created a SHE committee within GPCA to ensure that this technical aspect of our business is given the appropriate attention and focus that it deserves. I am pleased to announce that this relatively young organisation has more than 123 companies as members, and both interest and membership are growing.

We are confident that through GPCA and GPIC’s initiatives regional petrochemical and chemical companies will embrace the principles of performance driven by SHE values to ultimately make our business safer.

Similarly, we established a SHE committee for the Arab Fertilizer Association (AFA) in 2006 to ensure that SHE issues are brought to the forefront of Arab fertilizer companies. Again, I am happy to announce that our efforts are bearing fruit as we will soon establish, for the first time in the region, the AFA’s guiding SHE principles alongside introducing the AFA SHE Award (similar to the National Safety Council’s Robert W. Campbell Award).

Our aim is to ensure that Arab fertilizer companies give SHE initiatives the same due diligence as other key areas of their business such as production and marketing. This is an extremely significant development because for the Arab fertilizer producers, this way of doing business represents nothing short of a paradigm shift.

On an international level and in my capacity as the Chairman of the International Fertilizer Association’s Technical Committee, we were able to introduce a SHE committee in 2005 as an independent arm of the IFA Technical Committee. Again, underlying this initiative has been our commitment to ensure that we have adequate focus on SHE initiatives on the global level.

Ladies and Gentlemen

It is with great pride that I announce today that our efforts through IFA have enabled us to organise the first International Fertilizer Association Global Safety Summit in Bahrain from 14 to 18 March 2009.

This is an extremely significant and pioneering initiative for the fertilizer industry, as we have created a forum where over 150 top fertilizer executives will meet and commit themselves and the industry towards enhanced and improved SHE performance worldwide.

I would like to take this opportunity to invite you all to this summit and to be our guests in Bahrain.

Ladies and gentlemen

We might be a small company but we believe that we have a moral obligation to represent our industry in a manner that benefits humanity worldwide.

In 2005, GPIC won the Sir George Earle Trophy, which is the highest health and safety accolade presented in the United Kingdom by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen of England.

Today, winning the Robert W. Campbell award makes us the one and only unique company to have won both honours. This indeed is heartwarming and clear testimony that the effort of each and every member of the GPIC family is not in vain.

However, the awards now place even greater responsibility on each and every one of us at GPIC towards further embracing SHE initiatives and business excellence - A task that is harder to maintain than to achieve.

Ladies and gentlemen

I would like to assure you that winning the Robert W. Campbell Award will only strengthen our resolve and commitment towards SHE and motivate us to continue to pursue our vision of a safer, healthier and more environmentally caring industry.

We will work with the National Safety Council and our co-winners, Fluor Hanford to ensure that the intent of the Robert W. Campbell award reaches all our partners and business associates. We will further ensure that SHE is not only part of the business culture but is made a core societal value.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the National Safety Council and the Robert W. Campbell Award Executive Committee, the Panel of Reviewers, and the Global Partners for bestowing this prestigious honour on GPIC. In particular, I would like to thank Dr. Mei-Li Lin and her team, especially Kajsa Johnson and John A. Dony, along with the rest of her colleagues who have been working very closely with us over the past few weeks.

I would also like to thank our on-site assessors Mr. Jack Toellner, Lead Safety Advisor at ExxonMobil and Mr. Tony Smith for their critical and objective assessment and verification of our SHE system and procedures.

Their invaluable feedback and comments will indeed further improve our performance and I would like to assure you that we take their comments seriously and will implement them.

I must also thank the Panel of Reviewers who work behind the scenes and have to go through each and every case submittal and select the finalist.

I would like to take this opportunity to also thank our Chairman and Advisor to His Highness the Prime Minister for Oil and Gas Affairs, His Excellency Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, His Excellency Dr. Hussain bin Ali Mirza, the Minister of Oil and Gas Affairs and Chairman of the National Oil and Gas Authority in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Her Excellency Ms Huda Ezra Nonoo, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to the United States of America, and our Board of Directors for their unlimited support and encouragement to the management and employees of GPIC.

Finally, I would like to thank all our employees and business partners who take ownership of GPIC’s SHE management system and make it part of their culture and way of life.

Without our employees, we would not have been able to attain this prestigious award.

Thank you,

Abdul Rahman Jawahery
President