How has occupational safety changed in your lifetime?
Occupational safety provided me with a disciplined and structured professional life, given the fact that I’m involved in a potentially hazardous industry. This disciplined approach has reflected on my personal life and in the way I taught my daughters to be aware of risks and assess situations with safety in mind at all times.
Tell us about a safety incident you witnessed and what safety improvements were made as a result.
Fortunately, I have never been involved in any major safety incidents in my professional carrier. However, major industrial incidents such as the Bhopal Disaster in 1984 and Piper Alpha in 1988 taught me never to relax and to always be aware of hidden dangers. This notion of potential risk made me think of ways to establish safeguards and improvements, thus reducing risks and maintaining operability. The lesson that I learned is that good safety means operational excellence. Without that, one sets themselves and the organization up for possible trouble and potential incidents.
What advice would you leave to the next generation of safety professionals?
Safety is an integral part of the business. To succeed, safety professionals must be qualified and competent to integrate their professional safety skills into business operational excellence. Commitment to the task, establishing an inquisitive mind-set and being relentless in safety are ingredients of success.
Why have you dedicated your life to keeping other people safe?
It is both a moral/ethical and professional commitment for me as a professional engineer, as well as being the right thing to do. Life is precious and we all have families to return to and enjoy. Therefore, my commitment to safety is not an obligation, it is a duty.
What hope do you have for safety in the next 100 years?
It is actually not a hope, but a dream. I dream of safe working places where no injuries or ill health takes place. I dream of societies that are risk-aware and enjoy life without incidents.
What role has NSC played in the safety movement?
NSC was able to bridge the gap between research and incident prevention. This is extremely imperative because without a proper understanding of what causes incidents, we will never be able to prevent them. Hence, the Council’s role is profoundly significant in saving lives and establishing the path for safer work places and communities.