If you have a proactive approach, there is no need to ‘pour oil on troubled waters’!

By Ashraaq Wahab

Sustainability and Risk Champions of the John Keells Group act as vital tools in fully integrating sustainability and risk management within business unit strategies and operations, with the objective being to achieve business unit objectives and Triple Bottom Line performance. Sustainability and Risk Champions are expected to obtain, analyse and provide information and recommendations for management decision making and strategy development. The duties of these two roles range from tracking sustainability and risk performance, benchmarking, implementation of initiatives, assurance, reporting, supply chain sustainability/risk management, awareness creation and sharing of best practices and knowledge amongst each other.

As the Assistant Manager for Health, Safety and Environment at Lanka Marine Services (LMS) of the John Keells Group, the importance which The Group places this area makes my day-to-day job that much easier.

LMS is involved in delivering bunker fuel to ships; due to strict Health and Safety Environment (HSE) policies within the Group and the Company as well as related training and drills, together with the sustainability processors and practices, we are proud to say that we have conducted our operations with zero spills during the last twelve months.

At LMS we inculcate in our staff the importance doing thing right the first time, to adhere to the regulations and also to have our own processors going beyond the call of the law. For example, the garbage removal process is governed by regulations issued by Marine Environmental Protection Authority (MEPA) and garbage and sludge oil remaining in barges are typically removed every month. We have made it a practice that before the service is obtained from a third party we ask for the MEPA certification from the relevant service provider and also all documentation pertaining to removal of garbage and sludge is maintained aboard the Barge together with the MEPA certificate.

The health and safety of our crew members are equally important. Therefore, Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) trainings are conducted on a regular basis and it is mandatory that all crew members and any outsourced staff attend. Also, the use of personal protective equipment (helmet, gloves, safety shoes, eye protection) by barge crews when engaged in any form of operations is enforced and checked periodically to verify proper use.

We also take additional steps to improve health and safety of our crew members; meetings are conducted aboard barges on a regular basis to understand any issues faced and LMS complies with all local and international regulations in respect of crew related matters. Training on proper incident reporting guidelines are also conducted aboard all three barges and Occupational First Aid Training by Red Cross is conducted for all staff, annually. Monthly HSE meetings and audits continue, and there is zero tolerance applied to any breaches.

I’m also proud that LMS has successfully obtained the renewed OHSAS 18001:2007 certification valid from 31st December 2014 to 27th December 2016 for the import, store and delivery of bunker fuels and lubricants to vessels. That’s not all! Being a service provider to international oil majors such as BP, Mobil and Shell, LMS has its own HSE guidelines which surpass the requirements set by The Group and these guidelines and procedures have been checked and approved by some of the global oil majors.

The exposure and experience in my role has provided me opportunities to understand the risks and hazards in regular tasks which we often take for granted until an incident happens, and has contributed greatly to my personal and professional development. With increased awareness about the concept of sustainability among customers, corporates and the general public, it is important to practice a proactive approach, and my job has enabled me to better hone that skill.