As safety issues have become major concern among companies, government and a host of stakeholders, safety should be front of mind in our daily actions and it needs to be embedded in our cultural DNA, says Dr. Yasmine Hilton, Chairman of Shell India Markets Private Limited said. In an exclusive interview, Dr. Yasmine speaks to Jayashankar Menon about Shell’s initiatives on creating safety awareness. Excerpts:
JM: What initiatives should all stakeholders take to ensure road safety?
YH: Organisations must ensure that safety is kept at the forefront of everyone’s mind so that people instinctively recall the rules. If safety is embedded in our work culture, it will help us to ask the right questions and make the right choices at every step – whether in engineering design or implementation, during maintenance or to prevent accidents at work. Our goal should be to make safety a part of people’s daily habits. The need to change our culture to create a society where every life matters. Safety should be front of mind in our daily actions; it needs to be embedded in our cultural DNA.
JM: What are the best safety practices adopted by the oil and gas industry?
YH: Safety issues have become an increasing concern with companies, government, and a variety of stakeholders. Almost every other week, there are programmes that are conducted to make people aware of incorporating safety measures in everyday lives. Shell India has been one of the leaders in adopting the best safety practices in the country and world over. In the oil and gas industry, risks to human life are high relative to other sectors – perhaps an inevitable consequence of the challenging environments in which it operates. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health reported last year that the occupational fatality rate was one of the highest globally from 1993-2010 compared with other professions. Since 2010, important lessons have been learnt. The sector has redefined its approach to safety with clear protocols established to reduce accidents.
JM: What are the safety initiatives taken by Shell India?
YM: At Shell, we treat the need for constant safety awareness as a top priority. Each year we designate one day globally as ‘Safety Day’. This is when we reflect on experiences and safety performance over the year, reassess and scrutinise our own safety-related behaviour. In addition, Shell has mandated twelve simple life saving rules for its employees around the world. These include wearing helmets on motor bikes and seat belts both in the front and back seats of vehicles, and not using mobile phones while driving – even ‘hands-free’. In particular to road safety, Shell recently flagged-off the first phase of ‘Road Safety Education in Schools’ – a road safety awareness initiative, in Surat across Nobel Public School, St. Mark’s High School, Shree Swaminarayan H. V. Vidhyalaya and Vanita Vishrams English Medium School (Girls). This road safety awareness initiative will be subsequently conducted in several cities in a phased manner. This programme is targeted at school students of Class VI and VII and also involves a Road Safety Solidarity Walk, where students walk up to the nearest traffic junction from their school with Road Safety placards to spread the message of road safety to public. The programme is being implemented by Fleet Forum (an International NGO).