The editorial staff of Getsiz.ru was visited by Ashok Garlapati, Region IX Vice President of the American Society of Safety Professionals, ASSP. We asked Mr. Garlapati to answer the questions of Getsiz.ru.
Dear Mr. Garlapati, please tell us about the ASSP Association.
ASSP is a global safety professionals association. This is a voluntary community with 38,000 members. The branches of the Association are in 80 countries of the world. The organization was founded in 1911, a few months after one of the biggest tragedies in the workplace — a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist garment factory, which killed 146 people. The investigation revealed serious irregularities in the organization of work at the factory. This incident was the impetus for the creation of a law on safety in enterprises. The law was adopted thanks to the active participation of activists who created the United Association of Inspectors for Accidents, renamed the American Society of Safety Engineers in 1914. In 2017, ASSE was further renamed as American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP).
What is the core activity of ASSP?
The intent of our mission has not changed for more than 100 years. We work hard to promote the profession and people who are making efforts to prevent workplace injuries, illness and death.
Our members work in federal committees, support changes in legislation in the field of occupational safety, health and environmental protection, and raise public awareness on these issues.
How does ASSP work in other countries?
I worked for many years in the Kuwait Oil Company, which is a subsidiary of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC)). I am now an occupational health and safety consultant of Drilling & Technology Directorate of Kuwait Oil Company. In 2001, we established an ASSP subsidiary in Kuwait. Now it is the second largest foreign affiliate of ASSP, with more than 800 plus members. I am currently responsible for branches not only in Kuwait, but throughout the World ASSP Chapters located at Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, India and Latin America.
Our main activity is the exchange of experience and advanced training. We have trainers and courses accredited by the international organizations and also promote standards of international organizations such as US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Is your association represented in Russia?
How to open a branch of ASSP?
If you find 40 people interested in working with ASSP, you can apply for a branch, which has an approval process and you can contact me or look at www.assp.org.
What are the requirements for joining ASSP?
There are no special requirements. The annual fee is 60 US dollars. The main thing is the desire to work and take initiative. If Russian labor protection engineers are interested in joining ASSP, we are ready to hold a webinar at ASSP platform, where we will explain the principles of requirements and answer questions.
Mr. Garlapati! You have worked for many years in the field of labor protection in the oil and gas industry in the Middle East. Tell us about the Middle East PPE market.
The countries of the Middle East are major exporters of oil and gas to the world. National oil companies are focusing more about safety at the work. At the level of national companies, there is an active dialogue not only on labor protection, but also on various technical issues. At least once every three month, there are meetings of heads of national companies on various issues, ASSP actively participates and supports in such events. It should be noted that many oil companies were established with the participation of foreign partners. For example, the world’s largest oil company, Saudi Aramco, was created as a result of a concession agreement with the American companies, and the highest standards for occupational safety still exist there.
Which Middle East oil companies have the highest requirements for PPE?
Many oil and gas companies like Saudi Aramco (Saudi Arabia), Abu Dhabi National Petroleum Company (ADNOC), Kuwait Oil company etc have the highest requirements for PPE to ensure incident free drilling operations.
Can you share your experience of providing PPE to the Kuwaiti Petroleum Corporation, where you have been working for many years?
KPC has high requirements for PPE. It should be noted that the countries of the Middle East are getting developed with own national standards. Supplied products must comply with international standards such as ASTM (American Standard), EN etc But there are special requirements: PPE must withstand temperatures from 5 to + 55 C. KPC has an internal corporate standards for all equipment including PPE, this shall be complied by employees and contractors.
Which manufacturers of PPE are the most active in the Kuwait market?
These are MSA, Dräger, Ansell, 3M etc also local dealers. Now Asian companies from China, India, Pakistan etc companies are actively entering in the market.
Is it possible for Russian manufacturers of personal protective equipment to participate in the procurement of PPE?
If the products of Russian manufacturers meet the international standards of EN or ASTM or prove that their standards are equivalent, then they can always get a chance. The KPC company has a procedure and subject matter experts who study the characteristics of new PPE and their compliance with the internal standards of the company.
Are there any foreign HSE specialists in KPC?
Yes, we have a multinational composition. Presented more than 65 nationalities. Most of the engineers are from India, Egypt etc, there are also employees from Europe, Kazakhstan etc
How is injury rate monitored? What is the dynamics?
In our company, there are more than 75,000 employees which includes company and contractor employees. In the division where I worked for many years, Drilling Directorate of Kuwait Oil Company, which employs around 1,000 people, not counting contractors.
In the past year, around 180 cases of injuries were recorded. Of these, around 40% are hand injuries. There was one fatal accident. Now the company pays a lot of attention towards driving safety training, with a hands on training on simulators.
How does the company solve the problem of hand injuries?
Hand injuries were and remain the most serious problem on drilling rigs. Four years ago, this type of injury reached 60-70% of the total number of injuries. Impact protection gloves with multi-protection began to be used by workers, and hand injuries dropped to 40%.
What Impact protection gloves are currently used in KPC?
There are multi national reputed companies supplies like Ansel etc
Recently, the topic of SMART PPE is popular. Is PPE with SMART technology used in Kuwait?
One supplier recently asked the national company to try out “smart” helmets with the ability to transmit voice and information. The theme of smart PPE using Artificial Intelligence (AI) is gaining momentum in the world.
We thank Mr. Galrapati for an interesting interview. The role of professional communities is very large in the worker protection markets of America and Europe. We hope that Russian safety engineers will be interested in participating in the work of the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), and we look forward for the opening of a new ASSP branch in Russia.
Getsiz.ru thanks Alphatech for its help in arranging the interview.