Safety Awareness Training Program

Client: Global Telecom’s Network Infrastructure

A large communications tower

S2 (then Safe Systems) began developing Safety Management Systems in the UK for this large global client in over 20 years ago. They have a reputation for quality and innovation in their industry. Due to the success of what we did for them in the UK we were later asked to manage safety for them in the Middle East & Africa (MEA). Initially we made great strides forward, but in recent times we have been severely challenged by the company’s restrictions on travel, due to cost cutting. Our lack of progress after this point was threatening the viability of us continuing in the role and it started to look like we might lose this valuable contract. 

MEA is a big region with about 56 operating countries spread over a wide area. Within MEA there is a diversity of cultures, local political, security and economic pressures which make it very difficult to use one uniform approach in the management of Occupational Health & Safety. Traditionally we have relied heavily upon our interpersonal skills - going to meet local teams face to face, analysing the situation in that country and developing locally tailored systems to get effective results. This was the key to past successes. But suddenly the ability to make periodic country visits had been removed. Never people to be defeated easily, we had to become more creative, developing new approaches, and this produced some interesting results.

Colin Bowyer - MEA H&S Manager for the client - developed a H&S Awareness Training Program for on-line delivery using on-line communication facilities. The development costs were minimal and the technology readily available – the trainer and trainees only required a laptop and the company already had the system in place. The training meant Colin getting up at 3am to deliver sessions to the further reaches of the MEA Region. It did not do wonders for his sense of humour, but it saved the contract. S2 found that a very large number of staff (particularly Field Engineers) were eager for this kind of training and the demand was far higher than anticipated. S2 received good feedback and gained some useful information on route. Of course, there were environment and travel cost benefits from this system, but that wasn’t all. Field Staff move around a great deal, often out in the wilds, so find it hard to attend 'face-to-face' training, and the costs - in man-hours as well as financial - can be high. ‘No shows’ for expensive face-to-face sessions were common in the past. Using on-line systems had no such penalties. It also means the trainer can train many more people at once – 250 at one session is our record so far, all from their own desks or out in the field, sitting under a big antenna, distributed over a wide area in various countries. All of this helped us to get this company through ISO certification the following year.

INNOVATION: This above experience has helped us a great deal during the pandemic period. We have found that almost any H&S activity can be done remotely – we have even developed systems for carrying out audits by instructing a local security guard, walking him through a building or a site with his smartphone.