Safety Interview

Nguyen Duc An - Senior Manager / Safety

Interviewer: The coronavirus outbreak keeps evolving at a dizzying speed, as the role of Construction Safety Manager, please share the most effective management method from your experience to ensure the safety of  project, workers and progressive schedule?
Nguyen Duc An: To be honest, I do not have much experience in epidemic fighting; however, to  minimize risks and prevent incidents from escalating any further, we need to avoid  the occurrence of incidents. In my opinion, in order to avoid the spread of infected people (incidents) at the construction site (Gemba)  that may delay the overall progress, we need to detect and isolate workers who have the symptoms caused by the covid-19.

To do this, the security team coordinates with the gate guard, OVC command and subcontractors/suppliers to take body temperature measurement every day for all people working here before entering the gemba. If workers have a high body temperature, they are not allowed to enter the construction site and request them for medical examination and treatment at home or at hospital until they are sure they are completely well; moreover,  during weekly safety meeting with workers, we are conducting propaganda  on the symptoms of disease, how to wash hands, wear a mask and training them to prevent the spread of disease. On the whole, we follow the instructions of the Ministry of Health on epidemic prevention.

Interviewer: You have been working for Obayashi since 2005 until now; firstly as an M & E Engineer (Mechanical & Electrical), then challenging yourself in a new role as Safety Manager, what are the main changes in your career?
Nguyen Duc An: Due to the need of company, I was permanently shifted from M&E Engineer to Safety Manager. I took on new assignment with the motto “Take the change”. Fortunately, thanks to the support from the Board of Management and everyone, I have inherited, maintained and improved the safety system of OVC based on the standards of The parent company (Obayashi Corporation) as well as the standards of the OHSAS 18001: 2007 system and the upcoming ISO 45001: 2018.

Interviewer: Establish and track contractor safety KPIs, which KPIs is your tool for advancing safety?
Nguyen Duc An: At present, regarding safety system our company is using demerit points to evaluate subcontractors. This index is based on the total number of unsafe acts, related to the total number of safety incidents at a statistical ratio according to the theory of "accident triangle": (accident triangle: unsafe acts => 300~600 near misses => 30 minor accidents => 10 serious accidents => 1 fatal accident)
Total incidents related to safety and time lost rates - is one of the latest tools for advancing contractor safety. Therefore, in the future, the Safety Committee will try to complete the system to collect data on incidents and downtime due to incidents or accidents of subcontractors in order to have a monitoring and evaluation system. KPI prices of contractors are better.

Interviewer: Things to consider for safety of a project?
Nguyen Duc An: In my point of view, we need to consider the following issues for the safety of a project:

- Preparation work: having detailed plan for execution including hazard identification, risk assessment and introduction of preventive method for each job on safety;   working layout and temporary layout (Method); Sufficient and properly trained personnel (Man); Machines ensure safety (Machine); Materials are arranged in the right place, no obstructed, have safety instructions when being chemicals harmful to health (Material) and finally have adequate budget for safety, no truncated (Money).

- Monitoring and implementation of safety at the project: This is the main task to ensure safety for the project. This work requires the cooperation of safety personnel workers, supervisors and technical managers on site in the spirit of "Safety is our culture".

- Safety training to raise people's awareness: This is a work conducted in parallel with the safety supervision and implementation at the project. All Gemba staffs must be given safety instructions before working at site, must be trained in professional and safety skills to carry out the assigned task. In addition, they must be periodically retrained to create habits and update knowledge about safety.

Interviewer: How do you educate on-site workers regarding safety procedures and how do you ensure their safety?
Nguyen Duc An: Safety training is a pretty good way to ensure safety for workers because it raises awareness about their safety. From a good sense of security, they will find a way to do their job more safely, proactively ask for and take safety measures for themselves because they know they are protecting themselves.

Currently, on the construction site, safety training for workers is carried out in the following orders:

- Safety Induction training for workers before entering the site: site regulations and basic safety procedures are communicated to workers.

- Everyday, in the morning safety meeting, the safety process of the work that will be done during the day will be reminded to workers (what is dangerous job, how to work safely).

- Every week, during a meeting with all workers and commanding staff, unsafe behaviors of workers and some basic safety procedures are presented by images (or video clips).

- Monthly safety meeting (Safety Monthly Talk with workers) has a  praised content giving gifts for individuals who perform well in the month. Everyone will be treated with beverage at the meeting.

Interviewer: What are some safety precautions for scaffolding?
Nguyen Duc An: Scaffolding is always the focus of safety work when working on high. Therefore, the company has issued a Safety Handbook on scaffolding (type H). The current problem of scaffolding on construction sites is the asynchronous quality of components of scaffolding (scaffold - working platform, staircase, ...) as well as erection, maintain the status quo and maintain scaffolding.

These issues have been improved for perimeter scaffolding with professional contractors. This year, the safety committee will coordinate the main structural subcontractors to standardize the two main components of the scaffolding, constructing and the access path.

Interviewer: As a safety manager, what is your management style?
Nguyen Duc An: (LOL) I'm an Aquarius as zodiac sign; therefore, my management style is to work with employees; they consider me to be a kind person.

Interviewer: In 2020, what are your plans in life and work?
Nguyen Duc An: For work, improving safety monitor and aware of safety responsibility for site engineers is an annual task to be done. In addition, converting and upgrading safety system certificates from OHSAS 18001: 2007 to ISO 45001-2018 is also a scheduled task.
About private life, this year, I will explore the beauty of Vietnam with my family by my car.

Thank you so much for your sharing! I am waiting your story about your next trip with your family.