Safety first: Is safety a necessity or a luxury?
Based on the perspective, safety can be a requirement, a necessity or a luxury, but this month’s issue of PMV makes it clear which way the Gulf region is headed
The word safety is an industry buzzword, and a buzzword is only ever endowed with as much meaning as there is sincerity in the intent of an organisation that claims to champion it.
Just as the banner of sustainability is often abused, proclamations in defence of safety can all too often reveal themselves to be hollow and meaningless sentiments in the fullness of time.
How many tragedies have been preceded by confident assurances that everything is safe? The crane in Makkah would no doubt have been proclaimed safe by its operators right up until the moment it fell. But how many months of court proceedings were required to force the admission that there had been safety lapses? Words will always be cheap, and actions will always speak louder than words.
However, safety can be just as much of a rallying cry as a misnomer, given the right voice or actor. It is therefore apt that one focus of this month’s issue of PMV is the ‘industrial theatre’ programme currently being implemented by the Al Naboodah Group — and which SHEQ GM Robert Munn notes is proving to be a powerful tool in reshaping the behaviour of its workforce.
In fact, the issue is replete with examples of companies proffering a route to greater safety in one form or another, including Mammoet’s disruptive idea to kick heavy-duty crawler and mobile cranes out of the wind energy business in favour of a more modest, safer alternative.
As is the case every summer in the Gulf, examples also abound of road safety campaigns — conducted with varying degrees of success, but always earnestness. However, it is certainly reasonable to read the rollout by Volvo Trucks of its safety features as potentially impactful, not least since much of the tech has long roamed European highways and delivered proof of its effectiveness in falling accident statistics.
Indeed, there are few segments where the link between safety and risk is more pertinent than in transportation — where the cost of accidents involving heavy commercial vehicles tends to be wildly disproportionate to the cost of mitigating the risk. This month’s special report on trailers and truck bodies also sheds significant light on safety-oriented trends in this segment.
The powered access industry has also worked hard, as a collective, to deliver a range of safety devices to save operators from themselves.
The following pages discuss all these themes, so sit back, enjoy, and most of all, stay safe.