Tenaris’s industrial operations in Saudi Arabia have undergone a thorough transformation throughout the last years with safety as the top priority. Leading the team’s efforts to reinforce a strong culture in health, safety and the environment (HSE), is Senior Manager Khalid Al Suwailem, who took on the role in 2020. Al Suwailem, an engineer who started at Tenaris in 2013 as global trainee, has worked in production and maintenance, and is applying his experiences to improve the team’s approach and execution on HSE. He shares what actions have been taken and how the team in Saudi Arabia continues to work towards zero accidents.
What has been the most important safety achievement so far?
There has been a huge change of mindset in the whole team regarding safety and this has already improved our workplace and will continue to impact our operations in the long term. More recently, we’ve achieved over a year without any lost time accidents. Such cultural transformation takes commitment from all levels, starting from the top management and covering our shift leaders and line managers. Throughout the past year, we have broken paradigms, achieving several records such as reducing the Total Injury Frequency Rate at our TenarisSaudiSteelPipes (TenarisSSP) mill by 74% in 2021 and we are working daily to improve these figures even more.
Safety is a core value at Tenaris. What are you doing to ensure this is reflected in the mill’s daily activities?
We have worked on several safety initiatives to improve conditions and practices in our operations, including a campaign on the use of tools that helped reduce injuries related to manual tasks. We have been working hard on the implementation of a new program to set up a systematic, prepared and structured face-to-face communication process to reach every employee at all levels in order to improve safety awareness, knowledge and behavior. We are specially targeting shift leaders through advanced training programs because we believe their role is essential on the shop floor, as they are the ones who can transfer their knowledge to our shop floor employees. When everybody works with discipline and consistency, we can prevent incidents and accidents. But we know we still have big challenges ahead and we’ll continue working on improving our safety standards every day until we reach our ultimate goal of zero accidents.
How have you dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia?
We were the first Tenaris facility to reach a 100% Covid-19 vaccination rate. We offered our employees access to the vaccine by working in collaboration with MODON, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones. Also, we launched campaigns using different platforms to offer support to our community and to raise awareness in order to protect our employees and their families.
"We were the first Tenaris facility to reach a 100% Covid-19 vaccination rate."
Khalid Al Suwailem
What other initiatives has the company launched to improve the general health of employees?
We have just implemented a medical checkup campaign for all our employees to make our people more aware of their health and to encourage them to take preventive actions when necessary. Over 60 people got their medical checkup done at the TenarisSSP infirmary during the first week. Our goal is to continue improving our health efforts and implementing the health initiatives launched by Tenaris globally.
And what about initiatives related to the environment?
We worked on several campaigns to raise awareness, including a Saving Energy Campaign to reduce electrical consumption. Additionally, we have worked on multiple actions aligned with Tenaris’s global objectives for decarbonization.
Some examples are the installation of new LED lights, a new waste area developed for a proper separation of waste, and the reconditioning of the varnishing machines to reduce emissions. We have also been working on improving preventive initiatives by increasing the awareness on reporting and correcting behavioral and conditional findings.