(Not) flying the NINA flag

"In Egypt we’re constructing the new Suez Canal. Under enormous time pressure hundreds of trucks are coming and going to supply millions of cubic meters of sand, over 100,000 transport movements a day.

We see drivers all the time playing with their mobile phones, crane operators on flip-flops, ‘greasers’ who are less than eighteen years old and who do not speak English, swarming around and under the equipment. They don’t seem aware of any work-related risks. But what is our role in this? The NINA flag does not fly on this project. In the consortium ‘safety’ is part of the portfolio of NMDC (Abu Dhabi). Their system plays a leading role.

This causes us dilemmas and frustration. Because since NINA we can no longer shrug our shoulders when we see a shovel driving around with 15 men in the trailer body. But is that our concern? It definitely is. Suez shows us that the NINA flag doesn’t need to fly to have an impact. What’s inside must come out. We see that local people are eager to learn. Therefore we deploy experienced people who can pass on their knowledge. We have recruited good SHE officers who speak Arabic and English in order to facilitate communication. This way we do the best we can in the context, and we respond to what happens. That’s NINA as well.”

Blog by Gert Jan Peters, project manager Lot 3 Suez Project and Jouke Koning, HSE Adviser.