Promoting health and safety at the workplace

More than 500 staff, contractors and truck drivers of TOTAL Tanzania have been trained on occupational safety and health over the past year. This feat has been made possible through the initiative of alumnus Anderson Mutasingwa from Tanzania, who is championing occupational safety and health at his workplace.

Through Anderson’s efforts and despite a quadruple growth in staff, the company has had zero recordable injury rates and loss of containment, fire incidents, truck accidents and pollution for the past 12 months. Anderson’s efforts have also improved processes and operational procedures like ensuring proper safety controls are followed when receiving and dispatching hazardous products.

Anderson is the Head of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) at TOTAL Tanzania, the largest oil and gas company in the East African country. The Tanzanian depot handles more than 104 million litres of petroleum products daily. Operations are inherently hazardous and require a high level of agility and evolvement. They also require that hazards be quickly identified and that potential risks be anticipated as early as possible and treated.

“HSE is critical to development. If not well managed, Tanzania will continue to lose people, valuable assets and destroy the environment. As the country grows, risk levels increase because there are additional operations, processes, people, equipment and tools to manage,” says Anderson. “HSE becomes more important as a result.”

Anderson completed an Australia Awards Master of Health, Safety and Environment at the Queensland University of Technology in 2016. The program equipped him with skills in work safety, occupational safety, process safety, ergonomics and environmental management, all crucial pillars of HSE management.

Armed with his new knowledge and skills from Australia, Anderson began working on his vision of transforming occupational health and safety in Tanzania. He was driven in part by the alarming statistics Tanzania faced with the Occupational Safety and Health Authority estimating, for example, that more than 11,000 work-related accidents occur a year, with the country spending millions of shillings to compensate occupational accident victims.

Anderson knew there was a better way and through his work is calling for the need to invest in occupational safety and health to reduce direct and indirect costs while improving the performance and productivity of his country.

In making TOTAL Tanzania a model in HSE management, Anderson began working on policy and procedure levels, creating road maps, plans, programs, and conducting HSE training when he joined the company in March 2018. The training built an influential safety culture that prevents occupational and industrial accidents from happening.

He introduced best practice, imparting skills and knowledge in his team and contractors working for the company. This included implementing best practice from other countries and a sanction to those adamant in following safety procedures.

Anderson believes transferring knowledge and skills is the best way to build human capacity. He not only champions health, safety and environment at his workplace, he champions social empowerment through lecturing part-time at the Ardhi University of Tanzania.

Reflecting on his achievements, Anderson attributes his successes to his Australian education and his scholarship enrichment activities while in Australia. This included part-time work in the automobile industry with ARB Corporation Limited as an HSE advisor. Here, Anderson learned how HSE is regulated and actively implemented in Australia, including through schools.

“I’m proud that my work is contributing to achieving Sustainable Development Goal, by ensuring enforcement and compliance with occupational health and safety in workplaces, and preventing deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals,” says Anderson.

Speaking of Anderson’s invaluable contribution, Mr John Bernard, TOTAL Tanzania’s Logistics Manager says, “Anderson has great commitment and a passion for his work. He motivates us to strive for the best. He has created systems and awareness of health, safety and environment, which has resulted in a significant change of culture and staff awareness.”

Picture: Anderson Mutasingwa verifying electrical isolations prior to the beginning of work.

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