Achieving a NEBOSH Diploma supported my goal to become a well-rounded and knowledgeable health and safety professional

Case Study: Diya Jadallah

NEBOSH Diplomate Diya Jadallah is Health, Safety and Environment Manager for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC). In this interview Diya explains his journey into health and safety and what he enjoys most about the profession.

After completing your engineering degree one of your first roles was as a team leader with a company specialising in security, fire and safety systems. Was this when your interest in health and safety began?

Whilst working as a team leader, I gained valuable experience in the technical aspects of designing, installing, and maintaining fire and life safety systems. More broadly though, I began to appreciate the importance of comprehensive safety protocols and procedures in workplaces and other environments where people reside or gather. It was during this posting that my interest in health and safety beyond systems was sparked.

It seems that your health and safety responsibilities have increased with every role you have held. Can you tell us about this evolution?

Absolutely, the amount of time I have devoted to health and safety has increased over time. In my early career my primary focus was on the technical aspects of the systems I helped to design, install and maintain. At that time, I was aware of the importance of safety, but my focus was on ensuring the proper operation and functionality of the installed equipment. Over time my responsibilities evolved from this more technical side of the life & safety systems to a wider health and safety brief.

When did you decide you wanted to make HSE the full focus of your career and how did you make this happen?

It happened gradually as I gained more experience in different roles. The real catalyst came in 2019, when my employer Emaar decided to expand its health and safety management provision, creating new opportunities in its health and safety function. I decided that to take full advantage of the career opportunities this created, I should acquire specialised knowledge to complement my existing experience.

I took the initiative and pursued relevant certifications. I started by obtaining the OHSAS 18001 certification, which laid the foundation for understanding occupational health and safety management systems. Building on that, I pursued the ISO45001 auditor certification to enhance my auditing skills, which proved valuable in assessing and improving safety practices within the organisation. I chose to go a step further and earned the ISO45001 lead auditor certification, which elevated my capabilities to lead and manage higher level health and safety audits and drive positive change.

From the time I obtained these certifications, I actively applied the knowledge gained in my work, and they added significant value to my experience as a health and safety practitioner. The more I delved into health and safety, the more passionate I became about it. I realised that this was the right direction for my career, and I was determined to become a recognised expert in the field.

After extensive research and having considered various options, I decided that obtaining the NEBOSH International Diploma was the logical next step for me. NEBOSH is globally recognised and holds immense weight in the health and safety industry. I knew that achieving this certification would not only validate my expertise but also provide me with a comprehensive understanding of health and safety principles and practices. So, in pursuit of my career aspirations, I dedicated myself to preparing for the NEBOSH certification.

I suppose when I look back, the decision to make HSE the full focus of my career was driven by my employer’s expanding expectations. This opened my eyes to the importance of comprehensive health and safety management and the value that achieving relevant qualifications could bring to me personally and to my employer.

You completed the NEBOSH International Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Professionals in December 2022. Can you tell me:

  • Why appealed to you about this qualification specifically?

Completing the NEBOSH International Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Professionals in December 2022 was a significant milestone in my career. There were several reasons why this qualification appealed specifically.

Firstly, with 17 years in the health, safety, and environment (HSE) field, I was seeking a certification that would challenge me to expand my knowledge and the expertise I had gained through experience. The NEBOSH International Diploma is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious and comprehensive qualifications in the HSE industry. Its international recognition and reputation for academic rigor made it an ideal choice for someone with my level of experience and achievements.

Secondly, having already obtained certifications such as OHSAS 18001, ISO45001 auditor, and ISO45001 lead auditor, I knew that the NEBOSH International Diploma would provide me with a more profound understanding of health and safety principles and practices. It goes beyond the technical aspects and delves into the broader management systems and strategies for ensuring a safe and healthy work environment. This appealed to me as I was eager to gain a holistic perspective on health and safety management, and the NEBOSH Diploma perfectly aligned with this goal.

I felt my NEBOSH Diploma studies supported my commitment to becoming a well-rounded and knowledgeable health and safety professional.

  • How you found your studies?

My studies for the NEBOSH Diploma were a challenging but eye-opening experience. Despite my extensive career in the health, safety, and environment (HSE) field, I quickly realised that the Diploma programme covered a much broader and deeper range of topics than I initially expected.

The field of HSE is vast, with numerous regulations, standards, and best practices to consider from various industries and regions around the world. The NEBOSH Diploma required me to delve into a wide array of subjects. Each topic demanded in-depth understanding and critical analysis to apply the concepts effectively in practical scenarios.

The level of detail and complexity in the coursework was greater than I had anticipated, and I found myself needing to consult a considerable number of references to fully grasp the various concepts. As I progressed through the programme, I realised it not only required a strong theoretical foundation but also demanded practical application of skills to address real-world HSE challenges.

Studying for the NEBOSH Diploma requires dedication and hard work. I had to allocate significant time and effort to review the study materials, engage in self-directed research, and participate in group discussions and practice exercises.

I enjoyed my studies and found it further expanded my knowledge, honed my practical skills, and exposed me to various aspects of health and safety management.

  • How achieving the qualifications has helped you?

Achieving qualifications like the NEBOSH International Diploma has helped me develop a wider and more preventive perspective on work practices and the environment. It improved my risk assessment and management skills, enhanced compliance with regulations and standards, and strengthened my incident investigation abilities. Additionally, it contributed to fostering a robust safety culture and increased my credibility as a health and safety manager, driving continuous improvement in my role.

You were appointed HSE Manager for the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) in Dubai in June 2023. Did your NEBOSH Diploma help you secure this role?

Yes, having the NEBOSH International Diploma played a crucial role in securing the HSE Manager for the DIFC in June 2023. As a well-respected entity, the DIFC sought professionals who could drive continuous improvement in health and safety practices. The NEBOSH diploma, with its comprehensive curriculum and global recognition, demonstrated my expertise and commitment to enhancing HSE standards, making it a key factor in achieving this milestone in my career.

Can you tell us a little bit about your role and responsibilities?

As an HSE Manager, my primary role is to ensure the overall health, safety, and wellbeing of employees, visitors, and other stakeholders of the organisation. I am responsible for developing, implementing, and continuously improving our health and safety and environmental policies, procedures, and management systems. This includes conducting risk assessments, identifying hazards, and implementing appropriate control measures to prevent accidents and incidents. I provide training and raise awareness among employees to promote a strong safety culture. Additionally, I lead incident investigations and root cause analysis to drive improvement and prevent reccurrence.

Compliance with local and international health and safety regulations, along with maintaining emergency response plans, is also part of my responsibilities. Continuous monitoring, audits, and performance assessments ensure ongoing safety optimisation and alignment with industry best practices.

What’s next for you in terms of your professional development?

For my professional development, I aim to deepen my health and safety knowledge through advanced certifications in areas like process safety management and industrial hygiene. Additionally, I'll focus on sustainable practices and integrate them into HSE management. Staying updated with emerging trends and networking will keep me at the forefront of the industry, driving innovative solutions for safety and sustainability.

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?

As a health and safety professional, what I enjoy most is the opportunity to make a tangible impact on people's wellbeing. Promoting a safety-first culture and implementing preventive measures gives me a sense of fulfilment. Additionally, the dynamic nature of the role keeps me engaged, as each day presents new challenges and opportunities for improvement. Being part of a positive change that ensures individuals return home safely is incredibly rewarding.

What would your advice be to anyone who aspires to make health and safety their career?

My advice to anyone aspiring to make health and safety their career would be to embrace dedication and hard work. The field of health and safety requires continuous learning to ensure you stay up to date with evolving regulations and best practice. Pursue relevant certifications and educational opportunities to build a strong foundation of knowledge. Gain practical experience through internships or entry-level positions to understand real-world challenges. Develop strong communication and leadership skills to effectively drive change and promote safety culture. Remember that a career in health and safety is rewarding, as it allows you to positively impact the lives of individuals and contribute to creating safer environments.