'The NEBOSH International General Certificate demonstrates that you see your role as a career and not just a job'

Case Study: Mohammad Hasan

We spoke to Mohammad Hasan, an HSSE Manager at Sealand-Maersk, whose passion and dedication has helped hugely improve the safety at the port where he works.

Mohammad, you have worked for Sealand – A Maersk Company, a global logistics and shipping company, since 2018. Can you tell us a little about the organisation?
Sealand – A Maersk Company is a business arm of Maersk, a global integrator of logistics services, that aims to make shipping a happy journey for customers by combining in-depth knowledge and cutting edge innovation with industry-leading expertise. We try to use agility, speed and care to optimise logistics and create customised solutions. Sealand has regional offices covering North, Central and South America, Asia, Europe, North Africa and the Black Sea so we’re basically a worldwide business.

What made you choose health and safety as a career?
I have previously held various port and vessel operations roles which gave me a good understanding of the risks that my colleagues face each day. Moving into health and safety meant I could use this insight in new ways to have a positive impact in my workplace. I suppose that was the first thing that made this career attractive to me – I expected it would allow me to make a difference.

I also felt that moving into health and safety would give me more choice and opportunities longer term. Every sector needs health and safety expertise, so the move has opened up options to specialise in environment, construction or manufacturing for example.

So how did the opportunity to move from operations to health and safety come about?
I had worked for various organisations operating out of the Chattogram Port in Bangladesh since 2009. My desire to move from operations to health and safety began in 2019. The first six months of that year proved to be a tragic time for everyone based at the port, as 11 workers lost their lives whilst on duty. I wanted to do all I could to ensure this never happened again.

When I heard that Sealand had initiated a safety drive as part of its response I wanted to be part of it. Lots of new safety initiatives came out of this and a new HSSE team was created to make improvements and monitor the impact these had on overall safety performance and the mindset of workers. I put myself forward to join this team and was asked to lead it as HSSE Manager.

Do you enjoy your job?
I do yes because it gives me the opportunity to use my passion and determination to make a difference through my varied role. I organise regular safety briefings and hook points monitoring (this takes place jetty-side where container loading and unloading happens), create awareness through training for the workers, and organise weekly meetings with management to keep them updated on safety improvements and challenges. The effort is worth it because we have now achieved zero incidents and zero fatalities for two consecutive years at the port, which is so rewarding.

You completed your NEBOSH International General Certificate in 2021. Why did you take this qualification?
I have always considered the NEBOSH International General Certificate to be a very prestigious qualification. I had practical experience but the qualification allowed me to gain knowledge on health and safety in the workplace, which I use to further raise awareness among workers about various hazards and their solutions. It is a great indicator of what I know and can do.

How did this qualification benefit you?
I wanted to supplement my experience with an internationally recognised qualification, which the NEBOSH International General Certificate is. The practical aspect has given me a better grasp of risk assessment and risk profiles, as well as an enhanced knowledge of how to approach different aspects of health and safety that I can implement in my workplace. Through my studies I was made aware of many hazards, their related risk factors and potential approaches to avoid them. I also learnt that as well as the morality of health and safety, it has many legal and financial ramifications.

Gaining my International General Certificate has enhanced my confidence to handle any hazardous situations that arise in the shipping operations at Chattogram Port and find solutions. Taking my qualification has also inspired me to push on, and I would now like to extend the HSSE drive to other Sealand-Maersk locations in Bangladesh.

I believe that the International General Certificate is essential for every safety professional who aspires to broaden their HSSE knowledge and develop a positive safety culture in their workplace, keeping it free from risks and hazards. It demonstrates that you see your role as a career and not just a job.

Within the health and safety function at Sealand-Maersk, is there anything you have implemented that has already had a positive effect? Has completing your IGC made you approach anything differently, or in a more in-depth way?
After taking the International General Certificate I have been able to put some things in place at field level which have a great impact on workers. For example, I have increased awareness that while you are carrying heavy objects like twist locks or spreader hooks, you need to get close to that object and lift it carefully. I have also identified the need to change any faulty spreader hooks immediately to protect workers and have approached the company about this to avoid injuries and fatalities.

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?
I enjoy this profession because I get to help people to avoid accidents and hazards as well as reducing absenteeism and staff turnover. It is also satisfying to ensure that the workplace is safe, efficient and productive.

What would be your advice be to anyone at the start of their health and safety career?
I would advise people to always keep learning. Establish a solid basis for further professional knowledge from doing the job and gaining experience. Then compliment that by enrolling onto a course like the NEBOSH International General Certificate to develop your career.