It became clear that the International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety was the most valued OSH certificate in the Middle East!

Case Study: Nishanth. P, Project Health & Safety Manager for Gulf Contracting Co. W.L.L

NEBOSH spoke to Nishanth. P, Project Health & Safety Manager for Gulf Contracting Co. W.L.L. We find out why Nishanth chose a career in health and safety and how this led him to be based in in the Middle East.

Why did you choose a career in health and safety?

After completing my academic studies, I was looking for a profession that I could make my future.  A friend suggested health and safety and it really appealed because it provided an opportunity to prevent accidents and potentially save lives. I wanted to learn more, and it quickly became my passion.


What inspired you to move to the Middle East to pursue a career in the OSH (Occupational Safety and Health) sector?

I was looking for an opportunity to develop my career and enhance my knowledge in OSH. Many of my OSH professional contacts had chosen to emigrate to the Middle East and I could see they were working on exciting projects. I was an ambitious 21-year-old and hoped that making the same move would provide me with similar opportunities.

In 2008, I secured a role with a leading contracting company - Gulf Contracting Co. W.L.L – in the State of Qatar. Since joining this company, I have worked on a range of challenging and rewarding projects, which have allowed me to develop my skills and upgrade my knowledge. I have been very fortunate.


Why did you choose the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety?

After moving to the Middle East, I started to look to add to my professional health and safety qualifications. After discussing my options with experienced OSH colleagues based in the region, I decided to take the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety. From my conversations it was clear to me that this was the most valued OSH certificate in the Middle East. Whilst looking through its syllabus, I realised it would help me upgrade my knowledge and I completed the qualification in 2010.


Did you find the qualification useful and enjoyable?  

Yes, I really enjoyed it!  I found the course interesting and relevant to my roles and responsibilities. This qualification unlocked different aspects of health and safety to me, and I particularly enjoyed the practical aspects that focused on Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment.


How did you juggle work and studying?

I found it difficult at first, but once I found a way to make my studies part of my daily routine that really helped. I prepared a detailed timetable to balance my time between my work and studies.


What made you go on to take the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety?

I decided to take a Level 6 Diploma after securing a promotion to Project Health & Safety Manager. I was going to be handling complex government construction projects in the State of Qatar and felt this warranted a qualification upgrade! Again, I spoke to my peers and the NEBOSH International Diploma was the qualification that most people recommended. I looked at the course content, which looked fascinating, so signed up.


What impact has having NEBOSH qualifications had on your career?

NEBOSH qualifications have boosted my confidence and enhanced my professional skills. In addition, they have helped me to achieve the personal milestones in my career and given me the opportunity to work in different challenging environments and on complex projects. They have assisted in unlocking a new path in my life and chasing my dreams of achieving excellence in the OSH profession.


Can you explain what your current role is and how your responsibilities have changed due to COVID-19?

COVID-19 has certainly added to my responsibilities. I work closely with the Crisis Management team, who include representatives from senior management, our clients, and consultants.  I am responsible for ensuring our COVID-19 mitigation plan is kept up to date and everyone complies with it.  Clear communication has been critical in achieving this.  

I also own ‘breaking the COVID-19 chain’. For this I have set up a procedure to trace contacts and implemented physical distancing measures in all our workplaces and the accommodation Gulf Contracting Co. W.L.L. provide for its workers.

COVID-19 has been challenging and is something that no one in this generation has experienced before.  I keep learning and engaging the team to overcome this pandemic in a safe way.

The company’s response to COVID-19 reflects its commitment that everyone goes back home safely and its great vision of MAKESAFETYPERSONAL.  Working with Gulf Contracting Co. W.L.L., has always given me pride and satisfaction as an OSH Practitioner.


What do you enjoy most about your OSH career?

I really enjoy the smiling faces of workers from different countries. We are like one family and I enjoy that we all work together to prevent accidents so everyone can go home safely.


Are there any aspects you do not enjoy?

My motivation for entering this career was to make a difference and keep workers safe so I get frustrated whenever health and safety is not taken seriously.  Taking shortcuts or working outside the safety rules can lead to accidents. I work hard to influence others, so they don’t take any chances with their own or others health and safety. Having to deal with the aftermath of an accident is the worst thing any Health and Safety practitioner faces, so I do everything in my power to avoid this.


I see you are a member of our NEBOSH Alumni, do you value this service?

I am proud to be part of NEBOSH Alumni. Learning from other OSH professionals helps raise awareness of best practices and developments from other industries. The NEBOSH Alumni provides great networking opportunities, which is refreshing, and the knowledge learnt from these individuals who are based across the globe has helped me to upgrade myself.


What advice would you give someone who is considering health and safety as a career?

Gain your knowledge and apply this in the field to build experience and skills.  Build relationships with all personnel as this will help you be approachable. A positive attitude is everything, particularly during difficult times. Work hard and follow your passion. Run your race, aim to improve, be better than yesterday!