Maintaining a continuous hunger for learning and a willingness to share knowledge is not just a gift but a responsibility

Case Study: Mohamed Adam

NEBOSH Diplomate Mohamed Adam is Egypt Operations Risk Manager for The Kraft Heinz Company. In this interview he shares why he chose to make health and safety his career, what he enjoys most about being in this profession and gives his advice to others considering making similar choices.

When did you decide that you wanted to make H&S and how did you go about making it a reality?
I chose to pursue a career in health and safety after completing my Mechanical and Industrial Engineering BSc degree. I felt that it was a profession that would allow me to utilise my engineering skills to ensure people and assets were protected. This appealed to me especially when combined with the multidisciplinary nature of health and safety.

I can see the first NEBOSH qualification you completed in 2019 was the International General Certificate in Occupational Health.

  • Why did you choose this qualification in particular? 
    My journey into the health and safety began in 2016 when I joined Unilever as a HSE Engineer. My induction training covered a wide range of health and safety subjects including machine guarding and I was also given the opportunity to complete the IOSH Managing Safety course. However, I desired a broader understanding of management systems and how they relate to risk assessment and control in industrial environments. After reviewing options, I felt that the NEBOSH International General Certificate would provide the ideal foundation to expand my knowledge and skills in these areas.
  • Did you enjoy your studies?
    I really enjoyed my studies, particularly the practical case study element, which helped me better understand how to do proper health and safety reporting to management.
  • How did securing this qualification help your career progression?
    Obtaining my first NEBOSH qualification proved to be a pivotal moment in my career. I was transferred to a larger site within Unilever Egypt. Furthermore, the competence and skills I developed through my studies resulted in a promotion to the role of HSE Lead and Safety Pillar Leader.

Amazing! You completed the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management shortly after this move. What was the motivator for this?
The larger site I transferred to was a Home and Personal Care factory. To work there I needed process safety competency as there were processing units, boilers, reactors, and a tank farm on site.

I felt the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Process Safety Management would help me as it covered process safety management and provided an understanding of important terminologies used in this area such as HAZOP, LOPA, ATEX, etc. It was a valuable qualification for me to take as it gave me knowledge relevant to my new work environment which boosted my confidence.

You have held health and safety positions for consumer goods companies since 2016. Can you tell us what you enjoy about working in health and safety in this sector in particular?
Health and safety within consumer goods companies is characterised by its dynamic, challenging, and fast-paced nature. You are continuously addressing supply chain demands, implementing manufacturing and process upgrades, and driving innovation. Health and safety plays is of vital importance in this context.

This environment has further honed my skills in managing and influencing diverse teams and stakeholders across various functions. It has taught me how to effectively advocate for health and safety, ensuring impacts are considered in projects or innovations spanning the entire supply chain spectrum.

You enrolled on the NEBOSH International Diploma in 2020 and completed the qualification in 2023. Can you tell us:

  • Why did you choose to study this qualification?
    In 2020, I was on the verge of being promoted to the role of Health and Safety Manager and felt completing the Diploma could only help me achieve this goal. I recognised that it would be beneficial for me to enhance my knowledge in advanced health and safety topics; particularly the health-related aspects such as enzymes, biological agents, and respiratory protective equipment (RPE). I also sought to delve deeper into advanced management systems, with a particular focus on risk assessment and incident investigations. I believed that because the NEBOSH International Diploma syllabus covered these subjects comprehensively, attaining the qualification would only help me achieve both my enhanced knowledge and career aspirations.
  • How has taking the qualification has helped your career progression?
    Acquiring the NEBOSH International Diploma played a pivotal role in securing my position as the Egypt Manufacturing Safety Manager at Unilever. In this role, I was entrusted with providing support to safety managers across various sites. These sites manufactured products ranging from food, personal care, home care, and refreshments. Each category presented unique challenges, technologies, and risk profiles. The knowledge and skills I gained from the NEBOSH International Diploma was instrumental in enabling me to fulfil this role effectively. Without this qualification, I would not have been equipped to navigate the diverse demands and complexities inherent in that position.

In 2022, you secured your current role as Egypt Operations Risk Manager for The Kraft Heinz Company. Can you tell us a little about your role and responsibilities please?
The Kraft Heinz Company is the fifth-largest food and beverage company in the world, with eight $1 billion+ brands. The Kraft Heinz Company provides high quality, great taste, and nutrition for all eating occasions whether at home, in restaurants or on the go.

In my current role, I am entrusted with overseeing and managing all operational risks at the country level for Kraft Heinz Operations in Egypt. This comprehensive role encompasses various areas, including Health and Safety, ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), Facility Security, Business Continuity, Asset Conservation Program, and Safe Travel program.

As a member of the Egypt Operations Leadership Team, I actively contribute to strategic decision-making to ensure the effective management of operational risks. Additionally, I provide leadership and guidance to my three managers, namely EHS Manufacturing, EHS Construction, and Security, along with their respective teams. Together, we work collaboratively to drive excellence in these key areas and support the overall success of the organisation.

That sounds like a job where leadership skills are of vital importance. You recently completed the NEBOSH HSE Certificate in Health and Safety Leadership Excellence. How did you find it?
I consider this certificate to be highly valuable for my current role, as it places a strong emphasis on enhancing management systems through culture building and leadership, rather than solely focusing on compliance. I feel that this ethos is relevant to my current role particularly as I have both safety and operational leadership responsibilities. To positively influence safety culture, I need to foster active engagement in health and safety programs and initiatives with individuals at all levels in our organisation. I feel this qualification has given me the necessary skills and knowledge I need to effectively drive cultural change and facilitate widespread participation in health and safety endeavours.

What’s next for you in terms of your professional development?
Passing my Diploma has played a significant role in my professional development; enabling me to become a certified member at IOSH. Achieving the Diploma and CertIOSH status have had a profound impact on my career growth, opening further opportunities for advancement in the field of health and safety.

Going forward I plan to expand my knowledge and gain practical experience in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) management. Additionally, I aim to pursue the CSP (Certified Safety Professional) Certification, for which the NEBOSH Diploma has provided me with a strong foundation and the necessary skills to apply for its certification process.

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?
In my current role, I have the privilege of engaging with various aspects of the business to ensure we are operating safely. This dynamic nature of my work involves a diverse range of activities considering both people and process. One day I may find myself on the shop floor, collaborating with our teams to assess and address safety concerns so we can ensure their working environment is safe. The next day, I might be presenting our new projects and programs at a strategic level to our operational management, highlighting their significance and aligning them with our organisational values and goals. Alongside these responsibilities, I also collaborate closely with our engineering teams, reviewing and validating interesting engineering concepts depicted in blueprints or P&IDs for upcoming factory projects. Health and safety really is integral to everything we do at Kraft Heinz and I love this! It allows me to contribute across different areas of the business and actively participate in driving safety, strategic initiatives, and engineering excellence.

What achievement are you most proud of?
My primary focus revolves around fostering a sense of safety among individuals when they come to work. This involves various initiatives aimed at enhancing working conditions and promoting the development of knowledge and competence within all teams across the organisation. Ultimately, my goal is to instil a change in behaviour among employees, where they recognise their personal responsibility for safety, not only at work but also for themselves and their families. Witnessing this transformation and observing how individuals begin to apply safety concepts even in their homes and personal lives is where I find the most fulfilment and pride in my work. Knowing that I have had a positive impact on people's lives and their overall well-being through my efforts in creating a safe environment is an incredibly rewarding experience.

What would your advice be to anyone who aspires to make health and safety their career?
Maintain a continuous hunger for learning and a willingness to share knowledge! For me this is not just a gift but a responsibility, particularly in the field of health and safety. Embracing a mindset of perpetual learning allows us to stay updated with the latest industry developments, best practices, and emerging risks. By actively seeking new knowledge, we equip ourselves with the tools and insights necessary to effectively navigate the ever-evolving landscape of health and safety. However, it doesn't end there. It is equally important to share this knowledge with others. By teaching and sharing what we learn, we empower colleagues, teams, and even the wider community to enhance their understanding and practices in health and safety. This commitment to continuous learning and knowledge sharing ultimately contributes to a safer and healthier work environment for all.