Passion, dedication, and a commitment to lifelong learning will help you be successful in health and safety

Case Study: Vineeth Kuthirummal

In our latest interview, we spoke with Vineeth Kuthirummal a HSE Engineer for Azizi Developments in Dubai about his career.

Vineeth, I understand you have worked in HSE Engineer positions since 2014. Can you tell us what made you follow this career path?
I chose this career path after witnessing firsthand the repercussions of inadequate safety measures in the workplace. By entering the profession my goal was to instigate change to help ensure the safety and well-being of employees, alongside safeguarding properties and the environment through sustainable methods.

As I immersed myself in the field, I discovered the profound impact that effective health and safety practices can have, not only on individuals but also on organisational productivity and reputation. Utilising my technical skills as a graduate mechanical engineer to play my part in this noble profession has proved really rewarding for me.

The dynamic nature of the profession makes it a great choice for me. It continually challenges and pushes me to stay abreast with the latest trends, regulation, technologies, and best practice meaning continuous learning is imperative. I have a passion for acquiring new knowledge and have found undertaking certifications like the NEBOSH International General Certificate and International Diploma have further reinforced my expertise and propelled my career forward. It really is a profession that can provide abundant opportunities.

You completed your NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety in 2019.

Why did you choose this qualification?
I chose the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety due to its esteemed reputation and comprehensive curriculum. It is a globally recognised qualification which provides essential knowledge in occupational safety and risk management. From my experience, having this qualification opens doors to a wide range of opportunities with reputable organisations worldwide.

Did you enjoy your studies?
Absolutely. Embarking on the NEBOSH International General Certificate after gaining some professional experience in health and safety was enriching. The blend of theoretical concepts with practical application provided a holistic understanding of safety principles. Moreover, the interactive nature of the course and collaboration with fellow professionals enhanced my learning experience. Throughout the learning process, I felt my approach to health and safety evolved as I became more professional, instilling a sense of growth and improvement within me.

How did securing this qualification help you?
Securing the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety was instrumental in my career growth. Many reputable organisations consider it a minimum requirement for Health and Safety Engineer and Health and Safety lead roles. This qualification equipped me to effectively handle health and safety concerns. Whether I am conducting risk assessments, developing policies and plans, or providing training, the insights gained from the certificate course continue to guide my work and ultimately contributes to safer workplaces. This qualification bolstered my credibility and helped me develop new skills and knowledge.

More recently you passed the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Safety and Health:

Why were you attracted to this course particular?
The NEBOSH International Diploma in Health and Safety stands out as one of the most prestigious and widely respected Health and Safety qualifications. The content enhances professional competence and equips individuals with the skills to address workplace safety concerns more effectively.

My decision to pursue the NEBOSH International Diploma was driven by a desire to deepen my knowledge and expertise in occupational health and safety to a more advanced level. For me it’s the gold standard occupational health and safety qualifications, which offers an exhaustive exploration of complex topics and their practical application. The comprehensive curriculum covers a wide array of subjects, including risk management and transferable organisational leadership and communication skills, making it an ideal choice for professionals seeking to augment their capability and credibility in this field.

What did you gain from studying at this level?
Studying the NEBOSH International Diploma enabled me to elevate my understanding of health and safety concepts to a heightened level. Through in-depth learning about risk management, organisational objectives, and human factors, along with principles of health and safety management, I gained valuable insights into developing and implementing effective health and safety management systems within workplace environments.

Moreover, this course honed my critical thinking skills and enhanced my ability to devise practical, solution-oriented approaches to address health and safety issues while aligning with organisational objectives.

In essence, the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety not only expanded my technical expertise but also empowered me to assume leadership roles and driving positive health and safety impacts within organisations and beyond.

In November 2023 you were appointed HSE Engineer by Azizi Developments in Dubai. Can you tell us a little bit about:

The company?
Azizi Developments is one of the largest and most prestigious real estate development companies with headquarters in Dubai. Renowned for its innovative and sustainable approach, Azizi Developments specialises in creating exceptional residential, commercial, and retail properties. With a steadfast commitment to quality, integrity, and customer satisfaction, the company has emerged as a key player in Dubai's dynamic real estate market. Its diverse portfolio reflects a dedication to delivering projects that not only meet the highest standards of design and construction, but also contribute positively to the city's urban landscape and community development. Notably, Azizi Developments prioritises high standards of health and safety, continually striving for improvement across its projects.

Your role and your responsibilities?
As a HSE Engineer representing Azizi Developments I oversee multiple projects in Dubai ensuring adherence to the highest HSE standards. I currently serve as the HSE lead for the Venice project, a landmark development within the United Arab Emirates, which comprises a community of high-rise and mid-rise buildings, villas, apartments, community centres, and commercial and residential structures.

My responsibilities include:

  • Compliance Monitoring: Ensuring all construction activities comply with local and international HSE standards, regulations, and best practices through scheduled site tours, audits, inspections, and advising on corrective measures.
  • Risk Assessment and Management: Identifying, assessing, and mitigating potential hazards associated with construction activities by reviewing risk assessments, method statements, project specific HSE plans, and standard operating procedures.
  • Incident Investigation: Proper reporting and investigation of incidents and near misses to determine root causes and implement corrective actions, with findings documented for dissemination as Safety Alerts.
  • Regulatory Liaison: Serving as the primary point of contact between Azizi Developments and regulatory authorities to ensure compliance with health, safety, and environmental laws, regulations, and permits.
  • Health, Safety, and Environmental Management: Developing and implementing comprehensive management systems, policies, and procedures in alignment with local regulations and international standards.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Collaborating closely with contractors, project directors, and managers to promote a culture of safety awareness and accountability at all stages of the construction process.
  • Documentation and Reporting: Maintaining accurate records of HSE activities, including inspections, audits, investigations, training, and environmental monitoring reports.
  • Environmental Management: Monitoring environmental impacts and advising on measures to minimise negative effects, including waste disposal, pollution control, and sustainable practices.
  • Emergency Preparedness: Ensuring effective implementation of emergency response plans, providing necessary resources and training for various scenarios.
  • Legal Compliance: Staying updated on health and safety legislation and advising stakeholders on compliance requirements.
  • Continual Improvement: Identifying opportunities to enhance safety, efficiency, and environmental sustainability throughout the project lifecycle.

Overall, as an HSE Engineer, I play a vital role in ensuring that projects are completed safely, responsibly, and in compliance with regulatory requirements, while also promoting environmental sustainability and safeguarding the well-being of workers and the community.

What’s next for you in terms of your professional development?
In terms of my professional development, I am dedicated to continually expanding my health, safety and environmental management skills and knowledge. To this end, I have pursued a master’s in health and safety to deepen my expertise and stay abreast of evolving trends and best practices in the industry.

I will be an active member of the NEBOSH Alumni and plan to attend all the regional events organised. I am also a chartered member of IOSH and regularly engage with its publications and resources to keep up to date with industry trends.

I seek out all opportunities for professional development including attending conferences, workshops, and seminars. These allow me to connect with fellow professionals, exchange ideas, and glean insights from industry leaders. I firmly believe that continuous learning and growth are imperative for maintaining effectiveness in my role as an HSE Engineer.

In summary, my professional development roadmap revolves around a commitment to continuous learning, skill refinement, and career advancement, all aimed at making meaningful contributions to the field of health, safety, and environmental management.

What do you enjoy most about being a health and safety professional?
What I enjoy most about being a health and safety professional is the profound sense of accountability and responsibility I hold for the well-being of my colleagues every day. It brings me immense satisfaction to know that my efforts contribute to cultivating safer and healthier workplaces where individuals can flourish.

One of the most fulfilling aspects of this profession is the opportunity to prevent accidents, injuries, and illnesses through proactive hazard identification, meticulous risk assessment, and the implementation of effective control measures. Knowing that my work directly safeguards the health and safety of workers, fills me with a deep sense of fulfilment and purpose. Each day presents new opportunities to address emerging risks, devise innovative solutions, and propel continuous improvement in safety performance.

As a health and safety professional, I have the privilege to collaborate with diverse teams and stakeholders across various industries, fostering a culture of collaboration, communication, and shared responsibility for safety. Building relationships and working collectively towards common goals to create safer working environments is profoundly rewarding.

What achievement are you most proud of?
One achievement that fills me with immense pride is obtaining my NEBOSH International Diploma. It helped me become a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) through the NEBOSH reciprocal route with BCSP and with my NEBOSH International Diploma and CSP credential, I could directly move IOSH Membership category from Cert IOSH to CMIOSH Status.

I am also proud of the role I played in transforming the safety culture within my previous organisation. When I joined the company, I identified a noticeable gap in safety awareness and practices. Understanding the critical importance of nurturing a robust safety culture, I formulated and executed a strategic plan focused on fostering safety leadership, engaging employees across all levels, and seamlessly integrating safety into everyday work processes.

What would your advice be to anyone who aspires to make health and safety their career?
I would say you need a genuine passion for the field and for protecting the wellbeing of others as this will serve as a driving force, motivating you to strive for excellence and to make a positive impact on workplace safety.

It's crucial to prioritise acquiring relevant qualifications and certifications to build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills. Certifications such as the NEBOSH International General Certificate in Health and Safety and the NEBOSH Level 6 International Diploma for Occupational Health and Safety Management Professionals provide valuable insights into health and safety principles and best practices, which lay the groundwork for a successful career. Additionally, seeking opportunities for practical experience and hands-on learning is essential for gaining valuable insights and honing one's skills.

As the field of health and safety is continually evolving, it is important to stay curious and proactive in seeking opportunities for professional development and growth. Keeping abreast of new technologies, regulation, and best practice is essential to stay relevant and effective in the field. Furthermore, developing strong communication skills is vital for building relationships with colleagues and stakeholders and effectively implementing new initiatives.

In summary, my advice for anyone aspiring to pursue a career in health and safety is to approach it with passion, dedication, and a commitment to lifelong learning and improvement. By prioritising qualifications, practical experience, and continuous professional development, individuals can look forward to a fulfilling and impactful career in health and safety.