The Diploma has helped me raise my status, secure work and boosted my confidence as an OHS professional

Case Study: Dr. Ram Kumar Barathan, Safety Officer at Traffic Tech (Gulf) W.L.L, Qatar

NEBOSH spoke to Dr. Ram Kumar Barathan, Safety Officer at Traffic Tech (Gulf) W.L.L, Qatar about his NEBOSH experience and how it helped him get to where he is today.

Why did you choose a career in health and safety?

Throughout my childhood I was top of my class both during school and college because of my proactive preparation and forecasting skills. I chose to do a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering which incorporated the 'physics of human body' and 'ergonomics'. It was during my degree studies, that I first aspired to have a career which managed the physical and mental health of people and health and safety was the answer to this. Ensuring that people go home safely every night leads is a very rewarding and meaningful career.

Why did you choose NEBOSH qualifications?

After I completed my bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering in April 2013, I secured my first job in the June of that year. Whilst working I studied for my master’s degree in Industrial Engineering, which I completed in 2016. I started my PhD research in Mechanical Engineering in 2017. The topic I chose to focus on was material science and occupational health and safety. To support my research which I completed in early 2021, I chose to complete the NEBOSH International Diploma in Occupational Health and Safety, which I believe is the international benchmark for occupational health and safety (OHS). The valuable knowledge I gained added value to my research, and I also felt it would help me achieve my long-term career aspirations to work in health and safety overseas. The Diploma provides an awareness and a solid understanding of what is expected of you as a health and safety professional and gives you the knowledge and credibility required to positively impact health and safety within an organisation. 

Did you find your NEBOSH Diploma useful and enjoyable?

I found this qualification challenging because I was taking it at the same time as my PhD, but I thoroughly enjoyed fulfilling the necessary requirements to clear all unit exams. The Diploma opened a gateway for me to network with fellow occupational health and safety professionals and join the NEBOSH Alumni community. I believe it remains the most respected qualification among OHS peers.

How did you juggle work and studying?

Multitasking is not new thing to me; I was working full time during both my master's and PhD program and would study after work hours every day. I always plan to ensure I use my time effectively and can fit everything in. As well as my work and studies, I had to fit in a workout as I am also a certified yoga teacher and my love for travel! I have a YouTube channel documenting my journey. I found that looking after my mental health and wellbeing, eating well, and getting enough sleep helped me maintain my focus. I utilised the maximum time in the day on my NEBOSH studies and this focused approach helped me pass each unit at the first attempt.

What impact has your NEBOSH Diploma had on your career?

My NEBOSH International Diploma helped me to attain Certified membership of IOSH. This in turn allowed me to become an approved trainer for various international boards. As I stated previously, I have always wanted to work overseas. My NEBOSH Diploma helped me secure a Safety Officer job in Qatar, working on roadwork projects for Traffic Tech Gulf W.L.L.(Doha, Qatar).  So, the Diploma has helped me raise my status, secure work and boosted my confidence as an OHS professional. Because of my Diploma I have the confidence to face new OHS challenges in any industry or domain by applying what I have learnt.

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

I always want to facilitate a safer workplace in a cost-effective way and use my formal education and practical experience to achieve this. In my current Safety Officer role, I have several duties to perform including:

  • Maintaining good working relationships with site supervisors and workers so. I need to ensure they understand the HSE requirements in our health and safety plan and adhere to them
  • Ensuring comprehensive OHS inspections are carried out of the workplace
  • Conducting incident investigations to ensure lessons are learnt to avoid a recurrence
  • Assisting the HSE Manager in performance of duties
  • Prepare periodic health and safety reports for the client.

Covid-19 means my responsibilities have expanded to include monitoring workers for symptoms, ensuring that precautionary measures such as social distancing and PPE are followed, and closely following Qatar government guidance and updates on Covid-19. The OHS team are working hard to provide a hazard free workplace and ensure the office and site are sanitised frequently.

What do you enjoy most about your SHE career?

The purpose of a SHE career is to prevent accidents and make people's time at work as safe and happy as possible. I find it hugely rewarding and fulfilling that the purpose of my role is to save lives. I love that I get the opportunity to teach my workers various stretches and basic yoga asanas to help prevent various musculoskeletal disorders.

Are there any aspects you do not enjoy?

Not that I can think of. I thoroughly enjoy every aspect as my work revolves keeping people safe. I want to continually develop and be a better OHS professional.

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

Not all professions are considered noble, health and safety has the value to save lives and this is fulfilling.  If you want to acquire versatile knowledge and maintain a safe culture at work then you will get a lot of fulfilment and contentment from this career. You will grow as a person knowing that you are protecting the mental and physical health of other.

This career gives you the opportunity to work in such a range of industries and businesses of all different types and sizes. It can offer flexibility, a multitude of career options, excellent pay and the opportunity to improve people’s working lives.