Abstract

This paper details the critical health, safety, environment and security (HSES) process in establishing a new independent multi-service line project in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG presents several specific challenges including high rates of crime and violence, highly dependent HSE culture, limited access to comprehensive medical care and several endemic communicable diseases. The challenge was to ensure that the risks were managed adequately in a cost-conscious market by creating innovative solutions.

Identification of the critical HSES risk areas was key to the establishment of a safe and functional facility for the project. The identification was undertaken by gathering information through a number of sources including medical and security providers as well as internal assessments. The prioritised risk areas included environmental management, security and health. The new market conditions meant that the team responsible for the project had to find ways to novel ways to address each of the problem areas.

Waste management represented a significant challenge because most hazardous waste generated could not be disposed of in-country. This forced us to critically examine our potential waste streams to eliminate waste products. Another area we were able to find a creative solution was the site's water usage. We faced high potable water costs and the high cost of waste process water disposal. The solution was a custom-built water treatment system that enabled recycling 75% of the water used, reducing water costs dramatically.

The high-security risks present in PNG were initially assessed by working closely with local security companies; this enabled us to get a dynamic and accurate understanding of the risk. The decision was made to collaborate with a security company that had a wide network across Port Moresby and a sophisticated in-vehicle monitoring system that enables us to track our personnel in transit and call on them for a quick response, if required.

PNG is widely considered as a high health risk area. Malaria, Dengue Fever, and Tuberculosis (TB) are just some of the known health risks that are endemic in parts of PNG. After consultation with international medical providers, a country-specific Fitness for Work plan was developed that detailed all vaccinations, medications and other preventative measures. Several in-country personnel were up-skilled so they could further communicate the risk and administer the program.

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