Key Elements of a Migrant-Worker Health and Welfare Program
- Dennis Denney (JPT Senior Technology Editor)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- August 2012
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 117 - 119
- 2012. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 23 since 2007
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This article, written by Senior Technology Editor Dennis Denney, contains highlights of paper SPE 151765, "Key Elements of a Migrant-Worker Health and Welfare Program and Its Effect on a Major Construction Project," by Israr Ahmed and Herman Wirtz, Qatar Shell; Robin Patrick Donnelly and Alistair Fraser, Shell International; and Salvador Castillo, Qatar Shell, prepared for the 2012 SPE Middle East Health, Safety, Security, and Environment Conference and Exhibition, Abu Dhabi, 2-4 April. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
The Pearl gas-to-liquids (GTL) project required construction of a state-of-the-art hydrocarbon-processing facility with, at peak, 55,000 employed on site. The company created a worker health and welfare program, with a goal to enhance health and performance by creating a culture of care and concern for the wellbeing of workers throughout construction and to mitigate projected risks for a project of such magnitude.
Traditionally, construction camps are high risk and high public exposure. There has been a historical tendency to leave the matter of construction-camp planning, design, and management to contractors, with associated risks of under-performance. It is unusual to find a holistic approach for camps that integrates the material aspects with quality of living conditions, action to create social cohesion, and an appreciation of overall worker welfare. However, the realization that there is an opportunity to go beyond compliance with design standards gave rise to a shift toward use of “behavioral and holistic interventions” to improve the safety culture and attitude among workers.
The worker-welfare program was born with the consideration of capitalizing on the caring aspect of safety. Particularly, the program envisioned to create a facility and community that show empathy for people, a place where members of a large multinational/multicultural workforce live happily and in harmony with each other, where they could enjoy high-quality fulfillment of basic needs and psychosocial support. Therefore, a holistic approach was used that aimed at delivering initiatives targeting the entire range of physical, emotional, mental, and even transpersonal needs of workers in a “high-risk” work area.
The challenge of making respect for people visible and objective in Shell’s practices was given further push in the area of health, safety, and environmental management. First, in the area of health management, it was imperative in building projects and in operations that controls and regulations be in place to protect and promote the health of employees, contractors, and neighbors by eliminating, reducing, or mitigating health risks in the workplace.
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