The head of health, safety, environment and quality assurance at Gerry’s dnata, Pakistan’s largest ground services provider for the aviation industry, is a keen learner who focuses on developing himself and others.
How and why did you get into the health and safety profession?
After graduation, I had the opportunity to work in the chemical process industry. During my training and skill-development period, I took many health, safety and environment (HSE) training courses and certifications, which developed my interest in safety management systems.
Later, I moved to a multinational company as a full-time OSH professional – an HSE officer – and then held various roles such as lead HSE and HSE manager. I now head the HSE and quality assurance function (HSEQ) for Gerry’s dnata, an Emirates Group business in Pakistan. My experience in HSEQ cuts across the oil, gas, pharmaceutical and aviation industries.
What have been your greatest challenges and achievements?
As an OSH professional, my biggest responsibility is to make my leadership team and peer managers realise the importance – and philosophy – of OSH. This is a challenge that I have faced many times.
I am blessed with many achievements. One recent moment that made me proud was being awarded first position as occupational health, safety and wellbeing (OSHW) ambassador by the president of Pakistan, Arif Alvi, at the OSHW conference and award ceremony held by the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan working with the International Labour Organization.
What is it about being an OSH professional in multinational companies that gives you the most satisfaction?
The elevation of OSH culture in a company is key. It can be achieved by working on the commitment of leadership and the behaviour of workers. I have been lucky enough to have made progress on both elements.
What are the specific challenges that OSH faces in large multinational companies?
I’ve worked with a number of large companies; sometimes, when OSH professionals and other staff are used to processes and systems, this makes them less innovative in some areas. Innovation, development and change are the pillars on which all large multinationals should focus more. These aspects are directly connected with the OSH culture and leadership commitment of an organisation.
Fast facts: Being Badar…
- I enjoy visiting new places and meeting new people.
- I am a foodie.
- I like puzzle-solving games such as the Rubik’s cube.
- I am a cricket player and played intercollegiate matches while I was studying.
You mention that one of your ambitions is to help shape the future of OSH. How would you like to see the profession grow?
I always explore ways to help shape the future of the OSH profession. Being associated with IOSH as a member of both the Future Leaders Steering Group and the Aviation and Aerospace Group makes me proud, as this enables me to start my journey towards this ambition. In addition, I am in the early stages of the development of projects regarding legal, procedural and awareness strengths.
Where does your drive for learning come from? How does it help you in your current role?
Early on, I established that I needed to remain open to learning and development, and that this would help me to grow my career. All the learning comes from the certifications and training, including my Level 6 OSH diploma. All this learning enables me to fulfil my role efficiently, and make me recognised as a distinct professional among others.
What value do you get from IOSH membership and how important is it to progress?
After completing my Level 6 OSH qualification, I joined IOSH as a Graduate Member. Later, I worked to gain Chartered status. One of the great things about IOSH is that you never stop learning, and always need to work on continuing professional development. This keeps upgrading your skills and helps you to progress.
What is your best OSH story about working with some of the world’s largest – and perhaps some of the most dangerous – companies?
At my current employer, I led a project called IATA [International Air Transport Association] Safety Audit of Ground Operations (ISAGO). I called this my ISAGO certification journey, which was full of teamwork, commitment, dedication and hard work. We started our journey with limited resources and structure. The team worked tirelessly, and we finished our first airport audit in 2019, which made us the first and only ground-handling company to achieve ISAGO certification in Pakistan’s aviation history.
This was a proud moment for all of us, and for me as project lead. Later, we went to two additional airports and completed the same audit. The project developed my leadership skills as well.
How did you manage to achieve 10 million ‘safe man-hours’ without lost-time injury and with zero aircraft damage?
‘Safe man-hours’ is one of the performance indicators I introduced in my company. Last year, we achieved the total of more than 10 million safe man-hours without lost-time injury. This required the involvement of all company employees, who worked to achieve this milestone.
My HSE team tirelessly worked with me on different programmes that we developed on incident prevention and management, risk management and safety assurance to help us create a safety culture and elevate incident reporting and management awareness across the company.
What are your tips for continuing self-development?
A career is a journey, not a destination. I continually search for ways to keep learning, growing and improving. A diversified self-development plan is a helpful tool. It should cover all competence areas such as technical, core and behavioural competencies. Being a Chartered Member of IOSH has always kept me motivated and self-disciplined enough to track my development plans.
What lies ahead for Future Leaders in OSH?
Many opportunities lie ahead, but to make OSH an attractive first-choice career, there are many areas for potential improvement where governance, businesses and OSH professionals need to work collectively. OSH culture and leadership commitment are the key elements that require the most work – and the rest of the OSH elements will be addressed accordingly. Personal development is a key to success, especially for those who are new to OSH careers. It’s important to develop a plan across competence areas.