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TBExG organises fourth annual Tata Safety Heads Meet

Published on February 08, 2019

Tata Business Excellence Group (TBExG) organised the fourth annual Tata Safety Heads Meet on January 31, 2019, at Vivanta by Taj - President, Mumbai. This year 38 Safety Heads from across Tata companies congregated at the venue to discuss and debate topics and issues relevant to the Tata group — ranging from the role of Safety Heads within an organisation, safety standards and systems, to transparency and sharing, and assurance and verification. The meet was enlivened by active participation and spirited interactions.

The session started off with a presentation, ‘Group incident analysis and initiatives’, by Gautam Gondil, Assistant Vice President, TBExG, and Sanjay Rajasekaran, Consultant, TBExG.

Next was a group discussion, ‘Steps towards making Tata companies fatality free’. The team led by Ravindra Dhapola, Deputy General Manager, Corporate SHE and Sustainability, Tata Motors, elaborated on how to improve the quality and implementation of safety standards and safety management systems. The team led by Mukul Kumar, AVP and Global Head, EOHS, Tata Communications, gave their inputs on how to enhance the safety capabilities of Tata leaders, managers and workforce through training and capability building. The team led by Vilas Gaikwad, Chief Safety (India & SEA), Tata Steel, and team shared insights on how to leverage the group strength by enhancing transparency and sharing within business units and sites of individual companies, and with other Tata companies. The team led by Gaurang Baxi, Chief Safety Officer, Tata Power, explained the intricacies of putting in place a structure of assurance and verification (audit system) that will provide leadership with a fair reflection of the safety performance of companies.

A scintillating interactive session ‘Taking forward the safety journey in the Tata group’ was next on the agenda, which was chaired by S Padmanabhan, Executive Chairman, TBExG. 

Post lunch, the audience waited impatiently for the high point of the day, the ‘Open house with the Safety Steering Committee’. R Mukundan, Managing Director and CEO, Tata Chemicals; Sanjay Ubale, Head, Infrastructure and Urban Solutions, Tata Sons; Sanjiv Paul, VP, SHE and Sustainability, Tata Steel; shared the podium with Mr Gondil, who was the moderator for the session.

The open house was thrown open to discuss a variety of topics such as the role of Safety Heads, how Safety Heads can become influencers in the organisations and the push and pull culture.

Mr Paul pointed out that Safety Heads need to earn credibility in line management. They should have the technical knowhow and have the ability to influence “even as they may sometimes have very little authority”. Safety Heads should be a support to the CEO and be involved in culture building of the organisation, emphasised Mr Mukundan. They must be the best people in the company with capability to be the next site head. He elaborated on the multiplier effect of safety on salaries and bonuses, and the Suraksha scheme. Safety Heads are the most important people in the organisation, affirmed Mr Ubale, and they have to be proponents of safety in their personal lives. He also narrated his experiences on how safety enhances productivity.

Next on the schedule was the launch of the book, ‘Sharing and Learning from Serious Incidents - A Compendium of What Went Wrong’.

The penultimate item on the agenda was Captain Subhabrata Sarkar’s, Marine Superintendent of Tata NYK Shipping, talk on the company’s initiative ‘The perfect sailor’, which touched upon safety in the shipping industry.

The Tata Safety Heads Meet wound down to a close with a vote of thanks proposed by Mr Gondil. The opportunity provided to interact with senior safety professionals and gain fresh insights and learning was appreciated by participants, who left the venue looking forward to the next meet.