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Connecting the World Safely: How can telcos set an example for securing safe operations

Vice President and Head of Customer Unit Levant Countries and Global Customer Unit Ooredoo at Ericsson Middle East & Africa

Kevin Murphy

Vice President and Head of Customer Unit Levant Countries and Global Customer Unit Ooredoo at Ericsson Middle East & Africa

Vice President and Head of Customer Unit Levant Countries and Global Customer Unit Ooredoo at Ericsson Middle East & Africa

Jordan’s telecommunications industry continues to evolve and transform at a rapid pace, with a GlobalData report predicting that the market will grow at a CAGR of 6.4% by 2027. This growth is backed by modern technologies, faster speeds, and innovative solutions, such as the commercial launch of 5G in 2023 and its subsequent adoption and expansions.

While this technological progress is essential, it is crucial that the industry not lose sight of the inherent risks that accompany it. A fundamental aspect that underpins all operations is health and safety.

Vision: Zero Fatalities and Lost Workday Incidents

The telecommunications industry is a particularly complex and dynamic field that presents an array of potential hazards that require close attention. These hazards are predominantly related to driving, working at heights, working with electricity, potential electromagnetic exposure, and musculoskeletal disorders associated with manual lifting and repetitive tasks.

A report from the Jordanian Labour Rights Centre found that occupational injuries occur every 25 minutes in the Jordanian labour market, with one work injury-related death occurring approximately every two days. These statistics underscore the pressing need for a proactive and comprehensive approach to health and safety across all sectors, including telecommunications. The belief that every incident is preventable should be ingrained in the industry’s culture. This encompasses identifying potential risks, understanding their root causes, and implementing robust measures to mitigate them before incidents occur.

Health and Safety in Action

Providing a safe and healthy work environment is critical at any workplace. Therefore, the industry’s approach to health and safety must go beyond policies and procedures; it requires a different way of thinking and taking action. Companies are required to continually invest in processes, systems, tools, training, competence development, and other means necessary to secure safe operations. For instance, incident reporting software can improve the timely reporting of hazards, enabling the implementation of preventive measures and identifying areas for improvement.

Safety across the ecosystem

Health and safety can be approached holistically across the ecosystem in the telecommunications industry, including operators, vendors, and contractors. For instance, driving is one of the leading causes of work-related fatalities in this industry. Companies need to establish robust health and safety management policies and processes for suppliers to address this. This also involves educating suppliers about the importance of health and safety and promoting awareness of safe driving practices among their employees.

Moreover, Jordan continues to be susceptible to climate change and natural disasters. As the country recognizes this rising concern and introducing strategies such as the Climate/Refugee Nexus Initiative to combat it, it is vital for the telecommunications industry to follow suit. The industry needs to maintain a high level of resilience to ensure that communication channels remain open and operational during emergencies.

The importance of training programs in this process cannot be stated enough. Offering comprehensive health and safety training, equips everyone across the supply chain, from employees and project managers to field-service personnel and sub-contractors, with the knowledge and skills they need to perform their tasks safely and effectively. These programs cover a wide range of topics, from risk assessment techniques, the correct use of personal protective equipment to safe working practices, emergency response procedures, and the management of occupational health risks.

Safety of communities

Telecommunication infrastructure is often situated in urban and densely populated areas. Any failure to adhere to safety standards could have catastrophic consequences for the public. Companies must ensure structural integrity through frequent inspections and maintenance of communication towers to identify gaps or weaknesses. Compliance with these standards ensures the stability of towers, reducing the risk of collapse and potential harm to nearby communities.

The Future of Health and Safety

As the telecom industry in Jordan continues to expand, with investment and network rollouts, maintaining a commitment to health and safety remains a priority. The advent of new technologies, such as 5G, presents exciting new possibilities.

Ultimately, commitment to health and safety is about more than compliance or risk management. As corporate citizens, we are responsible for protecting and enhancing the well-being of our people and planet. 

Target zero needs to be seen as a critical and urgent matter and dealt with in the same manner as any emergency. The actions we all take today as key player in the Kingdom of Jordan ecosystem, will determine the scale and impact of the ramifications. In treating it as emergency, we raise the bar and have clear, ambitious, legally founded Health & Safety requirements stipulated in partnerships. A key lesson is that collaboration is key to making a difference and we must deal with this challenge in an ecosystem driven approach. 

A shared commitment to health and safety will guide actions, shape culture, and drive economic success as we build a sustainable future where technology serves humanity, with health and safety as its foundation pillars.

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