When Safety Becomes Second Nature
In the process of taking actionable steps to keep the health and safety of our people front and centre, part of our corporate cultural expression gradually changes for the better – reflecting values that have been deeply inculcated within our DNA since day one.
At Sunway, the health and safety of our people takes centre stage. We firmly believe that advancing our vision for a better world starts from within the organisation – by safeguarding the wellbeing of our workforce and communities. While this aspect has always prevailed, we are committed to further embedding Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) elements into our organisational culture so that they become an integral part of how we operate.
Structural Solutions to Strengthen Safety Foundations
Throughout the years, we have introduced a range of systemic changes in our governance structure on occupational health and safety, evolving in alignment with national goals. In 2021, this journey culminated in a significant milestone when we first announced a Group OHSE Policy, which sets a well-defined roadmap to drive OHSE-related dialogues and efforts across the Group. Guided by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) 1994, the policy outlines the roles and responsibilities of every staff across all levels, as well as to establish international best practices as the foundation of our safety culture.
The impact is twofold: not only do we foster a seamless coordination and multifaceted implementation of an optimised OHSE framework, the streamlining of internal processes between 13 business divisions leverages collective expertise whilst mitigating information silos.
Understanding that a genuine culture transcends written regulations – and that taking a set of values from one individual to several thousand requires robust governance, a Group OHSE Manager supported by the Group OHSE Council, is accountable for high-level oversight of our OHSE framework and more: to bring fresh energy and new perspectives that translate to real change.
Steering the course towards Group-wide safety and health compliance is our Group OHSE Council – chaired by Sunway Group president Tan Sri Chew Chee Kin – which undertakes and oversees the development of our Group OHSE framework, including setting the Group’s OHSE direction, key objectives and targets, as well as determining necessary guidelines and procedures for aligning strategy and seamless execution. The Council meet is organised once every three months to address OHSE matters concerning both Group and business division levels.
Keeping Employees Safe Through Education
Leading a real change in a public company with more than 11,000 staff requires dedicated leaders who are willing to challenge the status quo and drive lasting transformation. To kickstart an evolution, we knew we needed to make a clear and compelling case for it. Our Group OHSE has devoted substantial resources to educating, engaging, and empowering our workforce on relevant topics, such as Emergency Response Plan, Electrical Safety, Risk Assessment, Indoor Air Quality, as well as OHSE Inspections and Auditing. These programmes help employees understand how – OHSE or the lack thereof – could affect their daily work.
Educational events take many forms throughout the year, including meetings, training, and experience-sharing sessions. Employee participation ensures that all key messages infiltrate the organisation. Effective communication and coordination have helped our people thrive physically and mentally, and made health and safety actionable and scalable throughout the organisation.
A Natural Transformation of Our OHSE Culture
But perhaps the most powerful move that has accelerated the natural progression of our OHSE culture is on-ground action. Towards this end, coordinators have been appointed across all Sunway business sites. Trained in OHSE knowledge, they serve as gatekeepers to facilitate our health and safety initiatives on-site, addressing any risks and issues affecting their operations. This effectively bridges the gap between our leadership’s strategic priorities and implementation on the ground, which casts an even wider safety net.
The merit of our strategies gradually became clear. As our OHSE efforts intensified, our employees quickly caught up and even took the lead in deepening the conversation about OHSE. Besides initiating an OHSE Week, our people took part in competency training, proactively converting our overarching OHSE goals into programmes customised to their own needs and those of their counterparts.
Seeing our people take ownership to play a meaningful role in advancing our Group-wide OHSE goals is the most telling sign – that we are indeed heading in the right direction. No longer an isolated endeavour of the Group OHSE but a model for a cooperative approach, the maturity of Sunway’s OHSE framework is evident and increasingly robust. This grants us grounded optimism as we strive toward the next frontier – proactive or even generative safety culture – by 2030.
Propelling Safety to New Heights
This sets the tone for our 2030 OHSE objectives. Aligned with the National Targets on Leading and Lagging Indicators set in the National Occupational Safety and Health Master Plan 2021-2025 (OSHMP25) outlined by the Malaysian Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), one of our corporate resolutions is to rise within the first quadrant of both occupational fatality and accident rates in Malaysia. Last year, we took a vital step towards our goal by incorporating an internal auditing system to identify key performance indicators and trace our progress – in adherence to the ISO 45001:2018 Occupational Health and Safety Management System (OHSMS) standard. On top of implementing the concept of Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle as an integral part of the whole system to ensure efficiency and continuous improvement for the organisation’s safety and health management, regular assessments against specific metrics that are salient to us informs our strategies, actions, and disclosures. We also encourage employees to report safety and health hazards as well as near-miss incidents so we can identify opportunities to reduce risk and stay on track towards meeting our targets.
This is all part of our blueprint to power the move to a more transparent and trustworthy OHSE ecosystem and deliver measurable impact. And we are proud that our safety culture has been seen and acknowledged. Sunway Malls, among others, recently received multiple awards at the Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH) Award Year 2022 – the first mall group in Malaysia to receive such recognitions upon first entry.
For all the strides that we have made, we are determined to push the safety culture forward to ensure we have the healthiest and vibrant workforce as we look forward to 2025 and beyond. We will make it happen with the support of our people – our greatest asset. After all, safety is a collective responsibility. As Sunway founder and chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah always say, “we are all in this together.”