Cross-sector Service Delivery in HSE Consultancy and Training: E4D/SOGA, Uganda

12 minute read | 25 April 2017 15:07:26 BST


Case Study

Astutis was commissioned by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to develop and deliver Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) training and coaching to 60 participants at managerial level from 30 organisations across Uganda in order to upgrade their HSE practices and standards as part of the E4D/SOGA (Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa) programme.

E360_LogoAstutis delivered the work together with Ugandan consultancy company, E360.

Company Profile

GIZ GmbH is a global service provider in the field of international cooperation for sustainable development with more than 17,000 employees and has over 50 years experience in a wide variety of areas, including economic development and employment, energy and the environment, and peace and security. Its business volume exceeds 2.1 billion euros. As a public-benefit federal enterprise, GIZ supports the German Government – in particular the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) – and public and private sector clients in around 130 countries in achieving their objectives in international cooperation. GIZ works together with its partners to develop effective solutions that offer people better prospects and sustainably improve their living conditions.

Background Information - the E4D/SOGA, Employment and Skills for Eastern Africa Initiative


Established by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ),  the United Kingdom´s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Co-operation (NORAD), E4D/SOGA is aimed at promoting local employment and addressing skills gaps in natural resource-based industries and related sectors in the four target East African countries - Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.

Natural resource discoveries in these countries offer a new source of revenue for advancing human development and supporting them on the path to self-sufficiency - Mozambique and Tanzania have some of the largest known offshore gas reserves in the world; while oil discoveries and energy projects in Uganda and Kenya mean their development would result in significant changes to the industrial landscape, boosting economic growth and employment opportunities in the region.

The Problem

demand for local workers in in East Africa

There is a significant demand for local workers in these four countries and international companies active in East Africa show a strong commitment to ensuring that communities and citizens are able to access the benefits (such as jobs and inclusion in supply chains), offered by their investments. However, the opportunity for increased employment in the region has been hitherto hampered by a lack of appropriate skills among the local population. Furthermore, the lack of competitiveness of local businesses, limited technical vocational education and training (TVET) systems, and training that is insufficiently linked to industry requirements has historically served to widen the gap between industry demand and skills.

The Solution

The development of Ugandan firms was key to forming a major aspect of the capacity building drive as the oil and gas industry entered the development phase and prepared for oil production. The capability of Ugandan companies to attain the stringent industry standards and be able to participate in tenders and compete with other players are also a cornerstone for the socio-economic development of Uganda.

For Ugandan organisations to be able to participate to their fullest potential in oil and gas contracts, an ability to meet the contract bid requirements of which Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) is a key requirement (indeed a qualifier) and was seen as an essential requirement for compliance to international standards – ISO standards as communicated by the UNBS (Uganda National Bureau of Standards).

Most of the local Ugandan organisations did not know how to set about achieving this objective of meeting the stringent health and safety requirements of the oil and gas sector, therefore a project was tailored towards providing the road map to achieving this compliance and subsequently, to support the local companies to achieve the same.

Astutis, together with Ugandan consultancy firm E360, was selected to deliver HSE specific consultancy and training to 60 delegates across 30 firms as part of a stringent tender process.

Working together to solve problems is key to reinforcing learning for Astutis delegates.
Working together to solve problems is key to reinforcing learning for Astutis delegates.

The service company selection process was handled completely by the Association of Uganda Oil and Gas Suppliers (AUGOS) under strict selection criteria and reviewed by GIZ. The companies selected represented a cross-sector of industry including: transport and logistics, aviation, heavy lifting, construction, waste management, manufacturing, pest control and environmental management. Two representatives from each of the 30 service companies were selected to participate in the training, amounting to 60 delegates in total with varying responsibilities covering administration, management, health safety & environment and CEO’s.

Key Objectives:

  • Improvement of HSE standards and practices in the selected organisations
  • Improving the ability of selected organisations to participate in bids and tenders in the oil and gas industry

Scope of the Work

To meet the key objectives, a methodology and plan was broken down into three main phases.

Phase 1 – Pre-training to enable gap analysis:

This entailed a review of the current status of the health and safety management systems within the selected service providers; identification of the short comings/opportunities for improvement against the required standards; and the development of training programme to be used in phase 2.

Phase 2 - Training:

The second phase involved the delivery of training to key personnel within the selected service providers to equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to bring about the changes within their organisations to meet the required health and safety standards.

Phase 3 – Coaching and mentoring:

The third phase included coaching and developing key individuals and organisations to ensure that they could effect the necessary changes identified and put into practice the knowledge acquired.

On-the-spot HSE assessments were conducted in the first and third phases, respectively.

The initial assessment provided the baseline measure of the standards, practices and effectiveness of current HSE management systems and following this (and as a prelude to future training which would take the form of the NEBOSH International General Certificate course), an online IOSH Managing Safely Course was administered to participants in order to provide an initial standardised level of foundational training.

Coaching and mentoring: Training was over 2 non-consecutive weeks, which allowed delegates to consolidate their learning whilst reducing the pressure from existing work commitments.

Following the completion of phase one of the project, and upon review of information gathered from the service company visits, it became clear that there were certain topics within the NEBOSH International General Certificate syllabus that would need emphasising during the training phase to help address some of the more common knowledge gaps identified across the board.

The improvement of the HSE standards and practices was tailored towards the following activities of the companies:

  • Facilities layout improvement
  • Emergency response plans and procedures
  • Company documentations – policies, procedures etc.
  • Information management and retrievability
  • Symbolic safety signs – adequate and correct signage
  • Definition and implementation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Risk Assessments – key company activities and processes

Astutis was able to match the trainers to lead the classroom NEBOSH IGC courses (held in Kampala) according to consultant experience in working and delivering a significant amount of training for the Oil and Gas sector. Brian Sumbot (Canada), Roger Brown and Roger Georgeson-Gunn (both UK) were selected by Astutis to deliver the project according to specific experience allowing them to link the course material to relevant case studies and examples from the industry, bringing the course to life for the delegates. The training was arranged over a 2 week (non-consecutive) period which enabled delegates to consolidate their learning whilst reducing the pressure from existing work commitments.

Project Outcomes

Overall, the project was very successful and its impact has been has been immediately felt throughout the selected organisations with 100% of the owners and Managing Directors of the organisations rating the project as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ in their feedback.

The following results were achieved following the completion of the project:

  • Improved understanding of Oil industry requirements
  • Readiness for Oil Industry bid compliance
  • Improved working/welfare conditions
  • Improved business opportunities leveraging on the collaboration between the selected companies
  • Improved HSE awareness for owners and MD via the HSE workshop for owners
  • Establishment of Uganda Safety Network – part of the sustainability initiatives

Significant levels of improvement were also achieved based on the 3rd phase spot assessments:

  • A four-fold reduction in the number of companies with an assessment score of 30% or lower
  • The design of a HSE Management system for 10 companies without any system at all – resulting in all 30 companies now with an HSE MS

A total of 146 company visits were conducted during the coaching and mentoring phase resulting in an average of 18 company visits per week.

In total, 169 action items were developed by the selected organisations and tracked to completion with the overall action item closure rate achieved at the end of the project at 72%.

The Future

The result of the internationally accredited NEBOSH examination for the group revealed a success rate for the 3 modules above the world average (across all course providers). Based on the experience level of the delegates, the result achieved is very promising. The practical examination pass rate was particularly rewarding as it revealed the hands-on capability of the delegates and the assurance about their capability to continue and sustain improvements.

Over the course of the project, the need for improved overall awareness of HSE was identified. Part of the barrier to HSE culture change is management commitment and leadership - a barrier that is further aggravated due to lack of adequate HSE knowledge by some of the managers and owners.

The training of the delegates has encouraged a ‘bottom-up’ approach to HSE management, however, in order to close the gap, a need of ‘top-down’ commitment was identified.

Together with GIZ and AUGOS, an ‘HSE for Owners’ workshop was organized with the focus on Organizational HSE change. External participants including Tullow Oil Company, Vivo Energy and the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development also participated.

Brian Sumbot, Astutis Lead Tutor for North America and one of the consultants on the project commented:

‘It was clear that the cohort of delegates comprised of a wide range of abilities and professional experiences, but I am confident that all delegates would be able to take positive action in their workplace based on lessons taken from their IGC studies. There was clearly potential for further study for the group, however this should be relative to their abilities and job requirements.’

At the close of the project, the general understanding of the Oil Industry requirements in terms of HSE has soared amongst the selected firms who are now both able and ready to comply with these international standards.

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Brenig is a Chartered Safety Practitioner and Chartered Environmental Health Practitioner with more than thirty years’ experience in health and safety enforcement, management, training and consultancy.