Home > Electrical/Electronics > The Door To Safety Swings On The Hinge Of Common Sense – Engr Shokunbi

The Door To Safety Swings On The Hinge Of Common Sense – Engr Shokunbi

Engr. Samuel Oluwole Shokunbi is a prince from a royal house called Orungba in Makun Sagamu, Ogun State. He attended the prestigious Molusi college Ijebu-Igbo Ogun State. He holds a Master’s degree in Technology and an MBA from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso Nigeria.

He started his Engineering career with Universal Engineering Services as a field Engineer and continued with Candy Limited, Alconi Ltd now (NOSAK Ltd) and now BUA Sugar Refinery Limited in Utility Department and presently Head of HSE.

Engr. Shokunbi is an astute manager of men and resources, an accomplished engineer and HSE practitioner.

He is a registered Engineer with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), a member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, a fellow of the Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers and a National Executive member, a member of the Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a fellow of Institute of Risk and Safety Management, a fellow of Institute of Management Consultants, a Certified Management Consultant (chartered), a Corporate Member Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria, a Corporate Member of the Institute of Professional Managers and Administrators of Nigeria, just to mentioned a few.

Engineers’ Forum had an encounter with a man who has chosen the path of safety in rendering service to mankind.

Congratulations on your just-released book “Safety Engineering Practice: in the workplace environment”. What information are you trying to pass to the workforce and what is it about safety that you have devoted your entire life for?

Many thanks to you sir, I’m an ambassador of safety. As an engineer, my job is anchored on safety and I resolve that if it’s unsafe, I will find a solution. Again, safety is embedded in me.

Therefore, my advocacy on safety is all about the promotion and integration of safety engineering practice in the workplace environment using a business-like approach.

Also, the cardinal tenet is to ensure that compliances to the rules and protocols are not compromised by both employees and employers.

The key to the protection of human life and property is zero tolerance to hazards and risks within the controlled premises of the factory as captured in safe practice ACT (1974) and factories ACT CAP FI law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

Also, safety is good for business and stimulates economic growth. Provided compliance is strictly adhered to which in turn record less production downtime, record no injury/fatality and increases productivity.

Often time we hear safety is everyone business. Why is it that engineering personnel usually show more concern for workplace safety?

Yes, safety is everyone business. But as an engineer, everybody’s safety is our top priority and responsibility as it relates to engineering equipment competency and operational risk management because safety is the engine and the engineer is the key that starts it.  Again, safety is like a lock, an Engineer is the key to open it. Therefore, an engineer does things required to serve the needs of his environment by ensuring that the safety code of practice (safety at work ACT 1974, safe work practice OSHA 1910:147, control of work regulations 2005, Risk management OSHA1910: 119 etc) is not compromised.

Also, an engineer manages the framework of processes and procedures used by ensuring that all tasks required to achieve safety during practice are maintained and embraced safely to protect human life and property.

Therefore, an engineer is the driver of safety right from project/ equipment design, installation, commissioning, operations and maintenance/repairs.

The role, responsibility and characteristics of an engineer in society is to maintain professional discipline, ethics and safety standards. As well as the willingness to work and ability to see ahead with creativity and acceptability of new ideas.

READ ALSO  Power Generation Falls Below 4,000mw As Discos Reject Load

Safety and Health are synonymous with the workforce. What is the correlation between safety and standards in engineering practice?

The correlation between safety and standards in engineering practice is that engineers bridge the gap between safety and standards. Therefore, safety is the bedrock of engineering standards. Safety standards have become invaluable for purpose of protecting human life and property in the workplace environment in line with local and international standards (ISO, OSHA, OHSAS, Factory Act Cap F1 law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004).

Furthermore, safety standards are deeply embedded in the engineering system of practices.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is celebrated annually on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. What will be the focus this year and has Covid-19 change strategies in occupational safety and health in the workplace?

 Covid-19 pandemic has changed tremendously, personnel attitude towards good hygiene practice. The purpose of occupational health and safety practice is to ensure that personnel, vendors/visitors and contractors adhered strictly to all applicable standards (ILO, WHO, OHSAS, 18001, ISO 45001, USA Safety Act of 1970, factories ACT CAP F1 law of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. etc) to protect human life and property in the workplace environment.

The following cultures need to be imbibed at the workplace:

  1. Regular hand washing
  2. Sanitizer usage
  3. Body temperature measurement
  4. Good personal hygiene practice etc.

By and large, employers should continuously encourage employees to imbibe the culture and embrace good personal hygiene practice for the protection of human life and safety of workers and reductions in the spread of the virus as captured by Nigeria Safety, Health and Welfare at work (amendment) bill 2020.

SDGs 3and 8 address GOOD HEALTH & WELL-BEING and DECENT WORK & ECONOMIC GROWTH. Can you make an objective assessment on how the nation is meeting these goals given insecurity and economic downturn?

The main objectives of sustainable development goals (SDGs) are to ensure that health and wellbeing for all are sustained and commitment to end communicable diseases, eradication of poverty gender equality, inclusive economy, good quality education and the enabling environment for peace and security.

However, it is pertinent to point out that meeting these goals in views of insecurity and the economic downturn is not visible due to inconsistency in policymaking and poor implementation. The insecurity issue has led to the loss of human life and properties.

The issues of insecurity need to be addressed and tackled with immediate effect to pave the way for infrastructural development, employment generation, quality education delivery, good health delivery system, quality of life improvement, business strategies for economic growth and profitability, the bumper harvest of farm products etc.

Finally, for sustainable development goals (SDGs) to strive, adequate security and infrastructural development is the key that will stimulate economic growth and pave the way for SDG’s success.

This Day newspaper of May 2020 reported that “In its report for the second quarter of 2019, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) lamented that no fewer than three persons were electrocuted every week. In the last quarter of 2018, there were 136,393 complaints from customers about the negligence of the electricity distribution companies (Discos) but by the first quarter of 2019, the complaints had jumped to 151,938. While the body counts continue to mount, the regulatory authorities have not been able to provide any solution.” What are employee, employer and government responsibilities to safety and health at the workplace?

READ ALSO  Technology, Security Take Centre Stage As Edo University Holds Virtual Convocation

 The primary responsibility of the employers is to preserve the safety of personnel, visitors, vendors/contractors etc. within the controlled areas of their operations and to maintain the standard compliance requirement that will meet the prescribed specification or exceed the applicable standard as captured in the local and international standard (OSHA 1910:147, safety, health and welfare bill 2012) protecting the health and safety of Nigerian workers. However, due to a lack of good safety culture and poor implementation of policies.  The accident frequency rate is on the increase with a lot going unreported to the regulators/agencies. It’s good to know that some organization don’t have a systematic and structured process of risks or arising from operational activities. To apply control measures to acceptable levels of priorities all risks need to be identified and evaluated. Provided the risk is known, it will be difficult to control unsafe act and unsafe condition practice in the workplace. Furthermore, corrective action must be owned by an appropriate/responsible person i.e. management representative (chief engineer /head of technical service / lead engineer/line engineer etc.).


Therefore, all personnel must take reasonable care not only to protect themselves but also their colleague because all personnel have a duty to work safely.


Failures of a good management system in place are often found to be direct or indirect factors. Therefore, the authority needs to do the following;

  • To train all personnel
  • To carry out the correction of an unsafe condition
  • To identify hazards within the workplace
  • To carry out enforcement of personnel protective equipment (PPE) usage
  • To carry out regular equipment maintenance

Government regulator (NERC)

The operational activities of NERC as stated in the guideline (Electric power sector reform ACT 2005) among others is to ensure implementation of code and standards as a systematics control measures and technical means to prevent risk effects such as electric arc-blast, explosions, burns, shock etc. on personnel, visitor/contractors within the workplace.

The regulatory agency (NERC) needs to carry out on regular basis routine inspections of equipment/machinery to ensure that preventive and protective measures are in place and full implementation. Finally, good safety culture is built over time. It is never given and only the best is good enough for those who keep to safety culture.

What are common assumptions at the workplace concerning safety and how can they be addressed?

 There is no assumption in safety because safety is priceless. The door to safety swings on the hinge of common sense.

Therefore, awareness and sensitization is the key to compliance acceptability. It is better to be informed than to be deformed. So, safe action brings lasting satisfaction.  Safe operators are smooth operators. If you do it right you will enjoy the benefits because safety is a continuing journey, not a final destination. In conclusion, working without safety is a DEAD end job.

Let’s peep into the future. Would workplaces become safer as robots replace man and how should we prepare for this?

Since safety is embedded in engineering practices. Therefore, safety design is incorporated into robot invention such as controlled variables, function and integrity level etc. that will take the operation to a safe state or mitigate the consequences.

Robots operation will lead to;

  • Reduction in workforce
  • Associated risks reduction
  • Efficient and effective operation
  • Record less downtime
  • Increase productivity
  • Improved safety

Finally, human errors are the major reason for incidents /accidents that occur in the workplace. So, robot operation will reduce the accidents frequency rate associated with human errors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *