Malaysian construction giant elevates culture of safety
17 Dec 2022 | The Star
A stretch of MRT Putrajaya Line underground tracks near the Hospital Kuala Lumpur Interchange.

Kuala Lumpur: Gamuda Bhd’s relentless drive for excellence in all areas of the construction industry has resulted in two of its subsidiaries winning international awards for elevating safety in the most comprehensive sense of the word.

Gamuda leads in safety in Taiwan

Just last month, Gamuda won the Excellent Honour in Construction Golden Safety Award 2022 for their marine bridge project in Taiwan, making it the first Malaysian company to win this prestigious award from Taiwan’s Ministry of Labour.

The RM521.75mil (NT$3.95bil) project from Taiwan’s state-owned energy company, CPC Corporation, to support CPC Corporation’s Third Liquefied Natural Gas Receiving Terminal in Taoyuan, Taiwan, is at 80% completion to date.

The 1.61km Marine Bridge Guantang is Gamuda’s second project in Taiwan.

The contract, awarded to both Gamuda and its Taiwanese partner, Dong-Pi Construction Co Ltd in 2019, involves the construction of a 1.23km marine bridge connecting a receiving terminal to a man-made island, and a 284m-long road embankment, includes soil investigation, foundation, a temporary bridge, a working platform, together with environmental protection works. In 2022, the marine bridge was extended by 376m, totalling to 1.61km.

Describing the award from Taiwan’s Occupation Safety and Health Administration, Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd’s Managing Director, Justin Chin, said Gamuda takes great pride in pushing the ceiling higher when it comes to upholding the culture of safety in all of their international projects.

“We are incredibly appreciative of the team’s commitment to keeping the workplace and our workforce safe, and we are very encouraged in being the first Malaysian firm to receive such an honour from Taiwan,” he said.

This project has received praise for its attention to employee welfare as one of the components of ensuring safety and wholesomeness. Gamuda’s joint venture here has been singled out for its rigorous methods in addressing risks arising from weather to workers involved in this marine construction through engineering solutions along with stringent safety precautions.

Safety through design and risk management

Gamuda has put in a dedicated risk management team with knowledge about maritime meteorology to schedule work around wind/wave/tide/current forecasts to minimise risks. It opted to use steel box cofferdam for pile cap construction so workers could work in dry conditions, away from the waves. It also designed the project around the use of precast segmental girder box instead of the in-situ casting method for bridge works to reduce offshore lifting works, concreting works and the need to work at height.

(From left) Chin with MMC Corporation chief operating officer Mohd Razin Ghazali receiving the Sword of Honour from BSC chief executive Mike Robinson.

M’sian tunnelers do it again

Meanwhile, Gamuda’s other joint venture with MMC for the Klang Valley MRT project continued to gain international recognition when MMC Gamuda KVMRT (Tunnel) Sdn Bhd, or MGKT, landed another Sword of Honour, the third, from the British Safety Council (BSC), following its maiden success in 2019 and consecutive win in 2020.

Founded in 1957, the BSC – with members in more than 60 countries – has campaigned tirelessly to protect workers from unsafe conditions and is now a significant player in moving many organisations to internalise high standards of occupational health and safety.

As the main contractor for the MRT Putrajaya Line that runs from Sungai Buloh to Putrajaya via Serdang, MGKT received two awards from the BSC last week, one for overall excellence in upholding health and safety at the workplace and the other for ace-ing a comprehensive safety audit.

BSC’s Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit is an annual audit that the organisation enters into voluntarily as part of its commitment to OSH excellence through a year-long audit that requires the organisation to undergo a comprehensive evaluation of its OSH policies, processes and practices.

Created in 1980, the Sword of Honour assessment methodology is now even more intertwined with the Five Star Occupational Health and Safety Audit Report, which involves documentation review, interviews with senior management, employees and other key stakeholders, together with inspection of on-site activities over two weeks.

It also measures the organisation’s performance against key health and safety management best practice indicators, with a detailed review of over 60 component elements. BSC’s approach to a wholesome workplace also sees health promotion at work as a key consideration – in 2019, the scope of the audit was expanded to include mental health.

Receiving the Excellent Honour in Construction Golden Safety Award from Hsu Ming-chun (centre), Minister of Labour, Republic of China (Taiwan) is Datuk Ha Tiing Tai (far right), Gamuda Bhd deputy group managing director with the project owner, consultant as well as joint-venture partner.

Rated five-star on the global front

Only organisations with a five-star rating can be considered for the Sword of Honour, where the nominee must earn a score of at least 92% in the previous year’s OSH audit as a prerequisite. To put the achievement into perspective, MGKT is one of the select few organisations worldwide, out of 118 applicants, that has made the cut for the 2022 Sword of Honour and to date, remains the only Malaysian company to win it.

“These awards are a testament to the sustained effort of our people for continous improvement in managing risks and striving for international safety and health best practices year after year. While we continue delivering our projects, we want to leave a lasting legacy when it comes to safety and health, and continue to lead in this space regionally,” said Chin, who was in London last week to receive the Sword of Honour on behalf of Gamuda.

BSC chief executive Mike Robinson, said: “On behalf of the board of trustees and staff of BSC, I would like to congratulate MMC Gamuda on achieving the very highest standards of health, safety and environmental management. To achieve the Sword of Honour once is laudable – to achieve it twice is impressive, but to earn a third one is truly outstanding.”