Its people a top priority for Aramco

People at Saudi Aramco know they are a priority. Hence securing the health and safety of its workforce and ensuring their wellbeing is an organisational commitment as that keeps supply chains uninterrupted and energy flow seamless.

In the ongoing pandemic, Aramco prioritised the safety, health and wellbeing of its 70,000 men and women, as well as its communities around the world. It implemented measures to reduce the risk of infection and to mitigate the virus’s impact on its people and business, including active prevention programmes, detailed contingency plans and leading medical support services to minimise risk and ensure the best possible care.

Aramco launched a Covid-19 Mental Health Tool Kit, an online resource for people in isolation or quarantine, their family and friends. This provides guidance and practical steps on how to care for their emotional health during this stressful time.

The company facilitated working from home wherever possible, including employees considered to be at higher risk from infection, to reduce the in-office population, all in line with social distancing instructions issued by authorities in each of our locations.

To protect those working at its facilities, Aramco intensified sterilisation efforts, applied social distancing rules and ensured strict health practices are adhered to. There is also 100 per cent thermal screening of employees and contractors across all facilities and company transport.

Globally, Aramco’s offices together committed to contributing more than $3.5 million to support healthcare and disaster relief organisations. Aramco’s Asia office facilitated donations of cash and critically needed medical supplies to the Red Cross Society in China. Aramco Korea made a donation of $800,000 to South Korea’s Hope Bridge Korea Disaster Relief Association to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Aramco Europe donated funds to Italy’s Fondazione Buzzi for intensive care units and other medical supplies.

Similar measures were taken at other Aramco overseas offices including in the UK and the US.

When it comes to the workplace, Aramco is high on diversity and inclusion and is gender caring. Recently, it took a fresh look at its range of personal protective equipment (PPE) and initiated a project to enhance the company’s line of flame resistant clothing (FRC), including specific designs for the female workforce.

Industrial work wear has historically been designed around male body frames, due to the overwhelming demographic associated with this type of work up until now. With the number of women working in operational roles steadily increasing, Aramco recently took a fresh look at its range of personal protective equipment (PPE) with a view to changing this.

"Aramco’s priority has always been the protection of its people, and when the topic of gender and comfort was brought forward, we immediately set about addressing this," says Loss Prevention Department (LPD) manager Ghassan Abulfaraj.

"A one-size-fits-all approach to PPE can undermine a safety program," said Abulfaraj.

"PPE is essential for the protection of our employees, and an important part of this is ensuring that equipment is not only compliant from a safety perspective, but also comfortable to wear."

With a goal of ensuring the safety and comfort of female personnel, Aramco initiated a project to enhance the company’s line of flame resistant clothing (FRC), including specific designs for the female workforce.

Aniela Zarzar Torano and Fatimah Barnawi, both LP engineers who worked as leads on the project, note that effective female PPE is more than simply a smaller or larger size of the male designs, especially in the Middle Eastern region.

Barnawi says: "A unique aspect to this project — besides that of sizing and safety — was cultural requirements. We needed to work on a design that not only covered the areas of safety and comfort, but also one that met our female employees’ requirements for modesty."

It was this recognition that led to a partnership with DuPont, one of the world’s leading companies in terms of science and innovation, to customize an FRC line that improved comfort and met cultural requirements, all while ensuring that all safety guidelines were maintained.

Over a period of 18 months, LPD and Du Pont worked tirelessly on a number of design concepts that not only looked to improve design and comfort from a safety perspective, but also ensure that cultural requirements were met.

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