Friday, January 09, 2015

AUTOBLAST - We Finish what you started.

Where were you and what were you doing  on the first day of the Millennium?

There were  a whole lot of digging and burying and the guy on the Back hoe 's name was John Santiago! What a character , he was an Indian  You get to meet all kinds on the site and they were all specialists in their own field and as a Safety man you have to earn their respect before their compliance. You primary duty was to keep accidents from happening at all cost and to do this you have to have the Safety of everyone at heart no matter what company the belong to. 

The construction site was like a huge battle ship where everyone has a specified duty to carry out and no man is free from the rules and regulations set by the ship's operating manual especially when it applied to Safety. Site Safety Officers were a relatively new idea in Malaysia when i was working and most companies accepted the idea with two cents worth. It was a waste of time and money to them. Most would rather that there freedom to operate minus all the red tape with concern to Safety.

A siate Safety inspection   was carried out through out the construction areas to ensure that good house keeping was carried out and that nothing that would post as danger to the workers was left untended to. This was not just to ensure safety but it was also a good lesson for workers to be more mindful of their work areas as carelessness often was the cause of most accidents.

My  Personal protective equipment as  a Health, Environment and Safety Officer and I never leave my office without them as an example to everyone else on site.  The Hard hat and Safety glasses was mandatory including the Safety Boots and coveralls off course.. The Hard hat protects one from falling objects and the sun and it also protects the head in case one falls and hit the ground head first. i.e. if you don't loose your head in the process.

The New Millennium saw me working my rounds at the BASF construction site in Gebeng , Kuantan. I made a few good friends while working in the Construction site and it was one of the best times i had especially working for Van Seumerren RomStar. It cam to an end all too soon as the project was completed and the company had to move on elsewhere.

Had i known that  the company was setting up its next operation in Kerteh where i was offered my next job opportunity I would stuck with them. But i made a commitment with a painting company called Autoblast. This company was owned and run by two Indian brothers and the company did the blasting and painting and the installation of all the piping that you see all over the Petroleum refinery facility in  Kerteh. where the Petronas refinery is today. Talk of being a part of history, i was there and did that, I was  part of it all. 

Working for this company was an error I soon found out and it did not last long for me as I was practically fired for "Not being a Team Player" according to the Project Manager the younger brother of the two Indian boys. Call it prejudice, but i should have trusted my instinct not to trust working for Indians and i grew up among them in Penang most of my life. As they would say it in the United States, I was fired for not wanting to play along, in short to close one eye in short to make believe  that I did not see shit coming out of the septic tank where i sat eating at the site canteen, This was the issue that i was nailed for as i refused to ignore the fact tha the Main contractor Samsung Engineering was not attending to the fact that their septic tank was over flowing especially when it rained and that shit was spilling out and most found its way into the storm drain that led to the nearby river. We hard a bio hazard problem on our hand and Samsung was not taking action in remedying it and when I took it to the Safety meeting insisting that they did they approached my bosses and had me fired, simple done deal.

My loyal Safety Boots which last me throughout all the projects i had worked for all in all three of them and lasted almost three years.. In my short time working for Autoblast i cam e to leanr more about the negative side of  major companies than i  ever did in my experience as a worker. Corruption was the least of the problems. Innitally i found i could respect for the Koreans in thei manner they carried out their  work but in time i started to see thieir ugly nature of wanting to dominate and run things accordin to their specific regardless of how they go about ti. Like Zero accident or casualty means it as th sign board says at the entrance to the site. regardless of what happened to employees in the meantime; I was expected on a few occasions to look the other way, but it was never in me to look in the other direction away from what is not right without righting the wrong and it cost me. I learned  the hard way about work politics in Malaysia.

However the amount of work carried out the heavy lifting and the welding and  sand blasting the erection of scaffolding's and the noise these generates and the smell of garbage and urine,made the job on the construction site what it was; not something you would want to spend  thew rest of your life with. Soon one realizes that it was like working in a hell hole only due to my position i had the comfort of escaping into my air conditioned office whenever it got too much and pretend to write my report or something..

Don't work too hard, work smart. This phrase came to my mind every time i look out of the window of my office and saw the Indian boys running around getting yelled at by their Korean  Main Contractor QC inspector Mr. Kim, I told myself It was time to get out of the Construction business. If you want to do good and make sense go elsewhere not here where they only make cents.

As I sat by sketching these two Indian gentlemen actually from India, I tried to follow their conversation.It was like watching a Tamil movie. There was no doubt that these guys were taken advantage of and ill treated for what they performed. Most foreign workers  especially those from India and Bangladesh were not well taken care of by their task masters and sometimes you feel sorry for them especially when they were loyal to their employers to a fault. Yes Sar! No problem Sar! 

No comments: