HIP – Sri Lanka’s first Port to be certified for Health & Safety

Commercial & Marketing

Hambantota International Port (HIP) was recently certified ISO 45001: 2018 compliant for their Occupational Health & Safety Management System (OH&SMS), by the International Organization for Standardization headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

The port went through 6-months of preparation and a 3-month audit, prior to receiving the certification, which enables organizations to put in place an effective occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. The audit was conducted by Bureau Veritas Lanka (Pvt) Ltd., a global leader in audit services in the fields of Quality, Health & Safety, Environment and Social Responsibility.

ISO 45001 will position HIP to manage their OH&S risks and improve their OH&S performance through developing and implementing effective policies and objectives. Key potential benefits of using the standard include, reduction of workplace incidents, reduced absenteeism and staff turnover, leading to increased productivity, reduced cost of insurance premiums, creation of a health and safety culture, whereby employees are encouraged to take an active role in their own OH&S, reinforced leadership commitment to proactively improve OH&S performance, ability to meet legal and regulatory requirements, enhanced reputation, and improved staff morale.

“The Hambantota International Port has a world-class loss prevention system in place that protects the people, environment, assets as well as the reputation of all our stakeholders.  With ISO 45001, we have enhanced the system, adding more value to our business processes,” says Ray Ren, CEO of HIPG.

“This is an important milestone for HIPG as it will clearly indicate to all our partners, the prominence we give to health and safety, which is a must as we are dealing with a myriad of different operations which involve man, machine and systems. It is also relevant to note that HIP is currently, the only port in Sri Lanka to receive this standard,” says COO of HIPG Tissa Wickramasinghe.  HIPG which is one of the two companies formed to manage HIP, handles port services, maritime services, the port-related industrial zone, integrated logistics as well as acting as the business incubator for the port. “This standardisation will help us to establish and implement a systematic Occupational Health & Safety Management System at HIP which is auditable and can be continually improved,” the COO added.

The certification process had involved identifying and selecting a third-party certification body, followed by an initial audit also known as a Gap analysis, which is then followed by the main audit known as the implementation audit. The next step is the awarding of the certificate upon successful closure of Non-Conformities (NCs) identified in Stage 2.  The first Annual Surveillance Audit would be conducted, one year after the award of the certification followed by a second Surveillance Audit at the end of the second year of certification. A further audit is done for Recertification on completion of the 3rd year. All audits will be conducted by the certifying body, ensuring that the quality assurance of the standard is maintained.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard-setting body composed of representatives from various national standards organizations. Founded on 23 February 1947, the organization promotes worldwide proprietary, industrial and commercial standards and works in 164 countries.

The COO for Hambantota International Port Group says that the company will continue to maintain the highest standards in port operations through their structured approach towards enhancing quality through international best practices.  Being under the CMPort umbrella is an added advantage for HIP in establishing world standards, as the global port operator brings a wealth of knowledge sharing, and expertise to their local partner.

HIP provides a variety of services from container handling, general cargo, RORO, passenger, bunkering, bulk terminal, gas to project cargo.  It is well on its way to becoming one of a kind, as the only port in the country, designed to handle the full gamut of services in the maritime and logistics area. HIP plans to present economically efficient and environmentally sound incentive benefits and port services to all port users and stakeholders.