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Naveen Lakshmaiya, General Manager Human Resources at the Energy Fiji Limited (EFL), will be attending the 23rd World Congress on Safety and Health this November as an esteemed fellow. Lakshmaiya has dedicated his career to improving workplace health and safety in Fiji, and his recent work has focused on creating an innovative framework that prioritises employee wellbeing.
"Health and safety is a passion and creativity," Lakshmaiya explains, "and for me, it's all about creating a culture that is safe and healthy for all employees." He emphasises the importance of innovation in health and safety, stating, "We’re the first Fijian organisation to implement an innovation management framework." This framework has led to 83% of the workforce being involved in innovation projects, with 80% of those focusing on safety.
These innovation teams are active; discussing new ideas and concepts for improving workplace health and safety. Lakshmaiya explained, "These teams discuss the innovation concept on a weekly basis amongst the various teams that have been formed. "With 64 innovation teams currently in place, the organisation is continuously exploring new ways to prioritise employee safety.
One example of this innovative approach is their annual employee awards night, where the "Health and Safety Team of the Year" is the most prestigious award given. Lakshmaiya described the significance of this recognition, saying "The Health and Safety Team of the Year Award winner is the biggest award category even compared to the Employee of the Year." This focus on safety not only highlights the organisation's commitment to employee wellbeing but also encourages all employees to prioritise safety in their work.
Lakshmaiya's team consists of young and dedicated health and safety professionals, who work closely with him to execute his vision. He explained, "Managers have shared and taken on board the vision of EFL. His HR Team meets on weekly basis to discuss progress and share the same information with the Executive Management Team and the same is reported to the EFL Board.” The EFL Board acts as an inspiration and guide in execution of the Strategic Health & Safety Plan.
This 360-degree approach to communication and engagement ensures that everyone is aware of the organisation's safety initiatives and their progress. Lakshmaiya elaborated, "The engagement process that we have put in place is a 360-degree format. Which means every person, every individual is aware of what's been reported."
One of the projects Lakshmaiya's team is currently working on is a mental health framework, which is in its research and development stage. He highlighted the importance of creating a locally relevant framework, saying, "We want a local Fijian concept, we want to make sure that the document is live and shared amongst our 900 employees." One key takeaway from Lakshmaiya's approach is the importance of involving all employees in the process of improving workplace safety. By creating a culture that values safety and encourages innovation, organisations can empower their employees to take an active role in ensuring a safe and healthy work environment.
As the World Congress approaches, Lakshmaiya will undoubtedly bring valuable insights and ideas to the table. Highlighting the unique opportunity for learning and exchanging of ideas that the event presents, Lakshmaiya continues, "With 4,000-plus participants and keynote speakers...the various traditions surrounding health and safety is on display, which will give us an in-depth insight into the overall Congress for the four days that we're going to be around." Lakshmaiya and his team have prepared an 11-point plan for the event, with the goal of connecting with other delegates and expanding their global perspective. As he explained, "Each one of us will meet 100 persons from across the globe to exchange ideas in the anticipation that a 15 member delegation from EFL will attend the Congress and then bring that knowledge back not only to the organization but share amongst our networking groups in Fiji."
Having missed the previous Congress due to COVID-19, Lakshmaiya's excitement for the upcoming event is palpable. Reflecting on his own experience, he shared, "It's 22 years into the perspective of health and safety business." As the General Manager of Human Resources, he has overseen numerous developments and new initiatives in the field of health and safety. One of the innovative approaches Lakshmaiya implemented is a weekly newsletter called "Bula Taqomaki," a Fijian cultural term that emphasises the importance of communication in promoting a safe and healthy work environment. He proudly states, "We release the newsletter every week. Every week for the last ten years. It gives a strength on the platform that we are communicating news on health and safety, especially mitigating risks and the preventive approach."
Lakshmaiya's passion and dedication to health and safety, as well as his innovative approach to communication and fostering a safety culture within his organisation and externally also, make him an invaluable contributor to the Congress.