April 28, 2016, is World Day for Safety and Health, and we’re celebrating all the ways AECOM keeps its people safe. Join us here this week as we recognize our safety champions who are dedicated to ensuring our projects – and people – remain safe.

When I first joined AECOM, I was the corporate safety, health and environment (SH&E) advisor. Initially, I looked after office safety and assisted in developing and implementing the SH&E management systems. I was also responsible for developing, coordinating and conducting SH&E training. I noticed that while we focus much attention on safety, we could focus more on health. I started by concentrating on different aspects of occupational health and addressing office ergonomics; introducing new benefits for expectant mothers (e.g. assisting in transferring from site office to the main office, relocate desks to ensure they have adequate space, provide foot or back support to increase comfort, educate them on different hazards that could be encountered in the workplace or at home) and providing education around heat stress prevention while trying to help employees lead healthier lives. Through conversations with employees I realized that there was a need to make the work environment healthier, comfortable and more personal.

We began organizing yearly SH&E campaigns in the Middle East, inviting doctors to carry out health checks and give lectures on different topics. We adopted the approach of trying to be preventative rather than dealing with the problem later. We made these campaigns more personal by involving family members and children. For example, one year we held a drawing competition that addressed different topics related to SH&E in the home and awarded the children who participated with various prizes.

Gradually my focus shifted towards wellness, something I am very passionate about. My intention is to influence a change in behavior and lifestyle, which will not only help create a better work environment and encourage employees to become more productive, but will help to positively influence life outside of work ─ which would be beneficial not only to the employees, but to their loved ones as well.

This year, I am collaborating with the medical insurance providers, employee assistance program providers, various health authorities and international organizations to create a successful and effective program. As part of the 2016 Wellness Program, AECOM invited different health care providers to conduct employee health checks including blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and BMI.

DCS_7650_690x355px_96dpiTaken during one of the wellness program health checks done in our Dubai office. The two women in white are Irish medical clinic staff, and from left to right are AECOM employees Al Sarkaji Isam, Camelia Pacurar, Anoop Alukkal and Roy Xavier.

I am extremely fortunate to have found something I am truly passionate about, and to have strong leadership support for all SH&E initiatives. I work in an environment where the leadership continuously strives to improve and demonstrate the culture of care towards employees.

My role also offers travel opportunities within the company that allow me to see beautiful places, be exposed to different cultures and work environments, and realize that every person that I meet has something great to share.

Safety Tip: Be passionate about yourself and stay healthy; make sure you have a well-balanced diet, sleep well, exercise regularly and avoid unhealthy behavior such as smoking.

Originally published 04.26.2016

Author: Camelia Pacurar