Safety is a basic concern in our daily life. Because it takes only a slip, either resulting from force of habit or negligence, for accidents to happen, The LifesaverTM project has been initiated to raise safety awareness not just at workplace but also in daily life. The initiative has been a roaring success thanks to the concerted efforts between Chemicals Business, SCG and Noen Phayom Community, a model community where the members work together to put safety first in everyday life.
An interview with Somchai Kotchadech, Community Engagement Manager and representative of Chemicals Business, SCG and Sanya Saisamorn, Leader of Noen Phayom Community, clearly illustrates their collaborative spirit over the course of almost two years of the project and how its success is set to improve safety practices across Rayong.
How did The LifesaverTM project start?
Somchai: It started out as an internal project that raised awareness of safety in daily life among SCG employees. Once it started to show results, we decided to expand it to our surrounding communities. At that time, Rayong was also the province with the highest road fatalities in the country.
Sanya: Noen Phayom had already been working with Chemicals Business, SCG since the setting up of its community enterprise. With The LifesaverTM project, our nine community committee members held a meeting with a working team consisting of over 40 villagers to ensure we could give full cooperation with SCG.
Somchai: We chose to pilot the project with Noen Phayom Community not only because of the readiness of the community’s working team, leader, and committee but also because the community members worked together well and were truly committed to the cause. That’s how the collaboration began.
What kind of safety is promoted by The LifesaverTM project, and how is it promoted?
Somchai: The project primarily promotes road safety. Following our initial discussions, we signed a memorandum of understanding with Rayong’s Provincial Administrative Organization. We then held a meeting to discuss what activities we could collaboratively carry out to make the project successful and came up with the Seven Life Saving Rules: 1) Drink don’t drive, 2) No phone while driving, 3) Always wear helmet, 4) Fasten seat belt, 5) Follow speed limit, 6) Carry driver’s licenses, and 7) No driving against traffic.
Sanya: The project started with sessions on basic traffic rules by Map Ta Phut Provincial Police Station and sessions on road safety tips by Rayong’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Provincial Office and motorcycle dealerships. A survey was then conducted in the community to determine the size of the population. It showed that the Tulip Village was made up of 288 households, meaning that there were supposed to be over 1,000 people. With this preliminary information, SCG provided each household with two helmets, one for an adult and the other for a child, so the people could no longer say they had no helmet.
Somchai: In the meantime, activities were held to raise safety awareness. Random checkpoints were set up, and with the help of the local residents, accident-prone spots along the roads leading to and out of the village were thoroughly surveyed. Any trees blocking the view near road curves were cut down by the municipality office, and safety mirrors were installed at sharp turns and intersections to allow drivers to see oncoming cars.
Sanya: We have learned a lot by working with SCG. We were generally not as thorough as they were. What they have given us is corporate standards for developing human resources. Because we worked together to put in place action plans, progress tracking systems, and clear working processes, the project produced concrete results.
How has the project been received by the community, and what have the results been like?
Sanya: The community members have become clearly more safety-conscious. The helmet use rate jumped from 50% in the first survey to 70% in the second survey and has since been rising. Random checkpoints also confirmed this. People who would say that they didn’t see the need to wear a helmet for a short distance also started to change after we stressed that an accident could happen regardless. It is not easy to change people’s mind, so we took our time to cultivate this safety consciousness in their way of life.
Somchai: I adopted the work philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej as my guiding principle. Instead of imposing an already fleshed out project on others, I invited them to join me and help work out what to do right from the beginning. I asked them if we should survey accident-prone locations and how we could fix them. As a result, they were willing to work with me. As my process prioritized participation, discussion, and collaboration, the project was well received by the community members.
What are the next goals?
Somchai: We expect to achieve a success rate of over 80% and scale up the project to other villages in Rayong. Currently, Feung Fa Village, a neighboring village in Ban Bon Community, has joined the project. We are also working with the Rayong Administrative Organization. The governor has recently assigned the Deputy Commander of Rayong Provincial Police and the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Provincial Office to initiate a safe traffic community project at all 16 police stations across Rayong.
As the leader of a model community, how do you feel about The LifesaverTM project?
Sanya: It is an excellent project. When SCG approached us, we immediately agreed. I believed SCG had a high chance of making the project successful, and they had so far taken such good care of people in our community. Because it is hard to change people’s behavior, we worked very hard to come up with ways to inspire a sense of self-preservation in people. I think this is a good thing, and everyone in the community has to work together.
What has the project taught the participants?
Somchai: Participation is key, right from the very first step of the project. If you come up with the idea and expect others to just follow it, it is less likely to succeed. Continuous involvement can help foster safety consciousness. Keep in mind that even traffic rules fail to change their behavior. I believe that if we can inspire them to change their behavior and look out for themselves and their families, the impact will last much longer. And the results have confirmed that, both behaviorally and statistically.
The success of the project is the result of the participants’ serious commitment to safety practices, which have gradually transformed into safety habits that are beneficial to their everyday life. As a “lifesaver,” both to ourselves and others around us, we can contribute to a safer and happier society.
The LifesaverTM is a project that promotes and fosters a safety culture in Chemicals Business, SCG. Its goal is to create a society of safety by raising awareness among the employees and inspiring them to value their lives and their own safety as well as that of the people around them. Eventually, they will start looking out for each other by habit, and safety practices will become second nature to them.
In 2017, Chemicals Business, SCG signed a memorandum of understanding with Rayong’s Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Provincial Office and Noen Phayom Community to launch a road accident prevention project in Noen Phayom Community in Rayong. Piloted in the Tulip Village, the project set out seven lifesaving rules:
1) Drink don’t drive,
2) No phone while driving,
3) Always wear helmet,
4) Fasten seat belt,
5) Follow speed limit,
6) Carry driver’s licenses,
7) No driving against traffic
These rules were established to prevent and mitigate losses from traffic accidents, foster a road safety culture, and cultivate safety consciousness in the community in a sustainable way.