Only Professional Safety Engineers Should Handle Engineering Safety – Oyedepo
Engr. (Prince) Adeyemi Biodun Oyedepo is the pioneering National Chairman of Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISE), an offshoot of the Nigerian Society of Engineers. He is a registered Engineer with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He is also a Member of the Nigerian Institute of Safety Professionals.
Oyedepo has assumed various positions of responsibilities, some of which includes; National Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers; Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers (Lagos Branch); Director, National Automotive Council; Director, Centre for Automotive Design and Development amongst others. His leadership prowess has given the association voice and has become a force to be reckoned with in the safety industry.
In this interview with HSENation’s, Femi Da-silva, Engr. Oyedepo shares on his journey into the engineering safety profession, challenges and involvement in advocacy works under his leadership as the Chairman of NISE among others.
Can You Please Give Us A Brief Background Of Your-Self?
My name is Adeyemi Biodun Oyedepo. A prince from Igbajo in Osun State. I had a very humble beginning. I was actually born in Ikere-ekiti. I am the last born of my mother with 6 siblings ahead of me. I grew up in my town where I attended the Baptist Primary School and later Kiriji Memorial College, Igbajo where I finished in 1980. I was the Senior Prefect of the college between 1979/1980.
How Did You Get Into Engineering Discipline And Discovered Health And Safety?
Well, my immediate elder brother, Engr. Ademola Oyedepo has been my mentor from secondary school days. I took after him with interest in Mathematics and science subjects. He studied Engineering and naturally being my mentor I also had no choice but to study Engineering.
How Has The Journey Been Thus Far In Relation To Your Work Experience?
The journey has been interesting. I started off my work experience after graduating with a Bachelor of Science honours degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Lagos in 1986. I had as stint with the defunct NEPA (now PHCN) as a pupilage Mechanical Engineer in 1988. I served in various capacities from Maintenance Engineer to Manager (Generation Planning), Senior Manager (Technical Audit) and Senior Manager (Marketing).
Later on I joined the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria as General Manager (Safety) in 2007 and was later appointed General Manager (Mechanical), a position I held until 2012 before starting off on my own.
It’s been an interesting journey I must admit.
Can You Share With Us Briefly How Nigerian Institution Of Safety Engineers Started And What’s The Vision Behind It?
The Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers (NISE) about 3 years ago as one of the divisions of the Nigerian society of Engineers. Safety is the bedrock of Engineering. No one can understand and operate in Engineering Safety Environment except an Engineer. We are not talking about occupational health and safety but Engineering safety. We design, install, commission, operate and maintain safety devices.
The vision behind it is to make sure that non engineering professionals stop carrying out engineering safety functions. It’s tantamount to unsafe acts.
What Are The Major Challenges You Have Encountered As The Chairman And How Are You Tackling It?
The main challenge is that a lot of non engineering professionals encroach into e ngineering safety especially those in oil and gas and the power industries.
Sincerely, I don’t blame them because nature abhors vacuum. However, it is better late than never. We have now come to occupy our space and are currently collaborating with some existing safety associations. We are in talks to make them understand that we need to work together.
Truth is, when it comes to issue of engineering safety, they should please allow the engineering professionals to handle it while they handle the occupational side.
Can You Let Us Into Some Of Your Collaborations With Stakeholders And The Progress Made So Far?
We have paid some courtesy visits to organizations like Chevron, NNPC, DPR, SON etc. We collaborated with the Lagos State Safety Commission to investigate the fire incident of the LPG plant in Magodo area. We were able to get to the root cause and proffer solutions to forestall future occurrences.
We had a seminar in November at Uyo on petrol tanker accidents and we were able to proffer solutions to forestall future occurrences.
We have submitted position papers to the National Assembly on amendments of safety acts among others.
What Is Your Message To The Engineering Family And Health And Safety Stakeholders?
The safety space is inexhaustible. As stakeholders, we all need to work together and not at cross purposes. We need to collaborate and address the worsening safety and health situation in our country. We have no other country save Nigeria. We must put in our efforts to assist the Government in the war against corruption. Politicians cannot steal money without the active collaboration with professionals especially engineers.