The American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP) has named Subba Rao Palagummi, CSP, CMIOSH, F.S. Eng., its 2023 Safety Professional of the Year. The oil and gas industry safety expert from the Middle East has been an ASSP member for 15 years and has helped advance occupational safety and health for more than 30 years in India, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Palagummi is a corporate health, safety and environment specialist at ADNOC Onshore (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company). His organization is involved in oil exploration and production in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates located on an island in the Persian Gulf.

Palagummi oversees a large team of health, safety and environment professionals and contractors, and he has built a reputation of being a safety leader with integrity, knowledge, ethics and an unwavering commitment to reducing illnesses, injuries and fatalities on the job. He developed and delivered a workplace training module called “Supervising for Safety” that supports an organization-wide culture transformation strategy. He also organized a successful road safety awareness campaign to increase public safety.

“He has spearheaded task forces across the group and developed standards and guidelines that led to corporate performance improvement and an enhanced safety culture,” said Tahir Azhibekov, an HSE manager at ADNOC. “His business acumen and people management skills are very much admired across the organization.”

As past president of ASSP’s Kuwait Chapter and the chapter’s 2011 Safety Professional of the Year, Palagummi mentors fellow safety and health professionals and helps them advance their careers. He strives to motivate students and young engineers to pursue safety as a career. He also guides university safety students on internships and academic projects. He was ASSP’s Region 9 Safety Professional of the Year in 2019.

“Rao has always been proactive and hard-working by nature,” said Viswasri Pendyala, an HSE manager at ADNOC. “His leadership skills in handling teams and mentoring young professionals deserve recognition.”

As a lead auditor, Palagummi supports management system reviews and is known for his ability to work collaboratively. He broadly contributed to the development of his company’s life-saving rules as well as a safety and health training matrix for contractors. He also is experienced at creating emergency response plans, incident reporting procedures and oil spill contingency plans.

Each year, ASSP honors an occupational safety and health professional who demonstrates outstanding achievement in the safety field while making significant contributions to advancing the profession. Visit the ASSP website to see past recipients of the Society’s Safety Professional of the Year Award.