My Job at SATS: I help ensure the safety of SATS Cargo staff

My Job at SATS: I help ensure the safety of SATS Cargo staff

A long-time employee of SATS, Sharifah Alphia Syed Ali Barakbah, or Alphia as she prefers to be known, is part of a team that is tasked with auditing the safety and quality of working conditions at SATS.

With massive Airfreight Terminals filled with cargo, expensive equipment that require a lot of care and over 11,000 employees, safety is a top priority.

Alphia takes care of SATS’ Cargo department, and part of her job is to walk through the Airfreight Terminals to check that safety procedures are being adhered to. “I walk through all six of our terminals four to five times a week,” she shares, “If I spot anything out of the norm, or if I see a way we can keep the team safer, I’ll highlight it to the operations manager.”

Sharifah Alphia

This team Alphia is part of, Performance Enhancement Section (PES), is an independent department reporting directly to Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Gateway Services. They are tasked with conducting internal audits to keep different operation teams across the company aligned to best practices in terms of safety and operational excellence.

The safety regulations Alphia keeps an eye out for include everything from work-at-height procedures, operations of heavy machinery, wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE) in the Airfreight Terminals and more.

Alphia shares that in a company as large as SATS, it is imperative that employees practice good safety habits at all times. Before PES, these safety regulations were managed by individual departments - the development of a new team ensures that operation teams have a second eye on safety as well. They can trust the PES team to watch out for the safety of their team members and to provide feedback on new and improved work processes and safety regulations. Alphia shares: “Our ‘outsider’ eyes also help these departments to see things from a different perspective.”

Officially formalised in 2021, it took some time for the operation teams to get used to Alphia and her team being around. She adds cheekily: “In the beginning, we were sometimes seen as PES-ts!”  

“But over time, with a lot of smiles and patience, they are more accepting of my walkabouts and my checks,” she smiles, “Most of them greet me when they see me as well!”

Alphia’s personable nature, attention to detail and breadth of experience in SATS, is what helped put her in the PES team.

She started her 28-year career as a Customer Service Agent with Passenger Services before moving around to different departments such as Flight Operations, Seat Planners, Lost and Found , Sales and Marketing and Operations Planning in eCommerce. It was during her most recent role in Cargo that Nazri Othman, Senior Vice President (SVP), Cargo, encouraged her to join this new team. “I was intrigued by the role, and I liked that it was working to benefit the company as a whole,” she adds, “Mr Nazri also gave me the confidence boost to trust that I’ll be able to handle this challenge.”

Alphia’s now tackling her role as an Executive with the Performance Enhancement Section with plenty of enthusiasm. She shares: “We want these safety necessities to be daily habits so we make the effort to have conversations with the staff as we do our walkabouts,” she adds: “It’s about building a culture of safety.”