Ruslan Gatin: 'Our main task is to change people's consciousness, so that even a thought of committing an offense wouldn't appear'
Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC is one of the largest petrochemical enterprises not only in Russia but also in Europe. It includes eight key production factories, Research and Development, Design and Engineering Centres as well as auxiliary shops and offices. It is a special responsibility to take care of safety in such a huge enterprise. Ruslan Gatin was appointed as vice director general of NKNK for economic security, safety and regime a year ago. Realnoe Vremya asked Mr Gatin how his service copes with accidents in the chemical giant and why a psychological approach to every employee matters.
“In Nizhnekamsk, I had to learn many things from scratch”
Mr Gatin, a year has passed since you chaired the safety subdivision of one of the largest petrochemical facilities of Russia and Europe after joining Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC from civil service. Was it easy to decide to leave the post of the vice head of anti-corruption affairs in the Tatarstan Presidential Administration?
Indeed, it wasn’t an easy step that required serious consideration, but I understood where I was going and what tasks I would have to perform. Authoritative psychologists think that each of us should change jobs every 5-7 years on our own initiative to “cheer up” and upgrade our development level and skills. So after working about 10 years in the Ministry of Internal Affairs and nearly the same period in the Tatarstan president’s apparatus, I decided to change activity and accepted the offer I had received, which I haven’t regretted over the year. Moreover, the views and convictions of the company’s management that I share allowed quickly fitting in with the new team and starting to work.
Could you share your impressions of what particularly changed in your work?
As for the impressions, I have them in spades in my new workplace. I have had to see a lot due to the specifics of the previous job, and it is really hard to surprise me. However, here in Nizhnekamsk, I had to learn many things from scratch. To be honest, chemistry as science was never my forte.
I had to fill the gap in knowledge because the post I occupy obliges me to stay tuned for not only safety issues but also the financial and production activity of the enterprise. I learn something new every day. There is no other way, and it is interesting for me! As for the changes, a lot changed here, from the daily routine and work time pattern to literature I read. I will perhaps name multitasking as the main difference between this post and my previous job.
Do you have me-time?
A good question. I always joke that when you change jobs, you live at work during the first year. This how it was. At times, I go to work at five in the morning and go home after midnight. Moreover, the working day ends in the blink of an eye. There are a lot of issues and documents that need to be addressed quickly. We have to work keeping up with the production around the clock. At the same time, I delve into manufacturing processes, improve myself. I was taught this way: “Wherever you work, work honestly”. I try to spend the little free time with my family.
“Nizhnekamskneftekhim is a big and living organism”
Simply around the clock. Could you explain what is the expertise of your subordinates?
We should understand that Nizhnekamskneftekhim is a big and living organism the size of a city, with its houses, streets, roads, citizens and, of course, rules that aren’t always followed by all its citizens. Our main task is to oversee the established rules are followed, improve them simultaneously creating comfortable conditions for the safe work of the staff, contractors as well as our guests.
In this respect, the service that obeys me performs a very wide range of tasks and obligations related to absolutely all production stages and business processes of the company. However, our job cannot be called public. Lifting the veil of providing the safety of such a large industrial enterprise as Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC, we should single out its key areas: anti-terrorist, economic, information, internal security, safety and regime.
Talking about the anti-terrorist protection of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC from illegal interference, we should note that in the current conditions, it has one of the leading roles in providing national security of the Russian Federation, as the violation or cessation of the enterprise’s operation can lead to large-scale negative consequences for the life of the republic’s population, including a considerable decrease of economic and environmental safety of the region.
It must be said that scientific and technological progress does not stand still, giving radically new and high-tech ways of affecting the existing security systems. A clear example of such threats are unmanned aerial vehicles or simply quadrocopters, the fight against which we pay special attention.
One can buy such “toy” now in any store, and then easily launch it, including to an explosion hazardous industrial facility. It's good if it's just for fun, but recent history is rich in other sadder facts.
As an example, I will cite the drone attacks on the world's largest primary oil refining plants of Saudi Aramco in the eastern region of Saudi Arabia in September 2019. Then the act of aggression led to a two-fold drop in oil production in the country, billions of dollars in damage and a sharp jump in world prices for raw materials.
You will say that we are talking about a foreign country, that it is very far away and is unlikely to affect us. In my turn, I will remind you about several events that have taken place not so long ago on the Nizhnekamsk land and are close to our enterprise:
- the shooting of the facilities of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC in November 2013 with homemade rockets by members of the terrorist community Chistopol Jamaat (Hizb ut-Takhrir al-Islami. Prohibited in the Russian Federation);
- the detention in July 2019 of members of the banned in Russia terrorist organization Daesh (Islamic State), planning attacks on transport infrastructure and the Water Treatment Plant — Nizhnekamskneftekhim.
In both cases, thanks to the competent actions of our security forces, serious consequences were avoided, but this is a challenge to which we have to respond and take the necessary measures. Modern engineering and technical security systems are not yet able to provide full protection of protected objects from unmanned aerial vehicles. There are also significant gaps in this part of the federal legislation.
For our part, we regularly monitor technical developments in the field of effective counteraction to UAVs, regularly test such systems and participate in various scientific sessions and conferences. At the same time, we are well aware that, first of all, it is necessary to resolve this problem at the legislative level. To this end, last year and this year, we prepared and submitted to the government of the Russian Federation a number of initiatives and proposals, including the creation of no-fly zones over the objects of the fuel and energy complex. Our proposals have been heard, approved and adopted by the state legislative authorities.
Separately, it should be noted that the personnel of the Company, Kennard PSC PLC security company, and the security department have developed practical skills and actions in emergency and non-emergency situations. For example, just a few days ago, on our initiative, training sessions were held on the subject of anti-terrorist security of the enterprise. The assessment of the actions of all the persons involved was given at the Anti-Terrorist Commission of the Company with the participation of representatives of individual law enforcement agencies.
We will definitely continue to practice this format of events, because it really works and shows the existing problems and shortcomings, moreover, the support of the Company's management is felt in this issue.
In the current conditions of instability of the world economy, caused by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, one of the most important tasks is to ensure the economic security of the enterprise, by protecting its material, intellectual and property interests from external and internal threats.
Within the framework of economic security, special attention should be paid to analytical work, in which the departments of the Service collect, summarise and evaluate a large amount of highly specialised and focused information. Such activities allow us to see many processes from the inside, assessing them for the presence of risks to the interests of the Company. It should be noted that this practice has not previously been used in the security department and has been introduced by me in the work relatively recently, since it was effectively used by me in my previous position.
As an example, I will highlight the analytical work of procurement activities for a separate nomenclature of goods and materials, within the framework of which proposals were prepared that give us significant savings in cash.
Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC pays great attention to accounting for the production of finished products, and therefore it is under the personal control of the director general and his deputies in the areas of activity, including the Security Service.
As part of the work on monitoring the production of finished products, we constantly conduct periodic inspections aimed at both identifying surplus finished products and establishing the facts of their undersupply. Flow meters are actively installed on the main pipelines for pumping out raw materials that are of criminal interest, and their readings are displayed in the control system. There have already been the facts of detention of malefactors together with colleagues from the ministry of internal affairs.
With regard to ensuring the company's own security and combating corruption, it should be noted that we carry out systematic work to review both the local regulations in force in the Company and the development of qualitatively new documents. We have already developed the Regulations 'On the procedure for conducting official checks', 'On the processing of personal data', 'On gifts and signs of Business Hospitality', “On conducting surveys using a polygraph' and others.
The most relevant practices of the Company on anti-corruption issues are reflected in the article of Director General Ayrat Safin, published in the 10th issue of the anti-corruption bulletin on the implementation of anti-corruption policy in the Republic of Tatarstan.
I consider active preventive work and safety promotion to be a positive experience. Weekly meetings with employees and trade unions of services, departments, factories, independent workshops and subsidiaries of the Company are the example of this. At meetings with working groups, we clearly and simply explain to our colleagues the rules of work, give explanations on certain regulatory legal acts, and answer their questions. This is a working format that will definitely bring results.
It should be noted that I also adopted some practices and developments in the field of anti-corruption security from my previous work in the Tatarstan Presidential Anti-Corruption Department.
“The cases of theft exist at the enterprise”
Would you tell us about the most curious thefts? What and how are the employees try to take out of the company's territory?
In general, I will not discover America if I say that we also have the facts of theft at our enterprise. Someone gets caught out of stupidity, someone commits theft repeatedly, purposefully and out of selfish motives. Such employees are of particular interest to us. Our task is to stop such acts, whether it is a piece of copper wire or an expensive device.
There are originators who try to take out the property in the soles of shoes, clothes, or, for example, tied to the body. We have known all these methods for a long time, so for the most part it is not difficult to detain such violator.
Another thing is when we detain an employee with a long work experience, who has awards and a decent salary. It becomes a shame, because by such a rash act, he crosses out everything that he has created and built at the enterprise for so long. The result may be a dismissal under the article and a final point in a long-term career.
When I came to work at the enterprise, I immediately focused on the access control and internal security police, obliging the guards to check everyone and everything without exception at the entrance. Yes, many people did not like it. Individual managers and employees are not used to such “attention”. Imagine, a manager drives up to the checkpoint, and he is asked to get out of the car, show a pass, measure the temperature. The driver is required to open the doors, trunk and hood. At first, there was only negativity. But time, as they say, is a healer, and now this procedure is habitual for everyone.
I always say that we inspect not because we don't trust, but because it's our job. After all, an explosive device can be fixed under a car, and a radical “element” can sit in the car. I don't think any of us would want that scenario. This is the first point. The second is to exclude theft. The driver, having stopped at the territory of the Company, as a rule, leaves his supervisor and goes about his business, freely moving around the territory of the plant.
Are all detainees dismissed or brought to criminal responsibility?
Of course, not. It all depends on the severity of the crime, the amount of material damage, consequences, public danger, there are many legal nuances. We don't have a goal to punish everyone and everything. On the contrary, everything is done to ensure that people do not repeat the mistakes of their colleagues and, when possible, we limit ourselves to disciplinary or material influence. But, as well-known political figure and orator Cicero told us all, “The law is the law!”, and somewhere we are simply obliged to initiate criminal prosecution. We undertake many measures together with our colleagues from law enforcement agencies. For our part, in order to clarify all the circumstances of the incident, we conduct internal audits in accordance with the requirements of labour legislation and local regulations of the Company.
Let it sound loud, but our main task is to change the consciousness of the working collective, so that even a thought of committing an offense wouldn't appear. The principle of the inevitability of punishment by the Roman jurists was formulated in such a way that the effectiveness of punishment is not in its cruelty, but in its inevitability. This means that sooner or later the person guilty of an offense will be found, his guilt will be proven, and he himself will suffer the deserved punishment. I tell my subordinates this all the time. It is necessary that everyone, from a specialist to senior managers, understand that “it won't be like it was yesterday any more”. I believe that any initiatives should be shown by personal example. And so we do.
How do you raise the level of responsibility of security personnel?
We have a lot of tools for this. I will not disclose all the “secrets”, but I will say that the entire staff of the service regularly, on a voluntary basis, passes a polygraph (lie detector), regardless of the period of work and merits. Rotation within the unit also gives good results. Many specialists today already lead separate directions. Special thanks to the psychologists of the company — they also help us a lot in this. Believe me, we work on the level of responsibility, as well as on the moral and psychological climate in the team and their efficiency. It is important for me to have a professional team that is able to perform the tasks assigned to us.
As for the security company, here I will draw a parallel with the theatre, which begins with a hanger, and any industrial enterprise necessarily begins with a checkpoint, where the main role is played by a security guard.
The security guard is the first person we meet when entering the enterprise. In fact, he is the face of the company. I don't think there are any more suitable epithets. Security guard at the checkpoint, more than a responsible position. Therefore, one shouldn't equate a security at a parking lot or in a suburban area with a security guard at the checkpoint of a fuel and energy complex object. These are two different things.
We should also not forget in what conditions he has to serve, what problems and difficulties he faces on a daily basis. Such a flow of people passes through the checkpoint, the load is enormous. At the same time, all employees are different, someone can come to work in a bad mood and is not happy with the inspection, someone wants to be smiled at in the morning, someone thinks that he was treated rudely. At the same time, the guard is obliged to perform his tasks efficiently and promptly. In this regard, we have a question about how to protect people.
We decided to buy mobile video recorders that are attached to the pocket of the uniform. The device captures the picture and conversation online. Thus, we “kill a few birds with one stone” — we protect and simultaneously control the work of the security guard, increase the culture of communication at the checkpoints, eliminate slander, plus do not forget about the anti-corruption component. Currently, such work is carried out at several checkpoints in the test mode. If there is a positive trend and result, we will begin to introduce mobile video recorders everywhere.
I regularly agitate the managers and employees of the company for mutually respectable relationship with the security service, because we need to understand that this is also someone's mother, father, son or daughter. One shouldn't underestimate their work. It is not easy and requires a lot of effort and patience.
“Facts of industrial espionage have already been revealed”
Last year, Nizhnekamskneftekhim wanted to allow the use of cell phones. What is your opinion on this matter?
I am of two minds on this matter. We understand that we are living in the era of digital technologies and accessible communications. The amenities that we are used to experiencing in everyday life, of course, we want to have in the workplace. However, for such comfort, we often have to pay with various accidents and emergency situations. It is impossible to ensure control over each employee. In this regard, it is safer to limit the use of phones on the territory of the enterprise, especially at individual production sites and technological units. We all remember cases when mobile phones self-ignited and even exploded from exposure to high temperatures and other external factors. The second reason for the ban is the leakage of information that constitutes a trade secret.
Nizhnekamskneftekhim is a world-class company with a wide range of technological solutions, which we must keep secret. It is enough to take a couple of photos and send them to a competitor, in order to then reap the benefits of such inactivity for years. By the way, many Russian and foreign companies are now interested in our experience. Security officers have already revealed the facts of industrial espionage in favour of foreign “partners”.
Currently, we have offered individual managers of the Company to use phones to solve production tasks in a test mode. Based on the results of the “experiment”, we will conduct an analysis and decide what to do next. My personal opinion is that the free use of cellular communications in industrial production is unsafe.
Do you personally visit the territory of the Company's factories, or do your subordinates report everything to you?
From the first days of my work, I personally visit the main production sites. Unfortunately, I have not yet managed to visit the entire territory of the enterprise, but I am already close to it. I believe that if you do not see with your own eyes, you will not understand where and how things are going. What problems and questions arise there. Just before meeting you, I've taken off my special clothes and helmet, as I've returned from a tour of one of the Company's production facilities. This work format was shown to me by Director General of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC Ayrat Safin on a personal example in the very first days. All employees of the company know that he regularly visits the company's facilities. This has also become a rule for me. I believe that only in personal communication with the team feedback can be received.
“We have increased the level of information security on the Internet”
Mr Gatin, what events held on your initiative should definitely be mentioned?
I am not one of those who likes to brag about their work and achievements, but I always have something to tell.
When I started working at the company, I had to resolve some issues that have, so to speak, “historical roots”. One of these problematic issues that I inherited was transport security. Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC has repeatedly been subjected to administrative penalties by the Transport Prosecutor's Office for the lack of work in this area.
After calculating all the pros and cons, I took the initiative to create a subsidiary of the Company that can ensure the safety of the transport infrastructure of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. Currently, the company has been established and will start its productive activities closer to the summer.
For me, it was a surprise that at the checkpoints of the Company vehicles were idle standing in prolonged traffic jams. There were empty trucks and cars loaded with valuables in one queue. We conducted a serious analysis and managed to separate the traffic flows by categorising the checkpoints. We reduced the number of machines on the territory of the Company's industrial zones, both among contractors and among the company's employees. And most importantly, together with our colleagues from TGC-16 JSC and TAIF-NK JSC, we have launched a long-awaited project — a transport corridor connecting the territories of the 1st and 2nd industrial zones of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Sergey Olyunin, the director of the branch of TGC-16 JSC, Nizhnekamsk CHPP (PTK-1), and Maksim Novikov, the director general of TAIF-NK JSC, for their well-coordinated and prompt cooperation in resolving this issue.
As a result of these measures, we almost managed to solve the problem with traffic jams. We also had to go deep into the issues of ensuring the security and anti-terrorist security of the fuel and energy complex facility. It should be understood that working in this direction does not bring real profit. Despite this, with the support of the company's shareholders and management, a large-scale and long-term project of organising and developing the complex of engineering and technical security equipment is currently being implemented.
It shouldn't be forgot that some of the company's facilities were put into operation more than half a century ago. The perimeter fence also requires a major upgrade. In addition to all this, the company has a huge area and the length of the perimeter. These factors complicate the task for us and directly affect the financing of the necessary measures, which are estimated in billions of rubles. Nevertheless, the works on some sections have already begun.
Besides, we have increased the level of information security on the Internet. It often happens that information in social networks is intentionally distorted and does not correspond to reality. We work with this phenomenon within the framework of ensuring information security.
We do much work in terms of compliance with the requirements of anti-covid restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus epidemic. The employees of the headquarters of the voluntary people's militia of the security service take an active part in raids and special measures aimed at observing the mask regime, observing social distance and other preventive measures.
Mr Gatin, a question that cannot be avoided. Would you comment on the announced merger of TAIF and SIBUR Holding? How will this affect the work of Nizhnekamskneftekhim in terms of security?
I have no direct relation to the issues of this scale, but I understand well that if you build a working security system, it will work effectively despite the name indicated on the sign at the entrance to the office. I am sure that the security tasks will not change from the change of the owner. We, in turn, continue to do our job. The plant was, is and will be!
“We have a lot of plans and tasks ahead of us”
What qualities have you discovered in yourself over your year of work at Nizhnekamskneftekhim?
I've become more responsible. I well understand the level of decisions I make. I appreciate that in difficult moments I always received support from my more experienced colleagues from TAIF JSC, in particular, I am grateful for the correct advice and guidance to the deputy director general for economic security, security and regime at TAIF JSC, Rinat Galimbekov. Experience is the most valuable resource of a manager, and one should know how to share it.
Working at Nizhnekamskneftekhim, I came to the conclusion that the core laid here in Soviet times is still present in the image of the team, because it is very close-knit and coherent here.
We have a lot of plans and tasks ahead of us. The production of Nizhnekamskneftekhim PJSC will continue to grow and develop. We will develop together. It is possible that we will have to review the existing structure of the division and the management system. The tasks will be solved in parallel with each other as they appear. We work for the plant, not it for us.