Defending yourself and defending others

Izah Azahari

Following the enactment of the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority Order 2018; the Safety, Health and Environment National Authority (SHENA) was established to regulate workplace safety, health, environment and radiation matters in both public and private sectors.

SHENA is responsible for the implementation of several HSE regulations, including the 2009 Workplace Safety and Health Order.

Partners to improving HSE standards at the workplace are SHENA’s Approved Training Providers.

With currently 27 Approved Training Providers, they are able to offer various HSE trainings – first-aid, firefighting, material handling, and occupational health to name a few.

In April 2021, SHENA accredited Contact Combat as the first and only training centre to offer training to mitigate risks of physical violence through various self-defence training programmes.

In an interview with the Bulletin, Director of Contact Combat Sukri shared that he has experience in various forms of martial arts.

ABOVE & BELOW: Participants take part in a self-defence training programme; and Director of Contact Combat Sukri showcases how to take down an opponent. PHOTOS: BAHYIAH BAKIR

As his previous work brought safety risks, it led him to research the most practical and realistic self-defence programme, which he was fortunate enough to train in during one of his postings overseas.

With an accreditation from an international federation, Contact Combat approached SHENA to enlist as an Approved Training Provider covering aspects of physical violence and abuse at the workplace.

“Up until now, we didn’t have anything for security guards, inspectors, and some law enforcement agencies, and this is where we come in,” said Sukri.

“We developed programmes specifically for these sectors and in close consultations with SHENA and government agencies we got approved and are now supporting the implementation of the 2009 Workplace Safety and Health Order.”

Established in 2019, Contact Combat managed to secure its first government contract in 2020, and since its accreditation has received more interests from other government agencies.

Contact Combat exists to close the training gap and requirement for regulators, inspectors, field operators, security guards and the like, Sukri said.

“Companies sometimes employ security guards and have them in-house, and because of the nature of their work, they need to be trained to counter physical violence,” added Sukri.

The types of courses offered by the centre include Self-defence for Inspectors, Basic Security Training and Law Enforcement Training, with the main difference between the programmes determined by their objectives and their arresting power.

An inspector does not hold any arresting power, but the official needs to know how to deflect and escape from danger; meanwhile, a security guard needs to know how to fend off intruders and unwanted visitors from the business premise they are protecting.

On the other hand, law enforcement agent has arresting power and will need to be able to stand his or her ground to counter physical attacks and arrest a suspect.

“Contact Combat supports the implementation of the 2009 Workplace Safety and Health Order, and being an approved training provider of SHENA, we will work towards that goal.”

Participants learn different topics in the courses, including, Control Tactics; Escort and Takedown; Search and Cuffing; Combat Skills and Weapon Disarming; Third Party Protection and Break Fall.

Within the training programmes, participants learn the non-excessive use of force concept; and through various different techniques, learn to use the right level of force to counter attacks and simultaneously meet their objectives.

However, Sukri said that striking is not the first option in any encounter as security and law enforcement agents’ roles are to not harm others but to protect themselves along with others nearby, and to an extent the perpetrators from harming himself or herself.

Sukri explained that as the training observes set standards, participants would have to go through tests such as written; practical; simulation – a key component to ensure they understand the techniques while under given pressure and unknown variables; and attendance.

Meanwhile, the total training period for Self-Defence for Inspectors takes 16 hours, Basic Security Training 32 hours and Law Enforcement Training 80 hours, which are divided depending on their trainee’s availability.

In conforming to SHENA’s standards, the certification is valid for three years, and trainees will then have to undergo refresher courses that are eight hours, 16 hours and 40 hours long respectively.

“Now that we’ve finally been approved, we want to get the word out there to companies that have untrained in-house security guards, that they need to be aware of the 2009 Workplace Safety and Health Order and for employers to train their staff with SHENA-certified establishments,” added Sukri.

Sukri is currently the only accredited trainer from the federation, but there are six others who are in the middle of training as he foresees the expansion of the training centre.