H&S compliance is just as important as service at Pronto Readymix

Pronto Readymix Concrete, a division of Pronto Building Materials (Pty) Ltd, is a supplier of quality Readymix Concrete and Mortars. The Pronto scratch plaster/mortar simplifies the wet trade requirements of any construction site and the product is truly unique. Their unique product and production technology also requires a special approach in order to achieve Health and safety compliance.Pronto Readymix has been a client of MAKROSAFE since February 2003. Ever-since, only one serious incident has been reported by Pronto. To date in terms of Health and safety compliance, Pronto Readymix has achieved 97,40% rate for this year and 98,7% from year to date. This justifies the claim that health and safety compliance is also always 'ready' at Pronto Readymix.

Introduction to the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety Programme

MAKROSAFE provides Pronto Readymix with the whole scope of health and safety services. The MAKROSAFE consultant, Sibusiso Mnisi, assesses the risk every month, consults with the company's health and safety officers and conducts regular health and safety audits. MAKROSAFE also provides training for all employees, as well as appointment letter templates, amongst others. Pronto Readymix, without doubt, benefits from the fact that the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety Programme is 100% aligned with OHSAS 18001 management systems.

Occupational Health and Safety Policy according to both MAKROSAFE and Pronto

The Pronto Readymix site in Midrand is visited by the MAKROSAFE health and safety consultant at least once a month. The regional manager also visits occasionally to ensure Pronto Readymix is satisfied with the services rendered. The regional manager of MAKROSAFE uses these opportunities to verify whether all inspections have been conducted and captured correctly. MAKROSAFE assist Pronto in implementing health and safety policies such as safe operation procedures and proper operations of equipment.

Health and Safety Officers, Pronto
Lazarus Mahlangu and Jolanda Terblanche, Health and Safety Officers at Pronto

Pronto takes health and safety to heart as they have two employees dedicated to Health and Safety at their site, where only 17 people are employed. Lazarus Mahlangu and Jolanda Terblanche both work full time and are on site every day. Lazarus Mahlangu adds, 'Our employees are dedicated and are co-operative to health and safety. However, the health and safety policy at Pronto is that employees are breathalyzed on a random basis without prior notice. Employees are constantly reminded on the importance of health and safety through the weekly toolbox talks. Employees at Pronto who completed training are in possession of laminated safe working procedures that they carry around. Also, during constant training programmes, practical evacuation drills are conducted to constantly remind employees on safe evacuation procedures. All employees are equipped with skills, knowledge and resources to maintain high standards of health and safety. At Pronto, health and safety is the responsibility of everyone.

Leadership and Management's Commitment to health and safety

The commitment of management and leadership to Health and safety compliance has seen Pronto Readymix steadily moving up the ladder in terms of Health and safety compliance. Jolanda Terblanche shares, 'Our management understands that a healthy and safe workplace means increased productivity. They have no problems providing funds when investments in a safer and healthier workplace have to be made. ?�

Planning and heading in health and safety

Health and safety inspections by the MAKROSAFE consultant are planned well ahead. In the final week of each month, Sibusiso sends out his meeting requests. Upon arrival, he first assesses the records he put together following his previous Health and safety audit/inspection visit to ensure that suggested actions where implemented, if there were any. This helps him with a point of departure and it gives him an opportunity to practically do a check-up if the corrective measures were implemented correctly.

Hazard Identification, Risk Assessment and determining health and safety Controls

MAKROSAFE has helped Pronto to identify the risks associated with their working activities and has suggested several corrective measures in the interest of protecting their equipment and well-being of their employees. The hazard associated with activities in the mortar and concrete section of Pronto is mainly dust from their raw materials. This has seen them implementing a water sprinkler to help reduce the dust. They have also put in place a dust extractor. Drivers of the front end loaders in the yard have the benefit of a dust-proof cabin while other employees are provided with Personal Protective Equipment.

While many interventions can be considered as 'standard', MAKROSAFE also assisted Pronto Readymix with some advice that was tailored for the company specifically. When Pronto fitted the conveyor belts on their trucks, MAKROSAFE drafted the Safe Operating Procedures about how the conveyor should be handled. They also advised Pronto Readymix to have a cover installed to reduce the possibility of dust.

Another hazard in the yard is the movement of the trucks. Employees are provided with reflective clothing for high visibility to truck drivers in the midst of the dust. Employees tasked with cleaning the silos, which Pronto Readymix supplies to its clients to hold the mortar, are provided with safety harnesses that prevents them from falling should they slip on top of the silos.

Possible risk at the site of Pronto Readymix also considers the huge diesel tank that is required to power the flame that is used to power the plant. The flame dries the mortar and ensures that the final product is dry. The tank is strategically positioned to reduce all possible risk and prevent it from becoming a safety hazard.

Health and safety compliance: Legal and Other Requirements

Pronto provides consistent superior final products produced under controlled conditions that meet SABS specification 0145:1987. Their silos are virtually immune to theft and pilferage. Pronto Readymix provides silos to its clients which are filled up with mortar that is produced in Midrand.

Their employees are all trained and certified according to the specifications of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations of 1993. Special training is required for truck drivers and training is provided as such. All their drivers are certified and are in possession of a driver's licenses and Public Driving Permits.

Objectives and health and safety Programmes

The MAKROSAFE Toolbox talks and the informative leaflets for various aspects about health and safety are randomly available on site. Pronto Readymix also has various health and safety meetings with employees. These are usually conducted weekly especially on Saturdays. Employees highly participate and they value the importance of these meetings. Pronto Readymix hasn't had any complaints from employee when asked to attend such meetings over weekends. Such attitude is encouraging. MAKROSAFE has also never considered it to be a problem to send a representative over the weekend, should the client require assistance such as providing training or conducting a special audit.

Health and safety Implementation & Operations

To ensure that operations are done in the safest and healthiest manner, Lazarus does the supervision over employees in the entire yard. He walks through and ensures all employees are compliant to safe working procedures that they were taught. He also keeps a close eye on the performance of all machines and equipment and makes a plan immediately, should maintenance be required.

Silos that mortar is transported in
Silos that mortar is transported in

Health and safety Competence, Training and Awareness

Health and safety Training is provided to all employees. Jolanda Terblanche states that, 'There is no specific times scheduled for training. Training is provided whenever it is required, either as per the recommendation of the consultant's report or when we feel we need to train our employees even more. ?� Terblanche is notified 90 days prior to expiry date of certification and appointment letters. Notifications are sent automatically by the MAKROSAFE health and safety system. All employees who completed training receive a set of laminated safe working procedures (SOP) that they carry around and can quickly refer to in case of an emergency. 'I was recently looking for some paperwork in one of our trucks when I noticed that the driver had the SOP's strategically attached to his clipboard, ?� Terblanche says. 'Upon inspection of other trucks, I found out this was done by several more. It is clear that each driver is aware of the importance of the information and they have communicated amongst themselves about the best way to keep the information close at hand. ?�

Health and safety; Communication, Participation and Consultation

Considering the fact that employees work in a dusty environment, Pronto Readymix management has taken it upon itself to send them for annual medical check-ups. These checks have to ensure that any health effects are identified and dealt with immediately. This has stimulated employees to actively participate in health and safety and any other team building activities as they realise that their management has their best interest at heart. Team building events include soccer and cricket playing. Such events have empowered employees on the importance of team work which is also very crucial in health and safety, as one's mistake can endanger another's life.

Health and safety Documentation and Records

Pronto Readymix has its own set of health and safety documents, including reports compiled by the MAKROSAFE consultant. The hard copy files are available on site and can be accessed immediately. 'A separate set is available as a soft-copy on the MAKROSAFE system which I can access remotely by using a username and password combination, ?� Terblanche explains.

Operational health and safety controls

Most of the operations work at Pronto Readymix is mechanical. The conveyor system that transports the mortar, however, has to be inspected regularly to determine if it is fully functional and safe to use. A risk assessment is conducted on the conveyor and elements such as chains and moving components are inspected. During the inspection, it is also established whether the guards are still intact. Maintenance of the front-end loaders and equipment is done once a week.

Emergency Preparedness and Response

During training sessions, practical evacuation drills are conducted to constantly remind employees on the safe evacuation procedures they should take in case of an emergency. Closer to the production process, various fire extinguishers are on standby in case of a fire caused by the flames used to dry the mortar. Terblanche states that having these fire extinguishers is essential as there is an oil tank standing next to the conveyor belt.

All Pronto Readymix truck drivers have attended the basic fire fighting training. 'Each truck has a fire extinguisher and it is important that drivers know how to use these extinguishers, ?� Terblanche explains. 'It doesn't make sense to have these extinguishers fitted when they don't know how to use them. Training them is not just in the interest of our company, but also in the interest of the general public at large as our drivers will be able to assist with accidents on the roads or at sites of our clients. ?� The fire fighters are complimented by three well-trained First Aiders that are stationed in Midrand.

Checking & Corrective Action

MAKROSAFE consultant conducts monthly inspection on the Pronto premises to check if compliance standards are being upheld. Should the MAKRSOSAFE consultant come across anything that needs attention, he will immediately suggest the corrective measures. These have to be implemented within the shortest period of time, especially when the advice revolves around aspects that are mandatory. All the findings of his inspection are recorded so that nothing is missed out.

Incident Investigation, Nonconformity, Corrective Action and Preventative Action

Jolanda Terblanche is responsible for conducting an incident investigation in case of accidents at Pronto. She records all the findings of her investigation. As Pronto Readymix hasn't had any incident for the last 12 years, her focus is mainly on the smaller matters. All preventative measures are discussed with the MAKROSAFE consultant first before they are implemented.

Internal health and safety audits

Pronto Health and safety officers conduct health and safety internal audits timeously. This help them to identify any problem issues and will be able to, together with their MAKROSAFE Health and safety consultants, find solutions to it during inspections.

Management Review

Terblanche commends the commitment shown by management when it comes to health and safety. They have the full support of the company's management. Jolanda Terblanche highlights, 'As long as the purpose is to improve health and safety, management doesn't have a problem with signing out for funds towards the cause. ?� The commitment has filtered down to all members of staff which is why health and safety at Pronto Readymix is part of their day to day life. 'Our record of having had to deal with only one incident in the past 12 years is not just an achievement by us as health and safety officials but also an achievement by the staff as well as our management. They all show their commitment and the small number of incidents reported are a reflection of this commitment. ?�

Posted date: 4th Jun 2015
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