Metalco recycling specialises in the collection of recyclable material such as paper, plastic, ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The company won a MAKROSAFE Health and Safety award last year for their best performance in their industry for Health and Safety. Jonathon Starkey, Operations Director at Metalco explains how health and safety compliance is achieved at their premises in Alrode.
Metalco Recycling is the result of a merger between Alex Trading CC, Star Metals (Pty) Ltd and Wynberg Waste Recycling that happened in 2010. 'You can find over 500 of our bins in the Gauteng area and we have 80 vehicles on the road every day. All material is sorted, processed and prepared for the consuming works or foundries, ?� says Jonathon Starkey, Operations Director at Metalco. Starkey has been working closely together with MAKROSAFE since 2000. 'When I joined the business in 2000, I immediately sourced a health and safety consultant that we could partner with to help us achieve our objectives. Health and safety in the recycling industry was something completely new at that time. The industry was also unregulated. However, we vitalised the importance of being compliant. Over the years, we have worked closely together to improve the working conditions and achieve health and safety compliance. ?�
Metalco's health and safety compliance
MAKROSAFE has been contracted to provide full occupational health and safety services. The scope of the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety programme, a programme that is 100% aligned with the OHSA 18001 management system standards, includes monthly risk assessments, compliance audits, Health and Safety Training, Occupational Hygiene Surveys and the administrating and support with reporting injuries on duty (IoD's).
How does the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultant ensures that Metalco's health and safety programmes is effective?
Jaydee Le Roux is the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultant who is tasked with assessing the Metalco premises every month. 'Every aspect of the workplace is essential. When I walk through the yard, I look at everything, for example, if the required signage is there and if it is properly displayed. I also closely assess how the operators operate their various machinery and if it is the right procedure as per the control measures implemented from the risk assessment. I further go on to assess if there are any new hazards present which were not there during my previous visits and I update the risk assessment and/or open action requests that directly affect Metalco's Health and Safety compliance. We also discuss any incidents which might have occurred since the last visit. If that is the case, I will review the procedures that must be communicated to employees. If need arises, I'll reconsider how the communication should be done and what should be improved. ?�
Metalco Recycling, Alrode, Johannesburg
How the assistance from MAKROSAFE has benefited Metalco
Thanks to the close cooperation, the number of injuries reported, as well as production time lost due to accidents and incidents has significantly improved over the years.
With the help of MAKROSAFE, Metalco has also managed to implement a computerised health and safety management system where they store their policies and procedures, inspection, incident and risk assessment reports. The documents are stored on a server where they can be accessed immediately by health and safety officials. 'The new system documents statuses such as the expiry dates of appointment letters as well as dates of when new or refresher training is required, ?� says Starkey.
The system allows management to immediately identify which steps should be taken and where improvements are required. Centralizing and digitalizing all health and safety knowledge in a systematic fashion has certainly helped the management and employees in maintaining the high standards they have achieved. This new system allows management to access all information at the click of a button.
Resources, Roles, Responsibility, Accountability and Authority of Health and Safety
While all knowledge is stored in a central database, employees in the yard are continuously reminded of the importance of health and safety. 'You will find health and safety posters in all our departments and safety signs are displayed everywhere, where they are required. Yes, we do have an incident now and again because incidents unfortunately happen. Most incidents are, however, minor ones that can happen anywhere, ?� he explains. 'Employees know their roles and responsibilities and, as a team, we are proactive in prioritising Health and Safety in our workplace.”
Health and Safety policy at Metalco
Metalco doesn't take chances when it comes to health and safety. They continuously stress the importance of concentration and attentiveness when performing duties as they have moving parts, vehicles and heavy machinery in the yard. 'Every month we have a health and safety meeting with all our employees. Something that is totally unacceptable is being intoxicated while on duty. Where necessary, employees are subjected to a breathalyser test to establish if they are not under the influence of alcohol. The last thing we want is an employee who endangers himself or other employees due to negligence or reckless behaviour. A sense of good corporate governance needs to prevail and a philosophy of 'prevention is better than cure' must be adopted, ?� Starkey continues.
Planning ahead in Health and Safety Training
One of the things Metalco tries to plan ahead is training for its employees. 'At the beginning of the year, we sit together and draft a calendar to establish which employees need to go for health and safety training and when, ?� Starkey says. 'During the year, MAKROSAFE reminds us when time has come to send employees for training. ?� Most of this training is provided at the MAKROSAFE premises, though certain training sessions are also performed at the Metalco site.
Hazard identification, risk assessment and determining controls
Jaydee Le Roux says, 'When I do my Health and Safety inspections, I always look out for new hazards. Incidents that occurred are also discussed and if that is the case, I will update the risk assessment and implement new control measures which must be communicated to all the employees. If need arises, I'll reconsider how the communication should be done. There are many health and safety challenges due to the the fact that Metalco is a recycling plant and there is a number of heavy mobile equipment and machinery operational in yard. Therefore, one needs to look at all the equipment and see if the point of contact between the operator and the equipment/machinery is safe. I also need to make sure that all rotating blades, rotating chains and conveyor systems are guarded. There is a number of rotating equipment that has sharp crusher and shredder plates that is used to crimp and shred the metal being recycled. ?�
Health and Safety Legal and Other Requirements
Re-certification training is a legal requirement especially for drivers of forklifts and overhead cranes, fire fighters and First Aiders. Well aware of these legal requirements, Meltaco ensures that their employees are re-certified on time. Only trained and certified operators are allowed to operate machinery and equipment.
Health and Safety Implementation & Operations
For handling the material that is offered for recycling, Metalco makes use of machines that is imported from Europe. 'These machines come with standard safety features. However, all these machines were fully inspected and documented by MAKROSAFE before they were used. Based on their findings, they produced additional health and safety control measures. The new implemented measures ensured that our machinery is compliant and absolutely safe to operate, ?� says Starkey.
Health and Safety Communication, Participation and Consultation
All safe working procedures and standards are communicated to the employees. Health and safety posters, which are downloadable from the MAKROSAFE website, are displayed on their walls. Monthly health and safety meetings pro-actively remind employees on how to integrate health and safety into their day to day activities. Jaydee Le Roux adds:'I also assess how health and safety is perceived in the workplace when i talk to management and employees during my health and safety inspections. A lapse in concentration from any employee may cause a forklift driver to bump a pedestrian, a hand may get caught in a conveyor system or metal objects from an excavator or overhead crane may fall onto an employee. Employees are continuously reminded of all these hazards to ensure that health and safety is continuously respected. ?�
Emergency Preparedness and Response
Over the years Jonathon Starkey has seen many weird items being handed in for recycling. 'We have come across some dangerous and explosive items in our bins. As these have to be handled with care. We have created a poster so that they can be easily identified and handled accordingly. ?� Metalco also has contact details for bomb disposal squads and emergency services close at hand so that they can call for assistance should such emergency arise. An evacuation floor plan is clearly displayed and it is communicated regularly to employees.
Evaluation of Health and Safety Compliance
When Jaydee Le Roux visits Metalco, the first thing he addresses is the Action Plan that he drafted following his previous visit. 'We discuss the Action Request report and the Metalco health and safety officer informs me of what was fixed. I will practically double check this when I do my physical walk through inspection on that day. I will have another look and see if there are any new hazards present which were not there in the previous visits. We also discuss the incidents if there were any for the month.”
Internal Health and Safety Audit
Metalco has its own health and safety officer who conducts internal Health and Safety audits at regular intervals in the periods between the visits by the MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultants. The health and safety officer is fully trained by MAKROSAFE. The MAKROSAFE training institute is accredited with Health Welfare Sector Education Training Authority (HWSETA). The Training is a balance of both theory and practical which has greatly assisted the Metalco health and safety officer in performing his duties.
How willing they are to keep high standards?
The health and safety improvements achieved in Alrode have persuaded Metalco's sister site in Wynberg to use the same MAKROSAFE Health and Safety consultant for assessments. 'They now want to surpass us in terms of health and safety compliance. It is a good challenge as that will push us both to keep everything up to the highest standards. It's all about a good Service Level Agreement (SLA)we have with MAKROSAFE as we know our role and they play theirs, ?� Starkey concludes.
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