Being in one of the most risky industries pertaining health and safety, ensuring that employees perform like well-oiled machines solely relies on 'team work', Reinier Northman of Fuchs Oil says.
Fuchs Oil is subsidiary of the German-based Fuchs Petrolub SE, the world's largest independent lubricants manufacturer. The company recently acquired Lubritene. This South African company specialises in the manufacturing of lubricants. The acquisition means that the Health & Safety department of Fuchs Oil will become responsible for health and safety throughout the entire organisation. During the 2014 MAKROSAFE Health & Safety Awards, Fuchs Oil was awarded the Top Achiever Award in the Chemical, Rubber, Oil & Paint Industry. Reiner explains that the following 4 pillars in health and safety were pivotal in ensuring they scooped the award.
A well-structured and well- managed health and safety programme
Once you commit to implementing a health and safety programme, you need to carefully decide how you will manage your programme. This is the most difficult part of any programme. Having the right tools and support to ensure that your health and safety programme runs smoothly is important. However, having your finger on the pulse of all aspect of the programme continuously is essential.
Start with a Comprehensive Health and Safety Compliance Audit
Like most things in life, if the foundation is weak or incorrectly laid, anything built on top of it will not be solid. The same applies to health and safety programmes. That's why a compliance audit is required. Check the following when conducting a health and safety compliance audit:
- Ensure that the audit includes the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations 1993, the SANS codes that support the OHS Act as well as Building Regulations and By-laws that are applicable.
- Have an independent professional auditing your health and safety compliance. Independent audits will provide a more accurate view of your current compliance measured against the latest relevant legislation, regulations, standards and bi-laws.
In-depth Risk Assessment
As most injuries happen when tasks are performed, the first step is to identify all hazards associated. Identifying hazards associated with all other activities such as, storage of hazardous chemicals, raw material etc. is the next step. We included our suppliers and contractors to ensure that all necessary control measures are implemented to prevent any incidents or accidents from occurring.
Identifying the hazards is essential but controlling it is most important. That's where 'team work' comes in specifically. Without the help and commitment of all involved, your programme will fall flat eventually.
Most inspections are a legal requirement but they also assist with hazard identification on a daily basis. Thanks to these inspections, many hazards in the work place have been eliminated. Due to the commitment of all employees, many incidents have also been prevented as they were identified before the work even started. Over 80 health and safety inspections are conducted regularly at Fuchs Oil. They range from Health and Safety Representative Inspection, First Aid Inspection to Air conditioning inspection checklists. The extremely low number of incidents reported is quite an achievement.
Renier and his team are assisted by MAKROSAFE. 'I looked for a company that would be able to assist me in the day to day management of my health and safety programme. I did not have to search far to find a Health and safety company with a national footprint and a branch in Ekurhuleni. Their well-structured health and safety programme and their cloud-based health and safety management system support us in management and running of our health and safety programme. They identified all the gaps, provided an in-depth report and highlighted the Gaps. They also drafted an action plan which they monitor on a monthly basis. Based on that, they suggested control measures which we implemented, ?� he explains why he calls it 'team work' to achieve health and safety in the workplace.
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