Business: Health and Safety a Priority for Some, at the Bottom Of Agen
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The NOSCARS banquet is a local premier awards evening for both national and international companies that excel in occupational safety, health and environmental risk management.
“It is an auspicious day for those in the business of health and safety,” opened Greg Morris, chairman of NOSA’s parent company, MICROmega Holdings, as he welcomed those companies who had excelled in this field over the past year.
In contrast to Mdladlana’s speech at a national commemorative event for health and safety in the workplace held in Bloemfontein earlier that day, Morris applauded the NOSA clients that achieve NOSCAR status on an annual basis.
He also drew attention to the fact that NOSA believes far more national growth is required in the area of occupational health and safety, and that NOSCAR status is something that all companies should strive to achieve.
“Each year, more of our clients reach the high level of standards required to achieve NOSCAR status,” he told the honoured industry representatives gathered to acknowledge their collective achievements, adding that this growth was something of which the gathered guests should be proud.
Only 7% of all companies graded on the NOSA systems achieve NOSCAR status, which is an indication of the prestige associated with the award, and the list of winners includes some of South Africa’s biggest and most influential companies.
Some of the evening’s winners included companies such as South African Breweries, Eskom, Tongaat Hulett, various divisions of Transnet, BHP Billiton, Amalgamated Beverages Industries, Grinaker-LTA, NAMDEB and Air Products.
Business might be tougher with companies scaling back on expenses across the board but, for these major South African industry players, maintaining health, safety, and environmental standards remains a must.
By contrast, Mdladlana lamented that he was tired of talking to people who do not want to listen or prioritise the safety of workers.
Clearly, the companies and employers he was referring to do not belong to the respected industry players accepting their NOSCARs at the prestigious event.
Contributing members of society
Julian Nare, power station manager at Hendrina Power Station and a first-time attendee of the awards evening, revealed that his company achieved the NOSA 5-star rating for the first time in January of this year, after returning to the NOSA system after a break.
“We moved away from the NOSA system a few years ago,” he explained, “but have since returned because of the value of the NOSA brand. NOSA offers a well-recognised, respected and competitive system that gives both our corporate leadership and clients a strong assurance of the safety culture engrained in our organisation.”
According to Nare, the capital outlay involved in the implementation and upkeep of such a system is an investment rather than expenditure. “Stringent and effective safety standards save lives,” he insisted. “There is no reason – financial or otherwise – for this not to be an absolute business imperative, particularly as NOSA offers such a competitive service. There is an extreme return on one’s investment.”
In return, MICROmega Holdings has invested significantly into NOSA’s brand, products and service offerings.
“NOSA has shown phenomenal growth over the past four years and we intend to continue this growth through further development and re-investment into the brand,” expanded Morris.
“Both NOSA and MICROmega Holdings intend not only maintaining our position as the preferred supplier of occupational risk management systems, but also raising the bar and improving safety and health standards across South African industries.”
Thirty-nine years of excellence
Morris’ promises enhance an already entrenched local phenomenon. Madelein Milner, health and safety superintendent at Manganese Metal Company, a BHP Billiton company, says: “The NOSA 5-star rating system is something that industry workers across the country aspire towards.
“Management implements these systems, but it is the dedication of the guys on the floor that really make them work. NOSA’s awards programme offers tangible proof of what they have achieved, far more so than a certificate of compliance on the wall. A NOSCAR is something to aspire to and be proud of,” she explains.
According to Milner, NOSA’s success lies in the combination of easily accessible training with user-friendly tools that assist companies in implementing and maintaining a successful SHE system, over and above NOSA’s guidelines.
“What good is a management system without compliance?” she asks. “NOSA offers the skills and tools to achieve this compliance, even excel in health and safety maintenance.”
Such is the success of NOSA’s programmes that the training provider is currently running at maximum capacity for all its courses.
“This is a great tribute to the culture of safety within South African industry,” Morris points out. “It’s also a good indication of how important this field remains, despite tough economic times.
“Each of us here tonight recognises the importance of implementing and maintaining preventative risk measures. The impact costs of injuries are simply too high to bear. Along with downtime, the collateral damage associated with injuries, including morale issues and trade union activity, place risk management at the top of any board’s agenda, and we have a world-class best-practice system to support this priority.”
Justin Hobday, NOSA’s recently appointed managing director, summed up the evening by congratulating the evening’s winners, each of which make a difference to South Africa’s overall SHE culture.
“I am also proud to be involved in an organisation such as NOSA that really makes a difference to people in their workplaces,” he concluded.
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