Health and safety of employees is a business priority across industries – but it perhaps takes greater precedence in mining and construction, where the risk of serious accidents and injuries is significantly higher. Legislation and regulations have been passed in both industries in order to protect staff members, but the unfortunate fact remains that incidents will continue to happen unless business takes tangible steps to safeguard both workers and the business itself.
With the Department of Labour reporting that the construction industry has a health and safety compliance rate of lower than 50 percent and a January report indicating that mining-related injuries sit at over 2 600, it is clear that safety standards across the two industries need to be strengthened.
As such, businesses putting their own safety precautions in place can substantially mitigate the risk of workplace incidents – by implementing what are fairly simple measures, says Bongani Thobela, Quality Manager at Rand-Air, companies will find that they can play a proactive role in minimizing and even preventing injuries and fatal accidents.
“The first step is to write and regularly update a company Health and Safety Plan, presided over by a skilled and dedicated health and safety officer,” notes Thobela. “The officer then needs to take responsibility for providing recurrent training to all on-site workers to familiarise them with procedures and actions to take in a variety of situations. It will also fall to the officer to enforce the regulations, but we have recognised over the years that the most effective programmes are those that encourage the involvement and input of staff members.”
Greater employee engagement in matters of safety illustrates that the company cares about its workers and aims to foster a safer workplace through collaborative efforts. Staff members are also more inclined to stick to programmes that they have had an active say in, resulting in a safer working environment.
However, because of the nature of the mining and construction industries, it is inevitable that unanticipated crises will arise from time to time. It is therefore critical to have a viable step-by- step plan to follow in case of emergency. This will outline the exact actions that need to be taken in order to secure the scene and prevent the situation from deteriorating further. The plan should incorporate training of key personnel so that staff members and health and safety officers are aware of precisely what role they need to play.
Companies should additionally have in place corrective and preventative action reports that will be completed in instances where accidents have proven to be unavoidable. “These reports determine how the emergency could have been handled differently and what action needs to be taken to ensure that the same – or a similar – type of emergency does not happen again,” Thobela comments.
Because of its experience in both the mining and construction sectors, Rand-Air is able to guarantee customers equipment that is not only of the highest standards but which is safe, reliable and well- maintained at all times to diminish safety risks. “In these industries, health and safety is paramount, so we ensure that our machinery is of the best quality so that our customers can rest assured that they are playing their part in protecting their employees from unexpected incidents,” he concludes.