Spotlight On Safety's Marked Improvement

Thursday, 12 June 2014
Illovo Sugar Ltd

"The past three years have seen a significant improvement in Illovo’s safety record, with the group 12-month rolling disabling injury frequency rate (DIFR*) falling by almost 250% from 0.61 in May 2010 to 0.18 in March 2013 (see graph)."

The past three years have seen a significant improvement in Illovo’s safety record, with the group 12-month rolling disabling injury frequency rate (DIFR*) falling by almost 250% from 0.61 in May 2010 to 0.18 in March 2013 (see graph). This improvement follows the implementation of a group-wide safety initiative which has touched the lives of every Illovo employee, our wide-range of contractors and service providers, together with every other daily visitor to our sites.

The multi-faceted nature of the our safety programme, commencing with base-level safety awareness promotion and the implementation of standard safety procedures across the group, has resulted in an across-the-board shift in employee behaviour towards personal and workplace safety issues.

The notable improvement is further demonstrated by the safety milestones achieved by the group over the past 12 months, including that 10 entities, ranging from Merebank (1.7 million man hours) to Kilombero agriculture (14.5 million man hours) racked up multi millions of man hours without a disabling injury. Or that Eston’s Beaumont Farm in South Africa won both the National Occupational Safety Association’s international safety competition for Sector A (agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing) and the NOSCAR award – an international award which remains the ultimate symbol of excellence in occupational risk management.

Key inititiatives and developments in Illovo’s improved safety performance include the following:

  • Executive leadership commitment to the overall safety programme from the outset;
  • Increased emphasis on the concept of a safe workplace environment and strengthening the safety culture through employee training, awareness and promoting safety-related dialogue;
  • The appointment of trained safety specialists at the group level to advise all levels of the company about aspects of safety and health management;
  • The establishment of a Risk Managers Forum (PICTURED) which, with representation from each operation, meets regularly during the year;
  • The systematic investigation of all safety incidents with findings and recommendations shared throughout the group;
  • The adoption of a “Safety Rules to Live By” motto which underscores the group’s approach to all matters of safety, together with the implementation of the “pre-task risk assessment” system which forces employees to question safety factors before the start of any given task;
  • The appointment of safety spotters at every operation to monitor safety aspects at the “floor level”;
  • The implementation of a group safety scorecard system to measure performance against key safety measurement criteria in order to support the group’s annual safety objectives;
  • The standardisation of Risk Assessments across Illovo and the sharing of information;
  • Continued staging of “Safety Days”, together with other base-level activities to further promote safety awarness;
  • The implementation of a colour-coded warning/commendation system which serves to inform employees, together with contractors and other service providers, of their safety performance.

Alf Uekermann, Illovo’s Group Risk Manager, says: “It must be recognised that Illovo employees and contractors are exposed to potentially dangerous environments in which hazards are ever-present and must be managed. Our approach to safety and health management is underpinned by our desire to create a culture where responsibility for safety and health is a shared one. Visible management commitment is a critical element in our progression towards zero harm.”

Spotlight On Safety's Marked Improvement

IMAGE: *DIFR: A disabling injury occurs when, following a workplace injury, an employee is booked off duty for at least one full shift or is assigned other light duties in the event of the employee being unable to carry out his/her normal duties.

Spotlight On Safety's Marked Improvement

IMAGE: typical example of the base-level awareness aids placed at operational sites throughout the group to promote safety and health warnings and messages.

Spotlight On Safety's Marked Improvement

IMAGE: MEMBERS of the Group Risk Management Forum at their meeting in Durban in March are (from left) back: Mandla Manhlalela, Shaun Ramsunder, Mike Davies, Simonda Muyunda and Ralph Sinclair; (middle): Willie Sewpersad, Davis Sibande, Alfeo Mwenda, Alf Ueckermann (Group Risk Manager) and Hlelile Gunindza; (front): Carol Mbele, Sane Mdlose, Antonio Matavele, Victor Gumbo, Carl Wessels and Vasie Moodley.


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