Employees are an organisation’s most valuable asset and, as such, it’s crucial to ensure their physical and mental well-being to increase workplace safety, boost morale, retain talent and reduce employee-related costs.
The South African Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act, No. 181 of 1993 (OHS Act) requires every employer to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of the employees. Kwikspace strives to manufacture alternative building solutions that are safe with no hazards to employee or client health, and no impact on the environmental. Kwikspace products are all of high quality and comply with the requirements of ISO 9001: 2015 and OHSAS 18001: 2007.
From employees to contractors, clients and the environment, at Kwikspace, safety is a company-wide commitment. “We continually assess, manage and improve our standards in order to mitigate risk and promote well-being and sustainability,” says Georgina Björkman, SHEQ Administrator. “Our modular factory-built accommodation is built to high and prioritise the safety of our employees and end-users at all times.” At Kwikspace, Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) stewardship is central to the company’s values and fundamental to the way they do business.
In spite of good legislation, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is in crisis in many South African workplaces. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that work-related diseases represent the main cause of workplace fatalities globally – almost six times more than occupational accidents. Workers in South Africa are generally exposed to a large number of occupational hazards, which often result in negative health outcomes. Kwikspace conducts regular checks and medical assessments like fitness and tests in order for occupational and non-occupational diseases to be prevented or managed effectively.
“From a safety point-of-view, we understand the hierarchy of incidents and how they happen in order to prevent them.” At Kwikspace, safety is not one person’s responsibility. “It’s a shared responsibility and we strive to instil a culture of safety within every division”, says Björkman. Employee health and safety in the workplace remains a top priority. Legislation must be translated simply for people on the ground, to ensure that they understand the importance of the function. “When it comes to SHEQ, we know we are effective when our teachings are taken home. SHEQ influences people’s behaviours. It is fantastic when safety education at work infiltrates into a community. To affect a culture change, we must first have widespread behaviour change.”
Kwikspace SHEQ training
Knowledge is power. “An employee who understands the importance of wearing PPE is more likely to use it.” All Kwikspace employees have job and risk specific safety-related training in addition to general employee training. Each month, a specific SHEQ topic is chosen. This includes weekly toolbox talks and safety and awareness based on the monthly topic. An important part of training and influencing a change in behaviour is reminding employees about safety procedures with includes signage and monthly refresher meetings and workshops. “It’s important for companies to continuously find innovative ways to remind employees to act safely. It must become a way of life. ”
Health and Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility
Kwikspace’s health and safety policies are an integral part of the company’s ethos. All staff receive detailed and ongoing training on safe working practices. Kwikspace holds regular HSE programmes and various educational programmes on various topics such as hazard & risk identification. “We hold blood donation drives, have optometrists visit for example, so we can promote good health and wellness, and prevent injuries.”
Responsibility to the Environment
Kwikspace’s environmental policy includes providing clients with products that are safe and environmentally efficient; the safe disposal of any potentially hazardous materials, energy-aware working practices and respect for the laws and legislation. Kwikspace prevents pollution and making use of energy efficiently, as much as possible. Kwikspace recycles its plastic, paper and scrap metal, for example.
Responsibility for Quality
Kwikspace implements an ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System and strive to deliver ‘Quality Controlled Approved Products’, to ensure that only the best and most appropriate products are presented to our customers. Our suppliers and contractors are critically selected to stay in line with our level of quality expectation. “Training ensures all personnel are committed to our quality system.”
To create a successful health and safety culture in an organisation, it’s important to invest in the employees and management to ensure that they are engaged and committed to a safer environment. This is exactly the approach Kwikspace takes to its SHEQ policy and management.