Standards and workplace safety: new safety training program to increase efficacy

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A new-and-improved basic safety training programme ensures that employees along all levels of an organisation are fully aware of, and understand, the importance of adhering to internationally recognised OHSAS 18001 standards.

Johannesburg (South Africa)-based KBC Health and Safety continues to revolutionise the concept of workplace safety, through the development of a first-of-its-kind video-based safety training that interactively explains basic health and safety principles in the workplace, while covering OHSAS 18001 standards.

KBC innovation manager Natalie Pitout reveals that a video-led presentation is more inviting and easily understandable for trainees, when compared to the standard slide-based presentation. “The video is more visually-appealing, and provides a more hands-on approach to safety training. What’s more, it can be paused at any time to encourage regular interaction and participation,” she explains.

In order to make the training as engaging and user-friendly as possible, the fully-narrated training video focuses on a day in the life of the protagonist ‘Joe’, and KBC trainers use a spaza shop analogy to introduce the 12 OHSAS 18001 standards to the learners in basic language, as many people in thistarget audience do not have matric.

“At the end of the one-day course, learners will be able to describe OHSAS 18001 standards, explain employer and employee duties with regard to occupational safety and health in the workplace, and explain the general safety rules in the workplace. What’s more, they will understand the use and application of personal protective equipment in the workplace, the importance of good housekeeping, as well as the application of emergency procedures in the workplace,” says Pitout.

The KBC basic safety training course also features an organizational model for continuous improvement, which is made up of four sections, namely; plan, do, check and act. Pitout adds: “The 12 OHSAS 18001 standards are introduced to the learners, and explained in more detail by demonstrating how they all fit in to the running of the spaza shop.”

Plan: As part of the planning section, a company must know what it wants to achieve, who will be responsible, how will goals will be achieved, and how success will be measured. The goal is to achieve noharm. The company must also decide how to measure performance, and how to handle all emergencies. Finally, a plan for changes in the workplace and law must also be considered.

Do: A company must subsequently identify its risk profile and assess these risks, before identifying what could cause harm in the workplace, who it could harm, and what to do to manage the risk. The company should aim to involve all employees in communication, so that everyone is clear on what is required of them. This leads to the development of positive attitudes and behaviours.

Check: It is essential that performance is constantly measured, by making sure that plans have been adhered to. The company should also measure how well the risks are being controlled and if objectives are being achieved. Any incidents or near misses should be thoroughly investigated.

Act: In the final part of the cycle, the company must review its performance, learn from past mistakes and take the correct safety actions. Plans, policy documents and risk assessments should be updated. By embracing change, the cycle will continue to ensure continuous improvement.

The new basic safety training course was launched by KBC in May 2014, and Pitout reveals that the company has received an overwhelmingly positive response from customers. “Mining companies form the bulk of our client base, and they have displayed their satisfaction in the new layout of the training programme, which serves as a value-added offering in a constantly changing environment.”

Pitout is confident of future success. “Given the success of the programme in the mining sector, I believe that there is a strong possibility for growth in this market. The construction industry also holds enormous potential, and we are placing a strong focus on penetrating this burgeoning market through the development of tailor-made solutions to suit each specific client,” she concludes.

KBC Health & Safety (Pty) Ltd is a private company employing 116 people, with 18 regional branches throughout Africa. We specialise in assisting our clients in managing their Occupational Health and Safety exposure. It is well recognised that modifying employee behaviour and attitude is vital to the successful health and safety approach of any organisation. KBC Health and Safety inspires people to change their mindsets around health and safety issues in the workplace. Our commitment to innovation means that we are continually looking for new and better ways to protect our clients from health and safety risks.