Air Products celebrates completion of safe construction project in SA

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Air Products South Africa celebrated the delivery of a safe and injury-free construction project when the contractors handed over the keys to the company’s R300-million air separation unit (ASU) in the Coega Industrial Development Zone (IDZ) in November 2014.

“In meeting our delivery commitment, we have worked hand-in-hand with the contractors to ensure stringent application of health and safety rules. As a result, we see a project delivered within its 18-month allotted timeframe, without injury or incident, enabling us to deliver both to our customer service promise and our health and safety commitment to sending every one home safely, every day,” Air Products Corporate Risk Manager Sue Janse van Vuuren said.

Air Products broke ground on its site in the Coega IDZ in May 2013, and met its commitment to have the plant commissioned and completed – with gas flowing to customers – before the end of 2014. The ASU is the sixteenth such plant to be built in this country by Air Products South Africa, and the second to be completed and launched this year.

Van Vuuren said the incident-free delivery of the plant in the Coega IDZ was a direct result of Air Products’ integrated safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) management system.

“The system integrates a number of elements,including Air Products’ global standards, local legislation, certification system requirements and best practices, with compliance monitored through various auditing and reporting processes,” she said.

The ASU brings security of industrial gas supply to Eastern Cape industry for the first time, but this depends on the consistent application of stringent quality and safety standards, Van Vuuren said.

She said Air Products’ existing Deal Party facility in Port Elizabeth was an excellent example of consistent application of health and safety standards. The plant, which blends gas and welding mixtures, fills cylinders and supplies various industrial and specialty gases, has maintained an incident-free safety track record for more than 30 years.

“We hope to continue this incredible feat at the new ASU,” Van Vuuren added.

The launch of the Coega ASU followed the company’s recent starring role in the annual “Oscars of occupational health and safety” where it took home three platinum NOSCAR awards from the National Occupational Safety Association (NOSA).

“The awards confirm that we are in the top echelon within our industry sector across South Africa; and our repeated success demonstrates our consistency. In our industry, where safety is of the utmost importance, recognition such as this confirms to our customers our world-class approach to safety,” Van Vuuren said.

Along with 26 regional NOSA awards for Air Products over the past year (subs: 2014), national platinum NOSCAR awards went to Air Products’ head office facility for the eighth time, to the Springs facility for the fourth time, and the Pinetown facility won its first platinum trophy.The awards recognise excellence in implementing the NOSA ‘5 Star’ environmental, health and safety system.

“NOSA’s ‘5 Star’ system enables us to benchmark ourselves against environmental, health and safety legislation and best practices. It also gives our existing and potential customers a measure of our commitment and performance in this field,” Van Vuuren concludes.