Awarding Safety Conscientiousness

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Awarding Safety Conscientiousness

This year’s GMBA regional safety competition ceremony was more than just handing out accolades to awardees, it was a think-tank with candid discussion on what must be done to increase safety—nominate companies, and decrease incidents of injury on construction work sites.

A built industry that is not conducive to creating safe environments is not sustainable. Gauteng Master Builders Association (GMBA) understands this and acknowledges companies with exemplary safety records at its annual Regional Safety Competition awards.

“Providing safety equipment, systems and procedures is not enough to prevent site accidents if a company’s culture is not conducive to healthy and safe working,” says Thelma Pugh, MD of Federated Employers Mutual Assurance speaking at GMBA’s ceremony.

“An organisation’s attitudes and values regarding safe work are important factors that influence the approach to work and ultimately an organisation’s health and safety performance. Management of health and safety should embrace in a holistic way the interactions between the working environment, equipment, systems and procedures and the people within the organisation,” asserts Pugh.

This year’s ceremony took place in Midrand on 16th August 2011, in which 15 awards were given out for safety excellence. For about two decades GMBA has been recognising companies with impeccable safety records.

This year, 71 entries vied for GMBA’s prestigious safety and health recognition. WBHO-Tiber joint venture took home the association’s top award, FEM Super League Trophy, for its achievements on the 115 West Street office block in Sandown. Yet, GMBA gives more than just accolades. It offers a support service to members on health and safety matters.

Through providing information, user-friendly documentation and support in the implementation of health and safety controls, the association improves the ability of members to understand the intention of OHS legislation and adds value to their operations.

All companies have one thing in common—the pursuit for profit. Companies’ leadership across the board have an obligation to their shareholders, which is usually financial governance—rarely, if ever—are there safety concerns.

Yet, in cultivating an environment conducive to safety and health there must be a ‘top-down’ approach with a show of commitment coming from top management.

“Health and safety is not just an intellectual activity to prove that we care about our workforce. It is the sum of contribution from all stakeholders, from the boardroom right down to the lowest level of the organisation that determines a company’s success in health and safety,” continues Pugh “Executives should ensure that all corporate actions and behaviours clearly communicate safety as a priority. Executives should participate on the safety committee, provide and invest in the best training and equipment and stay abreast of relative legislation at all times. They should tune into safety, just as they tune into quality control and timely execution.”

Unlike larger companies, smaller enterprises seldom have in place adequate training or provisions to ensure staff safety. This creates a precarious environment, reflected in increasing incidents of injuries reported by such companies, and needs industry intervention as explained by Doug Michell of GMBA.

“The industry needs to embrace the smaller contractors and assist them to improve their health and safety performance as they are the companies mostly experiencing the injuries,” continues Mitchell. “A sub-contractor who shares the same awareness to control and improve on health and safety performance is an asset to the principal contractor adding value to the construction project.”

Ultimately, improving an environment’s safety and health conditions is the responsibility of all stakeholders. It is not just the duty of the worker on the ground, the executive in the office, or the safety lobbying organisation.

Input into safety measures and compliance with established parameters will further improve healthy work environments into the foreseeable future.

“We all need to work together to make health and safety a truly shared mission and to realise the many benefits,” concludes Pugh.

“Prevention of pain and suffering to people caused by work is the major driver for us all, but doing the right things, the right way, also delivers improved productivity, increased workforce commitment and enhanced reputation.”

Winners of the GMBA 2010 Competition:

FEM Super League Trophy
(for projects over R500m)
WBHO-Tiber joint venture
115 West Street office block (Sandown)


President’s Trophy
(for projects between R200-R500m)
Aveng Grinaker-LTA

Medupi Power Station P35 A/C project

Contractor’s Trophy
(for projects between R120-R200m)
Stefanutti Stocks
KPMG Parktown building
Executive Director’s Trophy
(for projects between R50—R120m)
Tyris Construction
University of Wits’ new Health Sciences Building
GMBA Safety Committee Trophy
(for projects between R20m and R50m)
Stefanutti Stocks
Patricia Road office block (Sandown)
Ramsey Herd Trophy
(for projects between R5and R20m)
Siya Zama Construction (Gauteng)
Vodacom Altech Altron premises
Universal Health Care Trophy
(for projects under R5m)
Belo and Kies Construction
Total Waltloo project
Concept Safety Systems Trophy
(for best manufacturer)
Aveng Grinaker-LTA Building
Facades factory (Jetpark)
BCIMA Trophy
(for allied trades)
Wiehahn Formwork
Plant Storage Yards Award Tiber Bonvec Construction
Village Deep yard