A trek worth taking

A trek worth taking

SHEQ MANAGEMENT embarked on its great trek to the Drakensberg once more, but not to climb it barefoot like the Voortrekkers of years gone by … No, we were donning our safety boots and tuxedoes in preparation of the three-day extravaganza known as Noshcon – NOSA’s Occupational Health and Safety Conference and Exhibition. JACO DE KLERK reports

I live in Paarl in the Western Cape. This quaint little town is the third-oldest European settlement (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch) that sprung up in what is now known as South Africa. Like my Voortrekker (pioneer) forefathers, I also headed north towards the Drakensberg, but not to break away from oppressors; no, my great trek led to one of Africa’s longest-running and largest occupational health and safety conferences and exhibitions – Noshcon 2015.

This 54th instalment saw leading industry experts converge at the picturesque Champagne Sports Resort, in KwaZulu-Natal, from September 15 to 18, to build upon and improve their current safety standards and practices.

A trek worth taking“What we try to do at Noshcon is to create a platform where you can engage with the speakers, and have access to their knowledge and ideas. You can also share information among each other in terms of your experience and ideas that you might be trying in your company. All this benefits your role as a risk professional at your place of work,” says Justin Hobday, managing director of NOSA – a global provider of occupational health, safety and environmental risk management services and solutions.

The first speaker was Nick Sloane, the South African salvage master, who was heavily involved in the Parbuckling Project – a 30-month long salvage and re-float operation of the Costa Concordia.

Attendees were also treated to an industrial theatre piece from the Adjustment Bureau, presentations from the conference’s platinum sponsors and the opening of the Noshcon exhibition (with a host of safety experts, brands and stakeholders all displaying and demonstrating the latest developments in managing risk in the workplace).

The first day’s activities were rounded off by a performance from Mi Casa, fresh off their international tour.

First off, on the second day’s programme was Ken Annandale’s talk on holistic wellness and its efficiency in sustaining optimum levels of productivity.

A trek worth takingAn array of breakaway panels defined the most of the rest of the day’s activities. Topics were as diverse as they were interesting, with speakers presenting on assorted approaches to safety; from resilient business transformation to the simple science of common sense.

Andrew Sharman made his seventh appearance at the conference and did not disappoint with his talk on the five truths of being “safety savvy”. The evening’s entertainment featured a “silent disco” – an experience initially approached with an equal mix of scepticism and trepidation (which were quickly discarded once guests realised the benefits of being able to tailor the choice of dance music).

The final day began with a lively debate between a panel of experts and delegates, followed by a series of breakaway sessions; this time delving into subjects ranging from the origins of safety risk, to tackling risk in global supply chains.

“It is extremely important in a conference like this, where you are faced with 25 different speakers, that you are able to take back a couple of important key messages,” explains Duncan Carlisle, CEO of NOSA Global Holdings.

A trek worth taking“Ken Annandale’s message was that you have to accept the challenge. Andrew Sharman pointed out that we are all leaders, no matter what our position in the organisation – if you are going to be safety savvy, say something.”

The week’s events closed with the Noscars award ceremony – where those whose efforts have made a difference to the industry were honoured. “The Noshcon trophy is the ultimate benchmark in occupational health and safety management. It was established by NOSA over 40 years ago and we have two companies that have obtained more than 30 Noscars.”

Carlisle continues: “In addition to the Noscars, we have the Sector Industry Category (SIC) awards for the individual winners. All of this allows us to recognise individuals and companies in certain categories for outstanding achievements, and for going the extra mile in protecting their employees and the environment.”

The evening was rounded off with a stunning performance by platinum award-winning South African singer, Lira.

Congratulations to the Noscar, SIC and individual winners for their outstanding health, safety and environmental risk management performance over the past year.

A trek worth takingWe’re looking forward to next year’s great trek once more … Join us, and book your spot through the early-bird registration now.

How we trekked to Noshcon

Luckily we didn’t have to take an ox wagon to get to this year’s Noshcon – NOSA’s occupational health and safety conference and exhibition. We got to travel to the Champagne Sports Resort (situated in KwaZulu-Natal at the foot of the picturesque Drakensberg) in style, and very safely, in the new Auris Xr.

Toyota South Africa graciously loaned us the 1,6 manual model for our annual trek to the event. The refreshed 2015 range, which was launched locally in June, includes the Auris X (retailing at R223 700), Xi (R249 100), Xs (R259 800), Xr (R287 700) and Xr CVT (R301 700).

As with Noshcon 2015, Toyota keeps its passengers’ health and safety in mind with this new offering … The new Auris range benefits from suspension and steering revisions designed to improve ride comfort and handling.

Components in the MacPherson strut front suspension have been revised, including the design of the coil springs, shock absorbers, upper insulators, bound stoppers and stabiliser bushes. In combination, the changes to the suspension improve initial roll damping, minimise friction and amplify straight-line ride comfort.

A trek worth takingIn addition, the electric power-steering system’s mapping has been tuned to further build steering weight as vehicle speed rises, giving better feedback between 60 and 80 km/h.

Other safety features include: follow-me-home headlights (which help to guide you to your front door at night as the lights can be set to switch off 30, 60, 90 or 120 seconds after you leave the car), steering switches, dual front and side airbags, remote central locking, ABS with Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD). There is also seat-belt warning for all occupants.

A new central, tablet-inspired audio-visual display panel comes standard on all models from the Xs grade upwards. It offers CD/DVD, Radio (FM/AM) and Bluetooth/AUX/USB functionality – as well as a host of other on-board functions including a reverse camera with guide lines.

Our Xr model also features cruise control (which ensures that you don’t exceed the speed limit), an electro-chromatic rear-view mirror, curtain airbags and a driver’s kneebag, as well as electric lumbar support for the “pilot”.

The 1,6 manual reportedly consumes an average of 6,2l /100 km in the combined cycle (but we received even better reading during our time with the vehicle).

Click here to view the list of Noscar awar winners.

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