Air Products goes platinum

Receiving their platinum Noscar awards from Nosa’s Justin Hobday and Duncan Carlisle are, Debbie Crawley, from Air Products South Africa’s head office …

The Noscar awards, dubbed the “Oscars of occupational health and safety”, have seen Air Products in a starring role once again this year. Employees from around the country were honoured for their consistent commitment to safety at the company’s nationwide facilities.

Run by the National Occupational Safety Association (Nosa), the Noscar awards take place at the annual Noshcon Conference. Both events are a highlight on the calendar for companies such as Air Products South Africa – which takes its performance and commitment in all aspects of health and safety extremely seriously.

This year, Air Products South Africa’s head office in Kempton Park, Gauteng, received its eighth platinum Noscar, while the Springs facility, on Gauteng’s East Rand, received its fourth. In addition, the company’s Pinetown facility received its first platinum Noscar.

Debbie Crawley from head office, Dumisa Gina from Springs and Elsa Vorster from Pinetown were in attendance to receive the awards on behalf of their facilities.

Dumisa Gina, representing the Springs branch;For Sue Janse van Vuuren, Air Products South Africa’s corporate risk manager, the Noscar awards, as well as the regional Nosa awards, represent an invaluable opportunity for the company to measure itself against the highest industry standards nationally. It is also a chance for individuals and the company to enjoy well-deserved recognition for another year of hard work and focus.

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

Air Products South Africa received a total of 26 accolades at the various regional events during 2013/14, with most of its facilities receiving awards. Its head office also received the Nosa Northern Region Top Companies Award, in the commercial sector, for its achievements as a safety, health and environment company in 2013.

Janse van Vuuren ascribes the company’s success to the implementation of its integrated safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) management system, which is centrally run by the risk department.

She adds that the system consists of a number of elements that the department has integrated. “These include global Air Products standards, local legislation, certification system requirements and best practices, which are set out in a SHEQ manual. Compliance is then monitored through various auditing and reporting processes,” she explains.

Elsa Vorster, from the Pinetown branch.Janse van Vuuren is quick to point out, however, that an effective SHEQ management system is only as good as the people who implement it. “The success of such systems relies on the continuous dedication and participation of each and every employee at all levels of the organisation. At Air Products South Africa, safety and quality have become a way of life. We have long believed that safety is an individual responsibility.”

She adds, however, that the company does run incentive programmes, to encourage participation in the various campaigns and initiatives, which are designed to consolidate a SHEQ culture across the organisation.

“Statistics show that up to 90 percent of incidents are caused by unsafe acts or behaviours, so Air Products will be focusing on behavioural safety in the coming year,” Janse van Vuuren points out.

In the meantime, the company is happy to look back over the past year and celebrate its achievement in the regional and national Nosa awards. Says Janse van Vuuren: “Without resting on our laurels, Air Products South Africa’s facilities and individual employees take great pride in their safety achievements.”

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