Assuring through assurance
The more we can recognise leaders in occupational health and safety, the better it is for the industry as a whole. The Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company Limited (FEM) agrees, and recently hosted its first annual health and safety awards evening.
“Safety doesn’t just happen,” said Thelma Pugh, managing director of FEM, as she welcomed guests and winners to this year’s FEM Annual Health and Safety Awards held in September at Johannesburg’s picturesque Summer Place. The awards recognise policyholders who have used their resources to promote health and safety in the building and construction industry.
All companies with an FEM policy were eligible, but had to comply with stringent risk assessment criteria. The period under review was two years retrospective (ie. 2009) and each policyholder company was graded and given a “risk rate”, calculated using the accident frequency and loss ratios.
Each policyholder was then ranked in their respective sub-category: large companies employing 500 people or more; medium between 101 and 499 employees; and small less than 100 employees.
In total, there were 25 winners, the first of which were:
• Bartlett Construction Labour Intensive and Waco Africa (Pty) Ltd – SGB-Cape Division (Vaal) (High-risk small employer);
• Construction Maintenance Services (Pty) Ltd and Roadcrete Labour Intensive (High-risk medium employer);
• Murray and Roberts Projects Pty (Ltd) (High-risk large employer);
• Lowveld Construction and FW Dukes Construction CC (Medium-risk small employer);
• Dip Civils (Pty) Ltd, Murray and Roberts Steel Pty (Ltd) and G4 Civils (Pty) Ltd – (Medium-risk medium employer);
• Stefanutti Stocks Housing Labour Intensive (a Division of Stefanutti Stocks (Pty) Ltd) and Superway Construction (Pty) Ltd (Medium-risk large employer);
• Aster International South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Peterman Plumbing CC (Low-risk small employer);
• Amanzi Abantu (Pty) Ltd and Classic Gardens CC (Low-risk medium employer);
• Servest Landscaping Turf Construction (a Division of Servest (Pty) Ltd) (Low-risk large employer).
In the special categories under labour brokers and company groups, the winners were, respectively: Pro Africa Contracting Services (Pty) Ltd and Southey Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
There was also a second category of awards recognising exceptional performance in the field of occupational health and safety, based on even more stringent criteria than the normal annual award. Based on the performance of all policyholders which have been with the organisation for a minimum of 10 years, they were again ranked on criteria such as accident frequency, loss ratios, fatalities, company size and risk ratings.
The qualifying policyholders were then asked to provide the loss frequency incident (LFI) ratings they achieved over the past year. These were verified independently, with most winners achieving more than five million hours without injury.
Based on these criteria, the top policyholders were: Shula Construction CC (bronze); Aveng Grinaker-LTA – Karrena Africa (silver); Waco Africa (Pty) Ltd – SGB-Cape Division (Durban) (gold); Kentz (Pty) (platinum).
FEM may re-evaluate the criteria in future to make the measures more stringent, but not unachievable. The hope is that this will spur policyholders to achieve ever lower risk assessments.
“FEM has, since its inception in 1936, always focussed strongly on health and safety,” Ashwin Daya, CFO of FEM, said at the ceremony. “Our collective goal should be to gain global recognition of health and safety as a cornerstone to a civilised society. We should collectively be aiming higher than we are at present (in order) to achieve levels of health and safety that lead the world.
“If we want to compare ourselves to first world economies, we need to ensure we can compete on the same level. Notwithstanding the efforts of those present here, we all have a pretty long road to travel.
“FEM, in collaboration with all our partners, will never stop developing new ways to establish and maintain an effective health and safety culture in this ever-changing economy of ours. This is so that employers can take the responsibility seriously to ensure that the workforce is fully involved, and risks are mitigated and managed properly.”
Daya also encouraged the attendees to create a community of practice among themselves, “especially in the construction industry, health and safety introduces great opportunity to identify core components, share good practices and exchange information through partnerships”.