Celebrating the best in Construction health and safety
Numerous construction companies received awards for excellent safety performance at the Master Builders Association (MBA) North Annual Regional Construction Health and Safety Awards ceremony
MBA North, in partnership with Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), hosted an annual competition and awards ceremony for its members. The Master Builders Occupational Health and Safety Audit System and Star Grading Programme is used to perform audits for the regional competition. Companies that excel are presented with awards.
The essential requirements for audits are:
• Proof of compensation registration and proof of good standing.
• A site-specific health and safety plan.
• A site-specific risk assessment, which must include: safe work procedures, a monitoring plan and a review plan.
• Disabling injury frequency rate. “These awards were developed with the main objective of encouraging organisations to establish effective systems for managing occupational health and safety, as well as to instil the aspects of safety culture in the daily duties of workers and employers,” executive director at MBA North, Mohau Mphomela, said in his opening address.
The winners of each of the ten categories are entered into a national competition. A total of 60 entries were received for the 2017 competition. One entry was disqualified and there were three withdrawals. Among the remaining 56 entries, the winners of each category were announced at the ceremony held on July 17.
Construction health and safety manager at MBA North, Gerhard Roets, noted: “These audits provide a platform from which companies can benchmark their health and safety management systems against other companies in the region (which includes the provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and North-West).”
Roets was one of only two auditors, who were appointed to ensure that the audits were consistent. Along with awards for the projects entered into the competition, MBA North also awarded prizes to the best performing OHS officer, representative and manager; contracts manager; client health and safety agent; and best sub-contractor.
Winner of the Best OHS Manager award, James Flint from WBHO Construction, noted: “It is always nice to be recognised. There needs to be more positive reinforcement in the industry. This year was very competitive. Only two or three of WBHO Construction’s projects received places and all of them have a five-star grading. Safety in the industry is definitely improving.”
Winner of Best Client Agent award, Shone Dirker from Cairnmead Industrial Consultants, was surprised by the win. “I didn’t even know I had been nominated. The industry is challenging – including the work done on site and while working with clients,” Dirker said.
Arcstone Property maintenance CEO, Dave Raichlin, said he hoped that the awards ceremony and auditing process will give the company the opportunity to grow and become a sub-contractor for the larger companies participating in the competition.
“Our main reason for entering is to learn,” said Raichlin. “We only hear about the bad things that happen in the safety industry. Events like this promote the positive aspects of health and safety.”
Elsa Jacobs, director at ER Signs and Safety, noted that more manufacturers should participate: “It is great that MBA North has given manufacturers the opportunity to be audited for the awards and that it supports both small and big businesses,” she said. ER Signs and Safety won the first prize in the Manufacturers category.
FEM partnered with MBA North to make this event possible. Since 1936, FEM has been licensed to offer workmen’s compensation to the construction industry.
“In 2013, FEM reached 4 000 policy holders and is steadily growing as more companies are made aware of the alternate choice. It is estimated that FEM represents around 60 to 70 percent of the employees in the industry.
Between 2010 and 2016, FEM paid R1 billion back to policy holders in the form of merit rebates. In 2016, the company paid back R1,035 billion as additional rebates,” said FEM marketing and communications manager Herman Enoch.
FEM rewards clients that have good health and safety records. Enoch noted that a company that had a claims experience of less than 10 percent of its annual premium could receive up to 50 percent of its premium back as a merit rebate. He added: “Higher claims result in lower rebates. Should the claims exceed 65 percent of the annual premium, FEM will impose a loading up to a maximum of 365 percent.
FEM further assists MBA North to improve safety in the industry by sponsoring a “training” vehicle for its “Training on the Move” initiative, where in MBA North travels to clients to provide training.
“MBA North can do site or task-specific sessions, information training and risk assessments, “The audit process helps identify any potential threats to health and safety and can lead to the prevention of future accidents,” Enoch said.
“The event was well represented and almost everyone won a prize,” commented Wayne Albertyn, vice president of MBA North. He noted that the parameters set for the categories give smaller businesses the opportunity to win as certain projects that were too advanced could not enter specific categories.
Both Enoch and Albertyn agreed that the awards ceremony showed that it is not only the safety officers who are taking safety seriously, as companies are now getting involved in safety at a management level.
“The number of participants is steadily increasing and the high attendance is evidence that the industry is taking health and safety seriously. If there is one thing I could change, it would be to invite companies with poor health and safety records to be a part of this initiative, and to eventually elevate them to the level where they become participants,” Enoch concluded.