Health and safety to the fore!

We tend to beat ourselves up a bit over this country’s health and safety record. But maybe – just maybe – we actually have reasons to hold our heads up high. In certain sectors of industry anyway…

South African companies deserve a pat on the back! Well, that’s what Ross Cullingworth,director of sales and marketing for Montgomery Africa, believes. “Occupational health and safety is receiving a lot more focus from companies, backed by government legislation,” he says.
Montgomery Africa is organising OSH Expo Africa 2011, which takes place from 6 to 8 September at the Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, near Johannesburg.Indicative of the increasing emphasis on health and safety, Montgomery Africa has announced that Ansell Occupational Healthcare is the platinum sponsor of the exhibition.“We’re excited to be sponsoring this year’s expo,” says Nick Brown, Ansell’s territory sales manager in Africa. “This is our first major event to be held in South Africa, a country now widely recognised as having an increasingly safetyconscious market. Ansell has always prided itself on using its knowledge and experience to develop the most effective safety programmes. For us, it makes sense to explore the synergy our brand has with this event.”Cullingworth says Ansell’s launch into the Southern African market comes at a time when companies are looking to improve internal safety processes and personal protective equipment (PPE) offerings. “Ansell is recognised across the globe for its innovative approach to OSH and its specialist approach to working with clients,” he adds. “It has more than 100 years experience in the safety apparel industry, so its understanding of the OSH market is without parallel. We know our delegates and other partners will benefit greatly from this sponsorship.”As a worldwide corporation, with head offices based just outside New York, Ansell Occupational Healthcare manufactures and markets protective gloves to most industrial sectors, including the automotive, metalworks,
pharmaceuticals and food-service industries.“With more than half of all reported injuries in the workplace being to the hand and forearm,the importance of hand protection cannot be emphasised enough,” explains Brown. “We’re looking forward to bringing our experience and expertise in this field to South Africa and to working more closely with organisations here. Our aim has always been to not only reduce injuries in the workplace but boost productivity.”

While health and safety standards seem to be improving generally, I cannot help but feel sorry for the millions of South Africans who have no
choice but to use public transport. One of our journalists dashed out of the offices at high speed as we were signing off this edition of SHEQ. “Must go. It’s getting dark. The taxis are scary in the day; they’re downright terrifying at night,” he commented at he bolted out of the building.
Once he left the building, I picked up the newspaper and read about the train crash in Meadowlands, which left 857 people injured.It turned out that the driver was doing 85 km/h in a 30 km/h zone! And the idiot reportedly passed through two red signals!Of course, the good news is that the accident has resulted in the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa reviewing its safety measures.
But I feel genuinely sorry for South Africans who are forced to use public transport. It’s generally not up to scratch – and it’s downright
scary at times.
Car ownership is indeed a privilege…

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