Mercedes-Benz drives wellness across southern Africa
A huge part of our economy is carried on trucks travelling the length and breadth of South Africa. These workhorses depend on those who drive them where they need to go … Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA) and its partner organisations place fleet owners and drivers at the forefront with their innovative Fleet Owner Workplace Programme.
The Fleet Owner Workplace Programme, designed by MBSA and its partner organisations – Corridor Empowerment Project (CEP) and Trucking Wellness – is an extension of the company’s workplace wellness strategy.
The concept for this programme came about as a result of MBSA’s involvement in the Trucking Wellness project – an initiative of the National Bargaining Council of the Road Freight and Logistics Industry (NBCRFLI).
The Trucking Wellness project provides an education and basic healthcare service to truck drivers along the major freight routes in southern Africa. This includes the dissemination of information, testing and treatment of HIV/Aids and other lifestyle illnesses.
Kobus van Zyl, executive director of Daimler Trucks & Buses South Africa, explains the reason behind MBSA’s decision to expand its value-add service to the commercial vehicle sector: “South Africa’s trucking industry forms the veins and arteries of the economic heart of this country, pumping prosperity to our people.
“As a commercial vehicle supplier, the accomplishments of the trucking sector are also the success of Daimler Trucks & Buses South Africa. We, therefore, cannot disregard the issues that affect the larger trucking community.”
The commercial vehicle giant isn’t going at this alone … joining the good fight is Aspen Logistics, a specialist service provider to the fast-moving consumer-goods market, and OneLogix United Bulk, which specialises in providing a solution to any liquid transport requirements, whether the product is agricultural, chemical, food grade, or liquid petroleum gas.
“Our people really are our most precious assets,” says Sujen Padayatchi, managing director of Aspen Logistics. “We operate within an extremely demanding and fast-paced industry and the challenge for us, as an organisation, is how we navigate meeting the demands of our industry while ensuring the well-being of our people.”
He continues: “It is in how we align our policies and procedures to ensure that we create an environment where our employees are cared for in the best possible way, so that they can flourish in every way. The Fleet Owner Workplace Programme is one such platform that we will passionately drive within our business.”
The key outcomes of the programme include: increased understanding around HIV/Aids and other lifestyle diseases; an increased capacity to prevent and manage the impact of diseases, in order to benefit employee health, life expectancy and job retention; information education and screening around health issues; and assisting fleet owners to develop, implement, monitor and evaluate a sustainable workplace wellness programme – including the development of policies, systems and processes.
“We are incredibly excited to be one of the companies selected by MBSA to pioneer such a valued initiative,” Padayatchi points out. “Our strategic partnership with MBSA and Trucking Wellness will assist Aspen to leverage off the platform created through the Fleet Owner Workplace Programme to drive our own internal wellness initiatives and programmes.”
Van Zyl adds: “Collaborations such as this are crucial as we strive for the sustainability of the transport sector in South Africa, with employee wellness being our priority.”
Dirk Meyer, brand manager for Freightliner South Africa, a division of MBSA, agrees: “Collaborations are key, not only for Freightliner, but for the whole of MBSA, as we strive for the sustainability of the transport sector in southern Africa, with employee well-being as a key contributor.”
OneLogix United Bulk is one of the most valued customers of Freightliner Trucks. The duo celebrated the launch of OneLogix’s Fleet Owner Workplace Programme at the company’s Vanderbijlpark and Worcester depots on October 22 and 28, respectively.
“The Onelogix United Bulk Workplace Wellness Policy is a commitment by our company towards the wellness and safety of our employees, their families and other road users,” says Patrick Pols, managing director of One Logix Bulk United.
“As a dangerous-goods transport company, we are committed to maintaining a healthy and safe work environment by protecting the health and well-being of all our employees by raising awareness, promoting wellness and educating staff about specific diseases such as HIV and tuberculosis,” he adds.
Meyer continues: “The OneLogix United Bulk and MBSA Fleet Owner Workplace Programme will be impactful in that it places truck driver health and safety firmly on the centre stage.”
Van Zyl comments: “This initiative is truly tremendous. Our drive for excellence translates into benchmark achievements in the field of occupational health and safety.”
He concludes: “Pockets of excellence can never be sustainable, however, so, for more than two decades now, we have made it our mission to share the lessons we have learned around employee health management with businesses and communities around us.
“We have first-hand experience of the benefits of a healthy workforce to the sustainability of all businesses involved. This is an initiative that we are backing fully, as we realise that healthy truck drivers mean a healthy road transport industry.”