Playing it safe
Protecting the worker in the workplace is a hefty job in heavy-duty service industries. BLAIR BURMEISTER looks at the latest safety solutions available and the importance of keeping safely protected while working way down below the ground or up at great heights.
HSE Solutions, MSA Africa, Select PPE and Afrox showed off the latest and greatest personal protective equipment (PPE) they currently have to offer at Electra Mining Africa 2012. It is “safe” to say these four have two things in common: a driven commitment to protecting people, and a diverse assortment of innovative safety solutions to choose from.
Empowering a safety culture is a cost-effective accident-prevention process, and it is a right and responsibility of both employers and employees to recognise the need for PPE. This can, however, prove challenging when it comes to getting workers to embrace safety standards, follow procedure and practice good behaviours. The physical aspects of PPE can interfere with the task of getting the job done, and for many it’s a comfort issue – and understandably so.
However, the latest safety solutions might just have the ability to change the attitudes of workers when it comes to keeping safe. Superior comfort and customised adjustability are common threads. First up is HSE Solutions, the sub-Saharan distributor for Honeywell Safety Products. This duo has launched the Honeywell Adaptec protective eyewear system, a revolutionary approach to eye protection for a diverse workforce.
According to Lauren Clueit, marketing manager for HSE Solutions, Honeywell set out with a new approach to safety eyewear. The company wanted to create a product with the ability to fit everyone – no matter their gender, ethnicity or facial features. After completing a landmark eyewear research study, Honeywell poured massive resources into the development of the product. The result is an adjustable eyewear system that can be worn by the widest range of workers – delivering excellent protection, superior comfort, premium optics and a stylish look.
From the number of visitors at the HSE stand, this new piece of safety equipment was drawing plenty of attention from industry professionals. Honeywell has also launched two new earplugs: the Pilot and the Neutron, including the Sync earmuff series. Also new to the market is the Picguard glove along with the Gunmetal range of spectacles.
“We are passionate about our range of products and about promoting safety in the workplace,” says Clueit. “Honeywell has also launched a Culture of Safety initiative, which really drives this message home.”
MSA Africa was showing off its expertise in the life-saving personal safety equipment department at Electra Mining 2012 (MSA Africa is one of two companies under the umbrella of Samsac, the other being Select PPE). A highlight of its exhibition had to be the showcasing of the EN and SABS certified workman’s fall protection range. Featuring a variety of mechanical systems, the range offers retractable lanyards and tripods with full-body harnesses and anchorage connections.
Visitors to the stand were able to interact with the new products for a hands-on, practical experience. The company’s comprehensive line of products is used around the world in sectors ranging from fire service and security to construction and the military.
Select PPE regards mining as one of the most important sectors, and increasing demand for mineral commodities in South Africa bodes well for this company. “We draw employees with a mining background who know and understand the sector’s operations and its culture,” says Debbie Joynt, account manager for Select PPE South Africa. “Incidents impact severely not only on the mining company, but also on the community.”
Select PPE had also given Netcare 911 a heads-up by donating 38 personalised MSA V-Gard hardhats with comfortable FasTrac inner liners to members of the Netcare 911 Welkom branch. The donation was handed over during an event hosted early in August at Select PPE’s distribution centre in the heart of the South African gold industry.
Trademarked by a “V” on the top of the hardhat for improved strength, the superior ABS shell is made from durable, injection-moulded, 100 percent virgin, high-density polyethylene. The hat features an advanced ventilation system for improved air circulation, as well as a Glaregard under-peak with slots into which different accessories can be integrated.
Netcare 911 Welkom branch manager Magiel Erasmus explains that the first priority of paramedics is their own safety: “We cannot perform our function if we are injured in the process. We highly appreciate this gesture from Select PPE and hope to see further collaboration with our organisation countrywide.”
Afrox has had success in the PPE market since the launch of its safety solutions service nine years ago. Visitors to its Electra Mining 2012 exhibit were able to examine plenty of mining-related safety equipment, including a comprehensive range of PPE.
New to the Afrox family of safety solutions is the Gas Detection range. This product has the ability to measure multiple gas levels in enclosed environments, with instruments measuring up to four gases at a time able to be mated with sensors that measure up to 28 different gases. The gas detection displays and welding booth attracted a lot of interest. The industry can also look forward to an upgraded spectacle range sporting a fresh new look that will be released before the end of the year.
According to Afrox Safety Equipment and Accessories product manager Ferdie Pretorius, Afrox continuously works with stakeholders to ensure that its products are safe, comfortable and adhere to quality standards. “There are a variety of gloves that have cotton lining or double stitching for quality and comfortable wear,” he says, “while our range of lightweight Electronic Auto Darkening helmets is designed with maximum comfort in mind.
Like HSE Solutions, Afrox also promotes a culture of safety in the workplace. The company believes safety doesn’t apply only to protective wear, but also to our general attitude towards safety during and after working hours. Not wearing or using the correct PPE when it is required can have a major impact on employers. Employees who aren’t supplied with PPE are risking their lives and limbs, and not complying can see employers face serious lawsuits and massive medical bills.
For MSA Africa, Select PPE, HSE Solutions and Afrox SA, safety is a way of life and they are doing a fantastic job at introducing innovative products that deliver improvements in terms of comfort, performance and functionality. Helping safety managers to build a culture where workers make safer choices on their own is contributing positively to promoting safety in the workplace. Constantly discovering new ways to lead a safety culture in South Africa, the number of work-related hazards is certain to be reduced in the years to come.