Walking the talk

Above: Proudly displaying the 2017 haul of Noscar awards are (back row, from left): Kobus Visagie, divisional director; Albertus Smit, contracts manager; Johnnie Van Niekerk, HSE coordinator; John Rodgers, HSE coordinator; Christiaan Richards, senior HSE officer; Jonas Nhlapo, senior HSE officer. Middle row, from left: Abra Chego, site manager; Johannes Mofokeng, HSE officer; Solomon Selepe, HSE officer; Madelein Maclellan, HSE officer; Vivien Govender, KZN HSE manager; Sbonelo Mbuyazi, HSE officer; Thabo Modumaela, national HSE-risk manager; Yususf Wilfred, site manager. Front row, from left: Lawrence Kgonyana, field HSE manager; Ishmael Taunyane, site manager; Erasmus Gumede, HSE officer; Williem Ngwenya, senior HSE officer.

SGB-Cape collected a bounty of Noscar awards in 2017. Thabo Modumaela, national health, safety and environment (HSE) manager, divulges the secrets to the company’s success

If you walk into the SGB-Cape head office, you’ll be greeted by 46 gleaming Noscar awards! This number was recently given a boost by the acquisition of 12 awards across the company’s operations and areas, at the 2017 award ceremony. These were for:

• 8th Noscar – Richards Bay

• 7th Noscar – Kendal Logistics

• 6th Noscar – Matla

• 4th Noscar – Kriel

• 3rd Noscar – Vaal Branch, Lethabo, Durban

• 2nd Noscar – Tedoc – SGB-Cape, Namibia Walvis Bay, Grootvlei

• 1st Noscar – Sappi Saiccor

• Winner Sector F – Secunda Branch

Two individual awards were granted to SGB-Cape employees: Thabo Modumaela was named 2016 National HSE Manager of the Year, and Patience Lukhele the 2016 SHE Rep of the Year.

According to Modumaela, prioritising the safety of its people and remaining committed to SGB-Cape’s Zero Harm goal is a key factor in achieving this high level of performance. “We live this through the rigorous pursuit of excellence and constant adherence to high standards. This ensures that we improve the safety and health of our employees while also protecting the environment. 

“Adding value for our customers, whilst maintaining a positive and safe working environment for employees, clients and the public, keeps us motivated. We are proud to say that we are consistently ensuring that our employees know that their safety, and that of the environment in which they work, is uncompromisingly front-of-mind.

“In the process, we have empowered them to speak truth and power on safety issues without fear of repercussion. Every employee is our eyes and ears – as we are jointly accountable for the successful achievement of their safety,” Modumaela explains.

Appropriately, it is not only the staff who believe in this vision, but the management, too.

“Management provides adequate support and does not regard safety as an afterthought, but ensures that it is integrated into the company’s operational planning and strategy,” says Modumaela. It is no wonder that 70 HSE professionals work within SGB-Cape.

“Our strategy is quite simple: we must walk the talk. We cannot expect our employees to have an injury-free shift if we do not equip them with the correct training, conducive working conditions, competent and adequate supervision, management commitment and participation, and a zero-tolerance approach to noncompliance on HSE,” he adds.

While SGB-Cape has won numerous other HSE awards in 2017, Modumaela explains that the Noscars are very special to the organisation, as they instil a sense of pride and remind employees of the duty and the responsibility that the organisation of a stature of SGB-Cape holds in the industry.

“After winning 46 Noscar awards, we are still longing for more. Winning a Noscar goes beyond our desire to compete with external organisations, in fact, for us, it is an internal measure of excellence. Our branches, projects and sites keep competing amongst themselves for these accolades year in and year out,” he smiles.

The dynamic nature of SGB-Cape’s business, working in different industries and countries in Africa, means it is sometimes challenging to maintain a single culture within the organisation; but this doesn’t stop employees from caring and protecting one another.

“This is why we have committed to such a deliberate and systematic approach to SHEQ strategy and culture. Our view is that, while we will always need to adapt and customise ourselves to accommodate different people in different industries and countries, we must still hold true to the foundational pillars of our SHEQ culture.

“This requires also that we shift our thinking away from a safety policy (with guidelines and parameters) to a safety culture through which we model organisational behaviours that are supported by our brand, values and company purpose.

“Ultimately that means ensuring that everyone feels a strong sense of belonging to, and ownership of, SGB-Cape and that every member of the team is responsible for workplace safety. This is because safety initiatives require buy-in and commitment from all levels of the organisation,” says Modumaela.

“Our awards prove to our employees, customers and suppliers that SGB-Cape is an organisation with values and principles, that we are reliable and we maintain integrity. In SGB-Cape our stakeholders can be assured of safe and quality production,” he concludes. 

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