Safety compliance within companies is of the utmost importance to prevent incidents, particularly in the mining industry, where people are exposed to harsh working environments.
At Strata Mining Services, management is committed to ensuring SHEQ standards are upheld through various campaigns. Every two weeks, management teams make themselves available and interact with the workforce on site by conducting Visible Felt Leadership (VFL).
“We use this tool to check if there is safety compliance. It’s not a militant exercise, but rather one that allows management to socialise with the workforce and explain procedures if needed,” says Stoffel van Deventer, compliance manager.
“It makes a huge impact and reinforces our culture of safety, especially when our employees understand procedures and why they’re important.”
Some of the other initiatives that Strata use to maintain their safety culture include holding weekly health and safety meetings and running campaigns that report near misses. These campaigns highlight the need to stay alert and encourage staff to report potential hazards. As an added incentive, the employees who regularly report near misses are awarded shopping vouchers at the end of the month.
“This campaign enables us to learn from each other’s mistakes. If something happens once, we investigate the near miss, put protocols in place to prevent it recurring and then we share this best practice within the group,” says van Deventer.
More recently, a new Traffic Management Plan has been implemented at their Northern Cape premises which saw the installation of fisheye mirrors at blind corners and stop signs at possible collision points.
One of the safety representatives at the Northern Cape site, Nollie Sobudula, expressed that she was proud of her job as it’s a significant responsibility to look after people’s lives.
“I started as a cleaner in the workshop, but now I take care of everyone’s safety and make sure they follow the correct safety protocols. After I became a safety representative, I was worried people might not take me seriously, but they do. When I call out unsafe behaviour, they listen and things start to change,” says Sobudula.
Strata’s comprehensive maintenance plan is yet another preventative system in place to ensure their machines are in great working condition and that operators are kept out of harm’s way.
“Our people and our equipment are our greatest assets,” says van Deventer. “We have a commitment to make sure people get home safely at the end of each day, and this ensures that business keeps moving forward.”