PLATINUM producer Zimplats’ Selous Metallurgical Complex has been declared the winner of the top National Safety Award for 2013 at the just ended National Social Security Association (NSSA) Safety and Health at Work (SHAW) Conference.
How Mine took second place with Sable Chemicals coming third.
Public Service Labour and Social Welfare Minister Nicholas Goche presented representatives of Zimplats with the Premier Shield at the National Safety Awards event held in Harare last Friday.
Zimplats general manager – processing, Louis Mabiza, said this was the second time the company had won the award.
“We have not shed any blood over the past year. We are elated that we have gone for 974 days without any lost time due to injury,” he said, adding that the company had come a long way since it started some years back implementing a safety, health and environment management system.
Goche urged companies to adopt a systems approach to managing safety and health at work.
“Our society is constantly evolving under the influence of new technologies and of shifting economic and social conditions and with these our workplaces, our work practices and production processes are constantly changing as well,” he said.
The minister said new chemicals were being introduced every day that were being used in industrial and agricultural environments, often without adequate protection.
He commended award winners for achieving excellence in safety and health in 2013, despite the exceptional economic challenges experienced which included “a biting liquidity crunch.
“Where safety is concerned it is much better to lose one minute in life than to lose a life in one minute.
“Those who are winning tonight are proof to us that it is possible to achieve excellent safety and health standards in spite of seemingly crippling economic challenges. That makes them special winners,” he said.
NSSA general manager James Matiza drew attention to the theme of the Safety and Health at Work (SHAW) Conference, which preceded the awards ceremony.
“As we all know, a culture is a way of life. This theme is seeking to create a way of life for employers and workers based on prevention.
“It calls for strong Occupational Safety and Health management systems which will eventually translate into a culture,” he said.Advertisement
Meanwhile, giving an assessment of safety and health management performance, NSSA occupational safety and health director, Rodgers Dhliwayo, said only 18 percent of the 2,217 establishments assessed in 2013 had an occupational safety and health (OSH) policy.
While this was a 38 percent improvement when compared to the 13 percent of companies assessed the previous year, it meant that less than a fifth of the companies had a safety and health policy.
“Only 13 percent of organisations were running programmes to make workers aware of the hazards at the workplace. Are we surprised we have so much carnage at workplaces?” he asked.
Earlier in the week Minister Goche had told the SHAW conference that there had been 71 deaths at work in the first eight months of this year and 3,598 serious injuries.