Safety training: a real lifesaver
Something needs to be done to decrease the number of injuries resulting from the increasing number of road transport accidents. ANLERIE DE WET investigates whether safety training could be a possible solution
According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Section 8, an employer has the duty to inform employees of the hazards and risks associated with their tasks, and what control measures have been implemented to minimise their exposure to incidents as well as the severity and consequences thereof.
Ockert Fourie, Gauteng regional director at Makrosafe, says safety training creates awareness – a very important tool with which to combat accidents. “Safety training is also a vital tool in improving employee health and safety awareness and making all employees aware of their duties, responsibilities and roles in relation to health and safety,” says Fourie.
Makrosafe offers the legally required safety training such as health and safety representative training, first-aid, basic firefighting, incident investigation and legislation training, as well as task-specific training for companies in the transport industry.
The task-specific training includes training in hazardous chemical substances and safe operating procedures with regard to pre-use operations, driving vehicles, loading and off-loading operations and work instructions.
“Makrosafe also runs information training sessions in the form of safety alerts such as hijacking prevention and journey management, which are tailored to suit each individual client and their specific needs,” says Fourie.
This type of safety training can help decrease: motor vehicle accidents (by training drivers to perform pre-use vehicle inspections); loading and off-loading incidents; and driver fatigue, (by training drivers to effectively manage journeys).
Arrive Alive, the online road safety initiative, says fatigue-related accidents are known to be a particular problem for truck drivers. According to the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre in the United Kingdom, anecdotal evidence suggests that as many as 60 percent of truck accidents in Africa may be due to driver fatigue. Driver fatigue is the most likely cause of death of a truck driver in a road accident and is the most likely reason for the write-off of a truck.
Francois Riekert, national risk and security manager at Scania Southern Africa, says: “An injury to just one employee is unacceptable. We are trying to get to a point where employees look after each other, while also looking after their own well-being, so that we have zero incidents.”
Riekert says a safe working environment is a core necessity for Scania to be able to operate efficiently. He says Scania’s values include putting the client first, respect for the individual and eliminating waste. For this company safety training begins at home, before the lessons learnt are passed on to the consumer.
Riekert says Scania has an induction programme that highlights the need for safety, health and environment (SHE) training, and awareness of the necessity of implementing SHE principles.
“Every training session has a section that covers SHE. We also have SHE committees that assist management with the identification and elimination of risk and unsafe working conditions,” says Riekert.
He explains that the safety training covers safe operating processes and the basics of what an employee should do in case of an emergency, which includes first aid and firefighting.
Riekert says when Scania’s driver trainers train its clients’ drivers they include a section on how to react in case of an emergency and how be a safer driver.
Fourie says SHE representatives or managers need to receive training at least once a year, or when there are changes to legislation, in order to ensure adherence to updated legislative requirements.
Mornè Stoltz, head of business insurance at MiWay, says that fleet managers and logistics companies should consider a multi-faceted approach to get drivers to take road safety seriously, which would better manage drivers’ needs for sufficient rest and advanced driving instruction.
“It has been proved that initiatives like these reduce the number of accidents in which professional logistics companies are involved, which brings considerable benefits to these companies,” says Stoltz.