Pictured: Thierry Madelon, Managing Director
Knowledge, awareness, choice! As part of a global family, Colas South Africa strives to be a local ambassador through the group’s core value of having a relentless focus on safety. This is a commitment that is shared and led from the very top of the company, as illustrated by the following statement from the group chairman and CEO, Herve Le Bouc.
“FOR EACH OF US, safety must become a habit, a deeply rooted corporate value – one that we all feel deep down inside. Safety must govern behaviour at all times, no matter where we are. It is a cornerstone value, for which there can be no compromises.” What this means is that nothing is more important than keeping our people and those around us safe and nothing can justify departing from safe practices and procedures. This is true for all our employees, service providers and the communities that we operate in. Inherently, our industry presents a unique set of safety challenges and the potential for negative consequences arising from failure to adhere to the highest possible safety standards is a reality. Colas strives for continuous improvement in safety with zero tolerance for safety defects.
The company will drive this continuous improvement by engaging internally and externally, among others, in the followings ways: • Vigorous training programmes to give our employees the proper knowledge to enable us to do what we have to safely and efficiently. This includes our safety days, toolbox talks and position-specific training initiatives.
• A team approach to safety consistent with our core value of Ubuntu, which maximises our awareness of what we are doing and what is going on around us when we are at work. Bitumen can be unforgiving for the distracted, let us make sure we and those around us are focused on the task at hand.
• A clear affirmation from all of us that safety always comes first regardless of the pressures we get from customers, colleagues, bosses or partners. At Colas, we should never engage in or tolerate unsafe practices no matter what the situation. Let us make the right choice at all times.
• The recent appointment of a dedicated health, safety and environment (HSE) and training leadership team, Jaco Steyn and Darin Cupido, will provide strategic guidance for developing increasingly effective HSE practices. Each branch of Colas South Africa also has a dedicated safety and environmental officer to carry our message in the field every day.
• A commitment to serve safety beyond our company: our management team engaging in industry safety training initiatives, e.g. our South African MD, Thierry Madelon, serves as the chairman of the SABITA HSE committee, and Jaco Steyn (HSE training manager) is a member of the SABITA educational focal group dedicated to improving industry standards of HSE training. Let us also practise safe behaviour at home and with our families. Ensuring premier safety in the logistical department by ensuring a well-maintained fleet, utilised by highly skilled drivers who are screened prior to employment and continuously evaluated and upskilled via initiatives designed by our ‘Master Driver Trainer’ during their employment at Colas South Africa. In summary, the three primary pillars of our safety programme are:
1. knowledge driven by our training strategy and initiatives
2. creating intense awareness of the inherent dangers of working in our industry, e.g. driving complex vehicles in challenging terrains, working at extreme heights, using unique and often toxic chemicals, products, and engaging in unique processes that are potentially hazardous in the operations field and on-site
3. reinforcing the critical importance of considering all safety factors when making choices and decisions on a continuous basis so that ‘safety thinking’ becomes a part of the Colas DNA. Our goal is that each Colas employee and those around us go home every day safely and unharmed. It is up to every one of us to make it happen.