Any company becomes successful, if its entire staff, equipment and working environment will be safe.
And it is only those healthy workers working in safe environments can work hard by a 100 percent and take the company to greater heights of success.
Tanzania has many Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Micro- Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and major corporates that have employed hundreds of workers, whose safety at work is, however, not much secure.
If there is that one company that has successful ingrained safety and health across its entire operations and deserves much of plaudits, then it is Coca-Cola Kwanza (CCK).
I will present herein the grounds for standing on their side. One day, I had to visit this long-serving beverage company and see for myself how safety and health practices are of high case value.
I realised that the safety of staff or guests begins from their first entry into the company’s premises and when they leave.
Safety procedures are very much observed at Coca-Cola Kwanza and through that it has been able to protect the safety and health of both its staff and visitors.
Safety and health systems
According to Coca-Cola Kwanza’s Safety, Health and Quality Manager Ng’wani Kilasa, the company has installed safety and health systems in order to protect its staff and visitors.
He says the company has the procedure of evaluating accident incidents every quarter of the year.
He further says the company tests the health of its entire staff from the point they join the company and even when they quit. The objective of this precise metric is to desist the company from paying a forfeit for causing an injury that will lay the staff low for unknown period.
“We believe in the quality and safest working environment that can help staff work effectively. We always provide them with protective gears (PPE) when they are at work,” explains Kilasa.
On the side of Coca-Cola Kwanza Manufacturing Director, Hassan Waziri says apart from the safety and health of employees, they take into account the safety of the company’s buildings, equipment, and the general environment by conducting regular inspections.
He goes further and says that even in waste disposal systems, the company has been distinguishing between waste to be disposed of and those need recycling. The wastewater produced by the company is treated before it is discharged and some waste is stored properly.
Another thing that differentiates this company from others in safety and health, is to have a clinic within the company where for employees who suffer injuries at work can be treated. Waziri says they have also insured all of their employees with medical cover.
Qualities of a safe and healthy workplace
“In order for the workplace to be safe, there must be a system in place to address security issues in general. We are using the NOSA system which operates as an independent entity to check if the company has met the safety requirements, “explains Waziri.
Also, he says you must have a system that can identify risks and then check if you have the ability to educate people about the precautions of using equipment.
Rights and duties of employer and employee regarding safety and health compliance
Kilasa elucidates that their company has a workplace safety and quality policy that they have been preaching across all areas by educating all employees to recognize their responsibilities.
“They know what the policy says and so they are aware of their responsibility to implement the policy and if it happens they have found an equipment with a fault they come to the office and we solve it immediately,” explains Kilasa.
Kilasa says there is an employer and employee’s obligations to ensure safety and health is upheld.
He says the employer’s responsibility is to make the employee aware of the probable risks in the workplace, teach them how to protect themselves while the employee’s responsibility is to follow the company’s policy. “Failure to comply with the company’s safety policy is a disciplinary offense which may result in dismissal,” he added.
Metrics of safety of the company
To determine how safe the company is, Kilasa explains they are looking at four things; the first is the number of fatalities, long-term injuries, first aid as well as near misses events.
He says that, based on the first quarter review of this year, there were no fatalities, long-term injuries, first aid, but there were rare cases of near misses, which according to him are inevitable due to the fact that factory is largely invested with a number of machines operated by more than 800 staff. In short, their company is safe.
How safety and health contribute to the efficiency, innovation and productivity of employees
Waziri says when a person is safe and healthy even his or her attendance at work is also good. He goes on to say that a safe working environment allows a person to participate fully in production, creativity and innovation at work. The Coca-Cola Kwanza Company has a system of awarding certificates to the best employees who have developed innovative ideas under the auspices of safe and health workplace.
Safety and health policy revamp company’s growth
Waziri argues that one of the key accomplishments drawn from investing highly in the safety and health of their employees is to achieve their production targets in the first quarter, and this includes; ability to reduce water and gas consumption. Also, the company’s environment has been well maintained due to adherence to the company’s safety and health policy.
“Another advantage is that even the cost of repairing safety equipment here has gone down,” he explains.
He says that due to adherence to the company’s safety policy, employees’ work ethics has been improved.
Waziri insists that sometimes visitors who visit the company do not want to follow instructions given by managers on complying with safety and health policies on the pretext of rushing to specified office or rather acting they are used to processes.
The second is respiratory challenge. Coca-Cola Kwanza has been going through a difficult time like other companies in the world, in dealing with this scourge especially in protecting workers from infection so that production doesn’t stop. He says the company has been producing hand sanitizers and comply with the Ministry’s and WHO health directives.
Coca-Cola Kwanza message prior to commemoration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work
Waziri says, “It doesn’t matter if you are a worker or not, but safety is a must. You are a safety leader wherever you are,” He urges and goes on to advice employers across the country to use the day to reflect on whether their employees are safe or not.