Occupational Health and Safety is an integral part of company operations to ensure sustainability. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), the physical conditions and mental demands of the workplace determine to a great extent the wellbeing of employees. Occupational accidents have a significant human, social and economic cost, which we should strive to eliminate by ensuring that all workplaces are safe. This requires raising awareness and embedding a culture of vigilance that incorporates a reporting mechanism for potential hazards. Achieving zero incidents should be a company vision and norm rather than a target or performance goal.
To monitor these safety standards, most organizations adopt various compliance standards that guide the company culture and attitude towards safety for employees and suppliers across the value chain. Most companies use Lost Time Accidents (LTAs), also known as Loss Time Injury (LTIs). According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the global body responsible for protecting worker health and safety, LTAs refers to an incident that requires an employee to miss work due to sustaining an injury on the job.
OSHA further defines the criteria for recordable injuries and illnesses as, “…death, days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.” The higher the incident rate, the lower the organization’s safety performance. Since this metric is calculated in hindsight, it is not a perfect predictor of an organization’s future safety performance, but really helps to audit and understand the company’s attitude towards employee safety.
This year, World Day for Safety and Health at Work focuses on enhancing social dialogue towards a culture of safety and health. For Songas, as the World marks International Safety Day, the leading energy company in Tanzania will be celebrating over marking 2000 days with no LTAs. John Maitaria, HSE Manager from Songas said that “This achievement has been the result of the utmost commitment from a team of talented staff, progressive safety culture, and proactivity in ensuring all staff have a conducive work environment to do meaningful work.”
The ILO estimates that around 2.3 million employees around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year; this corresponds to over 6000 deaths per day. Worldwide, there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually.
To avert this, Songas has since 2004 established robust Health, Safety, and Environment systems and was first certified to OHSAS 18001:2007 Standard in 2009, followed by a transition to ISO 45001:2018 Standard in 2020. The company is also certified to ISO 14001:2015 an environmental management standard. This attests that the company has successfully adopted an effective safety management system that conforms to international standards.
John highlights that employee safety is of the utmost importance, “In order to run a world class power plant, it is paramount that we continuously engage employees on behavioral safety and have continuous dialogue around health and safety practices. Our top priority is to ensure that every employee goes home safe.’