Health and safety risks occur in different workplace settings, from plant operations to construction sites and even offices. Employers are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act No.5 of 2003, to create a workplace free of hazards for their employees and any third parties on site. The key to a safe working environment is to anticipate, mitigate, prepare and continuously raise awareness hence minimizing work hazards. At Songas we believe all accidents are foreseeable and preventable and if an incident does occur, we conduct rigorous root cause analysis and use this to support continual improvement in our occupational health and safety systems. It is for this reason that at the end of 2020 Songas family achieved an outstanding over 4 years – 1527 days of No Lost Time Accidents (LTA).
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), every day, people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases – with an overwhelming total of 2.78 million deaths per year. Additionally, there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries each year. A 2013 Performance Audit Report on the Management of Occupational Health and Safety in Tanzania recounted a total of 121,000 fatal injuries. This staggering statistic underlines how imperative it is to strengthen our efforts across all industries to ensure employee safety, health, and wellness.
The lack of safety and protection of employees carries greater financial implications beyond the question of safety alone. Workplace accidents create a ripple effect that can influence immediate and long-term business impacts. The ILO estimates that lost working time, workers’ compensation, interruption of production, and medical expenses cost four percent of the global GDP (roughly 2.8 trillion US dollars) thus showing the economic burden of poor OSH practices.
Songas believes that safety programs are a good investment to ensure all employees are aware of safety and hazard measures to reduce the level of impact and achieve workplace safety excellence. Safety excellence goes beyond repeating great results. It is an insight into how the results were achieved, with a shared mindset throughout the culture that continuous improvement is, and will always be, possible.
Since 2004 Songas has established a Health, Safety and Environment team that provides awareness training, campaigns, and weekly meeting logging over 2,326 hours, aiming to build a culture where safety comes first. As a result of this dedication, we recently achieved certification to the latest international occupational health, safety ISO 45001:2018 as well as maintaining certification to ISO 14001:2015 an environmental management standard. This verifies that the company has successfully adopted an effective safety management system in conformity with international standards.
Our employees are the most valuable resource and our top priority is ensuring that every worker returns home safely at the end of the day. The celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work poses as a reminder to executives at corporate headquarters and workers in the field—that safety doesn’t just happen, it is a choice that must be lived and practised every day, across every business segment.
The recent outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic reminded all of us that we each have a responsibility to develop preventative cultures in our homes, schools, and the workplace in order to prevent or curtail the spread of diseases. As a company we put in place the safety regulations required by the World Health Organization (WHO) with regards to the management of Covid-19 by installing handwashing stations, distributing hand sanitisers and masks among employees, and encouraging working from home whenever deemed necessary.
We remain committed to enhance employee engagement and constant communication around health and safety practices and focus on establishing safety partnerships and innovative new resources to create a culture of safety excellence at Songas.