SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) is one of the most important cornerstones of FLSmidth’s South African operation. As evidence of the importance of these elements, the company recently achieved ISO 14001 and OSHAS 18001 accreditation.
The mining and minerals processing industry in South Africa has stringent requirements with regard to SHEQ adherence and works closely with the Department of Labour and Department of Mineral Resources to enforce best practice across the board.
René Camfferman, risk department manager of the South African operation, says that complying with both statutory and customer regulations is of the utmost importance to the company. “Our team invested a great deal of time and effort into preparing for and achieving these two accreditations. Those who have walked a similar path in industry will acknowledge that this is no mean feat and requires many hours of pre-planning, research as well as documentation preparation and compilation.”
The ultimate aim of any SHEQ programme is to provide clients with a fourfold advantage. This encapsulates improved efficiencies, reduced operational and maintenance costs, increased throughput of product, and elevated safety levels.
Leveraging extensive local site experience and a diverse and widespread applications base was a large contributor to the success of the accreditation initiative. Bertus Van Vuuren, HSE coordinator, explains that as an internationally recognized standard, ISO 14001, provides a comprehensive framework for the establishment and refinement of a superior environmental management system.
“In the journey towards accreditation, we have been made more aware of the impact that our operations have on the environment and we are thereby able to implement actions that mitigate risk. This will allow us to stay abreast of the latest developments and requirements in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), which includes amendments to the Water Act and the Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act, among others.”
In addition to exhibiting environmental stewardship, the accreditation programme also provided FLSmidth with valuable tools for the refinement of its occupational health and safety programme. “By benchmarking our performance against the recognized standards, we are able to implement changes where needed to ensure that the working environment is conducive to employee well-being and productivity,” said Van Vuuren.
Van Vuuren emphasized that accreditation is merely a result and not the end of the journey. By consistently and constantly driving the four elements of SHEQ, the company will be able to stay at the forefront of industry requirements. “This is a company-wide initiative. It is not only contingent upon the employees to adhere to regulations, but rather management needs to lead by example. All of our meetings within the company feature a ‘Safety Share’ element. So important is the relevance and impact of this philosophy, that it is accorded first place on the meeting agenda.”
In accordance with the stipulations of South Africa’s Mining Charter, FLSmidth South Africa also recently announced its new Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment equity structure.
CONTACT: René Camfferman