Talk safety in the trucking industry and one immediately thinks of road safety and reducing the number of crashes on our roads. However, for truck manufacturers and suppliers, safety embraces other areas as well and it’s a big congratulations to Babcock’s truck division, importer and distributor of DAF Trucks, which, on April 23rd, reached the momentous milestone of a decade without any disabling injury time.
Reynardt Vorster, SHEQ Risk Manager, says this is an exceptional safety achievement not only within the Babcock International Group but also in the transport industry.
Vorster has headed the division’s safety, health, environmental and quality management for the past 15 years and led his team throughout their outstanding 10-year zero disabling incident injury rate (DIIR). As Vorster is soon to retire, this closes his career on a high note and he accredits and thanks his entire team for their unwavering commitment to maintaining a safe work environment.
Vorster says Babcock’s 10-year zero DIIR was largely achieved through constant communication and support as well as the team’s dedication to creating an engaged and inclusive safety culture where everyone feels involved while contributing their authentic best.
“From shop floor stewards to senior management, this safety accomplishment was a team effort. This milestone could only be achieved through the commitment of each and every employee in taking responsibility for their own and each other’s safety, challenging unsafe practices and setting courageous safety goals.”
Babcock is the sole importer and distributor of DAF Trucks, parts and services across southern Africa. Since signing the dealer agreement with DAF Netherlands in July 2010, Babcock has grown DAF Trucks’ presence across the country through an extensive dealership network and strategically located service centres to support sales and provide aftermarket services.
According to Vorster, personal safety is a high inherent risk in service and maintenance environments. To mitigate this risk, Babcock provides intensive training to all service technicians. The company also introduced six guiding principles that encourage employees to work towards a safety-first philosophy, which has positively shaped the mind-set of employees.
He says that trust and empowering others to find the best way to work together is another important element of Babcock’s safety philosophy. Vorster believes an open-door policy is essential to success and encourages valuable contributions and perspectives from his team. The company has a well-entrenched and all-inclusive safety culture supported by a comprehensive safety framework that includes weekly toolbox talks, daily shop floor safety training, and monthly objectives and targets.
Babcock believes that recognising and giving employees the opportunity to speak up and be heard and trusted is the key to delivering operational excellence to their customers as well as nurturing a high-performing, open and constructive safety culture.