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  • Murray & Roberts Cementation achieves five-million fatality-free shifts

    Friday, 5 February 2021

    Murray & Roberts Cementation, with an unrelenting focus on its “breakthrough” Major Accident Prevention (MAP) programme, risk assessments and verification of critical controls in the field, has achieved five-million fatality-free shifts for the first time.

    The outcome of more than five years’ effort, the company reported its last fatality in 2015 and achieved the significant milestone by January 2, with the safety record continuing to date.

    Murray & Roberts Cementation MD Mike Wells attributes this success to the implementation of work on safety fatal-risk protocols and life-saving rules under the group’s MAP programme, adopted from sister company Clough in Australia.

    “We really believe that this MAP programme has made the breakthrough that we have been able to go [a recorded] five years and three months without a single work-related fatality. So we really are very proud of it,” he tells Engineering News & Mining Weekly.

    In fact, overall, the company has not recorded a fatality at its South Africa operations in over six years.

    The risk-based MAP programme focuses on identifying and implementing the critical controls required to prevent major accident events.

    “It starts with determining a list of the major unwanted events, and then doing the bowtie risk assessments associated with that and how you eliminate or control the risks through these critical controls,” he explains, noting that the critical controls are verified in real time in the field, with assessments done on their effectiveness.

    The programme includes the planning the detail of all work and compiling safe work procedures and assessing the task at hand.

    Operational line managers are responsible for ensuring that these critical controls are implemented and verified onsite before high-risk activities are undertaken and every time employees are exposed to major accident event hazards.

    “Thirty years ago, when I came into this organisation, it was believed really not possible. We never thought that you could sink a vertical shaft and never have a fatality,” says Murray & Roberts Cementation risk executive Trevor Schultz.

    He explains that, in 2002, the company achieved its first million fatality-free shifts, describing it as an “eye-opener” and enabling the belief that it was possible for a contractor to undertake projects and sink shafts successfully without fatalities.

    “Since then, there have been various vertical shafts that have been sunk fatality-free, of which, the biggest achievement was the  South Deep Ventilation Shaft. We sank a 2 750 m deep shaft without a fatality.

    “There have since been several of these achievements,” he continues, noting that the last fatality was in 2015.

    “Twenty years ago, people would not have believed a shaft could be sunk without a fatality. But you deliver the first fatality-free shaft, then many other [fatality-free] shaft-sinking projects follow. So it is really about inspiring people to believe, and to take ownership of the safety challenges,” adds Wells.

    The company believes that it is possible to work fatal free and its commitment to this safety strategy underpins all its operations; however, work is still required on lost-time injuries (LTIs). 

    “We have still got work to do on the LTI frequency rate. We have an acceptable total recordable case rate, but we have still got work to do on the aspiration for zero harm, which includes zero LTIs,” says Wells.

    Wells says that company has been working extensively on attitudinal and behavioural changes and inspiring people to believe that work can be undertaken with zero harm.

    “A key success is the compilation of safe working procedures, getting the teams to build their own safe working procedures and to take both personal and collective accountability for safety. We have also long been focusing on doing the work right the first time. A lot of this detail is in the planning, and the better you plan the tasks, the better you will execute them,” he assures.

    Further, the Murray & Roberts Cementation invests extensively in training and its training academy, located near Carletonville.

    “We have invested a lot of money in building very realistic mock ups and being able to take people through more than just a generic safety induction, but to really familiarise them, in a lifelike situation, of the tasks they will be executing,” he concludes. MW.

    Published courtesy of Creamer Media