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Business Stability

SEIFSA Encouraged By Improvement In Broader Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index

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Johannesburg, 3 December 2018 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) welcomes the improvement in overall business activity in the broader manufacturing sector, as reflected in the ABSA Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) released today.

As a lead indicator and the first data point that is published for the preceding month, the PMI sets the tone for how manufacturers and various stakeholders in the broader manufacturing sector view the month ahead.

The headline PMI data released today improved from 42.4 percent in October 2018 to 49.5 percent in November 2018, placing the PMI data virtually on par with the 50-neutral level which separates expansion from contraction.

“The rebound in the data is encouraging. Despite low business and consumer confidence, it seems that manufacturing activity is generally improving, albeit rather slowly and still under pressure,” SEIFSA Economist Marique Kruger said.

She added that it was also encouraging to note that almost all the sub-indices improved in November 2018 vis-à-vis October 2018, with the new sales orders, inventories and suppliers’ performance trending in expansionary zones.

The only blip in the performance of the sub-indices was that of the employment sub-index, which still trends in the contractionary zone and seems to have taken a knock in November 2018 when compared to October 2018.

Ms Kruger said SEFSA remained hopeful that the increasing trend in the sub-indices would continue and eventually improve the composite seasonally-adjusted PMI for December 2018.

“Progression in the PMI is important towards boosting overall economic activity for quarter 4 of 2018, also enabling businesses to start the year 2019 on a positive note,” Ms Kruger concluded.

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 21 independent employer Associations in the metals and engineering industries, with a combined membership of 1600 companies employing around 200 000 employees. The Federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making companies to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.

About SHEQ

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About SHEQ

SAFETY, HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT AND QUALITY DIVISION

SEIFSA provides comprehensive and professional safety, health, environment and quality consultancy services to member companies – offering practical advice, guidance and training on all issues, including workmen’s compensation claims and implementation of legal requirements. In light of the recently published ISO 9001: 2015 and ISO 14001: 2015, the division also implements the new standards and offers advice on transitioning to the latest versions.

In addition to offering training and consultancy services, the division also lobbies extensively in various national forums on behalf of the industry. These forums include the Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety, National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), Advisory Committee for the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Diseases, and the Department of Environmental Affairs industry forums. Some of the engagements are directly with various stakeholders in government, organised business and organised labour. 

COMPENSATION FUND

Amendments to COIDA 

Nedlac deliberations on the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act (COIDA) Amendment Bill began  in July 2017 and were concluded in April 2018. The purpose of the amendments is to provide for the rehabilitation, re-integration and return to work of injured employees, to regulate the use of health care facilities and to also regulate compliance and enforcement. 

 

Generally, the draft amendments seek to increase compensation benefits and improve service delivery. The business position was, in summary, as follows:

the extension of compensation cover should not have excessive economic impact on assessment fees payable by the employer to the Compensation Fund; and  

administrative fines should not be based on an employer’s turnover, but rather on the financial loss caused by the non-compliance, as well as the adverse impact on the health of the affected employee(s).

 

a. Extension of Scope of Benefits

In terms of extension of cover, two key matters have been flagged by business: 

i. The introduction of the concept of “no-fault basis” effected by the removal of “serious willful misconduct”. In the current Act, employees who are injured due to willful misconduct such as being under the influence of alcohol or refusal to apply health and safety measures are in principle not covered by COIDA; and  

ii. In the event of an accident while travelling to and from work currently employees are only covered by COIDA if:

the vehicle used by the employee is provided by the employer for such purposes;

the vehicle is driven by the employer or by one of the employees and  

if such a vehicle is provided free of charge. 

 

According to the current wording of the draft amendment bill, employees would be covered travelling to and from work, regardless of their mode of transport. 

 

Business argued that the above circumstances are outside of the control of an employer i.e. an employer cannot anticipate or control serious willful misconduct or the risk posed by the choice of transport made by employees. This would have a significant impact on the frequency of claims, the risk rating of the employer and, most importantly, the assessment fees payable to the Compensation Fund by the employer. 

 

b. Determination of Fines

 The proposal by the Government was that the commission of certain administrative non-compliances would attract a fine of up to 10% of the previous year’s turnover. Even though there was no agreement on this Issue, business maintained that: 

Any prescribed fine/penalty should be a defined amount (not a % of an unknown amount)

Any fine/penalty should be capped (have a maximum of “up to”).

Penalties should be imposed by a Court of law (if an employer is found guilty of an offence).

 

There is no set date by which the draft bill will be published for comment, however, the general sentiment  is that it might be after the 2019 presidential elections. The revised Bill incorporating public comments will be re- tabled at Nedlac before it is finalized.

 

UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE

 

National Health Insurance

The National Health Insurance Bill was published for comment on 21 June 2018 and comments were to be submitted by 21 September 2018. Two of the major areas of concern are:

a. The cost of NHI

The cost of NHI is unknown, to date- government has not produced any financial modelling to demonstrate its cost and sustainability. Some economics experts have warned that this uncertainty is likely to deter international investment and adversely affect economic growth. 

The government’s track record in State-owned entities has been negative over the years and a centralisation of health funding is a cause for concern. According to the NHI Bill, the Fund will become the public purchaser and the sole financier of health.

 

b. Mandatory prepayments

During his public announcement, the Minister of Health, Aaron Motsoaledi spoke of income cross subsidisation i.e. rich subsidising the poor. The NHI public campaign flyer outlines the following funding sources: 

General taxes

Employees earning above a certain amount will be required by law to contribute

Employers will assist the NHI Fund by ensuring that their NHI contributions are collected and submitted, in a similar way as UIF contribution

Employers will match their employee’s contribution to NHI

 

Surprisingly the NHI Bill is silent on employer and employee contributions and leaves one to assume its covered in the “monies to which the Fund may become legally entitled to”. (After the promulgation of the NHI and Medical Aid Fund Bill- 11 more pieces of legislations will  be introduced or amended in order to bring some of the NHI requirements into effect)

 

While Nedlac discussions continue, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA’s) NHI Hybrid Research Project is underway. The research results will form a solid base for argument against the viability of NHI as currently proposed.

 

 

 

SHEQ COMPLIANCE SERVICES  

 

SEIFSA’s SHEQ Division assists member companies in meeting the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act and other safety, health, environment and quality legislation. The SEIFSA SHEQ division guides companies in addressing safety, health, environment and quality issues at the workplace and thereby protecting management from vicarious liability and criminal prosecution.

 

The Division offers an audit programme which includes the following: 

An annual audit;

The provision of the administrative documentation required to ensure that the mandatory administrative requirements are observed;

A written report identifying and addressing areas of non-compliance and, where necessary, specific recommendations for action by management; and

The formulation of an implementation plan to assist in the achievement and maintenance of full and proper legal compliance.

 

SHEQ LEGAL ADVISORY SERVICE

 

SEIFSA provides a comprehensive range of consultancy and advisory services to member companies on safety, health, environment and quality issues, including:  

General health and safety legal advice and assistance;

Interpretation and advice on occupational health and safety legislation;

Interpretation and advice on workmen’s compensation legislation;

Formulation and implementation of company level health and safety management systems and procedures; 

Incident investigations and reporting; and 

Legal compliance guidance and auditing.

 

SHEQ TRAINING

 

SEIFSA presents a comprehensive range of practical safety, health, environment and quality training courses, seminars and workshops aimed at all levels of management. These courses were run during the year on an in-house basis and also as public sessions and include:

Health and Safety Representatives

ISO 9001: 2015, IS0 14001: 2015, and ISO 45001 Awareness

16.2 Appointees

Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.

Incident Investigation.

Basic Safety Induction and HIV/Aids Awareness.

Introduction to Occupational Health and Safety Act for Management.

Other services include risk assessments on tasks, machines, processes and equipment; incident investigation; the development of safe work procedures, and fire risk surveys.

 

The SHEQ Executive lobbies on behalf of the membership on the following platforms:

Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety: Advises the Minister on occupational health and safety matters;

Technical Committee 7: Hazardous Chemical Substances: Advises the Chief Inspector on HCS- related matters (at date of publication reviewing Asbestos, Lead and HCS Regulations);

Iron and Steel Sector Forum: Promotion of health and safety in the sector and formulation of best practices;

NEDLAC: Representing and protecting the interests of business in engagements with Government and Labour;

 BUSA: Represent the industry in engagements with business on all policies affecting Occupational Health and Environment;

Advisory Council for the Compensation Commissioner for Occupational Disease (CCOD): Advises the Compensation Commissioner on compensation matters;

Steering Committee for Integration of Compensation Systems: Engagements aimed at integrating or improving compensation systems under COIDA and ODMWA;  

DEA Waste Management Forum: Engagements on proposed amendments to Environmental Legislation.

 

In addition, the division is closely monitoring developments in relation to the National Clean Production Centre on Energy Efficiency in order to ensure that members benefit from various funded programmes; and is also monitoring the Government’s implementation of the National Strategy on Climate Change Mitigation.

 

The SHEQ division will continue to play an active advocacy role in representing the views of business on various platforms, lobby relevant Government departments, influence amendments to existing legislation and/ or the introduction of new legislation affecting the health and safety of workers in the industry and strengthen enforcement regulations aimed at reducing fatalities and injuries in the metals and engineering industries.

 

Nonhlalo Mphofu

Safety, Health, Environment, Quality Executive

Companies Unlikely To Benefit From Rising PPI For Intermediate Manufactured Goods Unless Inflation Eases Further, Says SEIFSA

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Johannesburg, 29 November 2018 – Businesses in the metals and engineering (M&E) cluster are unlikely to benefit from a continuous increase in the selling price inflation in October 2018, given the current domestic economic environment underpinned by high petrol prices and an up-tick in both the prime interest rate and inflation, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said today.

Speaking after today’s release of Producer Price Index (PPI) figures by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA), SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said the latest release shows the annual percentage change in the PPI for final manufactured goods was 6,9% in October 2018, compared with 6,2% in September 2018. The data also shows a less-than- proportionate increase in the PPI for intermediate manufactured goods, considered a proxy for selling price inflation, from 7,7% in September 2018 to 7,4%. From September 2018 to October 2018, the PPI for intermediate manufactured goods increased by 1,0%.

However, Dr Ade said it is worrisome to note that notwithstanding the improving trend in selling price inflation for intermediate manufactured goods, companies are still constrained by derived logistics costs from high fuel prices and the double whammy of rising prices and higher prime interest rate.

“As captured by recent official releases from StatsSA and the South African Reserve Bank, the headline CPI correspondingly increased from 4,9% in September 2018 to 5,1% in October 2018, alongside the interest rate which increased from 6,5% in September to 6,75% in October. These dynamics definitely have the potential of compounding the dire situation of most businesses. The bigger concern is the direct impact on the depleting margins of companies, with dreadful extended socio-economic consequences on the broader economy,” Dr Ade said.

He said the direct transmission effects of the negative shocks arising from inflation, high costs of servicing existing loans and from snowballing borrowing costs from the financial service providers will impact negatively on consumer demand, thereby reducing the ability of producers to increase selling prices.

Dr Ade said that given that most of the intermediate goods produced in the M&E cluster are further utilised in the production of final manufactured goods which are largely consumed by domestic consumers, the reverse knock-on effect on the M&E cluster will be huge. He said the sharp deterioration in both the consumer and business confidence indices, as captured by the FNB/BER confidence indices, was equally of concern. .

The data reflect consumer confidence dipping from 22 in the second quarter to 7 in the third quarter of the year, while business confidence also fell from 40 in the second quarter to 34 in the third quarter. The bleak picture is further corroborated by the poor performance of the Absa business expectation index, which slowed down from 45,8 in September to 41,7 in October, in the midst of a technical recession and low domestic demand.

Dr Ade said that the lack of demand will invariably affect the speed with which intermediate manufactured goods leave the factories, steel mills, foundries, smelters and warehouses.

“Also, given the direct correlation that exists between changes in the PPI at the retail level (finished goods) and consumers at the point of sale, increases in both inflation and the cost of borrowing will adversely affect the speed at which manufactured goods are sold. Given these constraints, businesses are unlikely to benefit from prevailing increasing selling price inflation as it becomes difficult to pass price increases on to the final consumers continuously,” Dr Ade said.

In conclusion, Dr Ade pointed out that the PPI for the final and intermediate manufactured goods are important drivers of consumer demand. He said both indicators also generally act as a preview of changes in the rate of inflation.

Dr Ade cautioned that, in analysing both trends, businesses should also give significant consideration to other drivers of consumer spending.

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 23 independent employer
Associations in the metals and engineering industries, with a combined membership of 1600 companies employing around 200 000 employees. The Federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making companies to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.
HCSD Artisan

Artisan Development Project

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The SEIFSA Training Centre hereby extends an invitation to member companies to participate in an Artisan Development Project known as War on Leaks, in partnership with the Department of Water and Sanitation and the EWSETA.

Introduction

This project aims to support the National Skills Accord initiative and train 15000 artisans. It includes the following outcomes:

Artisan Development Programme

  • Recruitment and selection of candidates;
  • Indenture apprentices on training contracts;
  • Institutional training of 26 weeks at the SEIFSA Training Centre according to SETA qualification requirements;
  • Placement of candidates for practical training at employers; and
  • Final training and trade testing at the SEIFSA Training Centre.

Project Costs
The following project costs will be covered by the Project:

  • Recruitment and selection of candidates;
  • Institutional and final training costs;
  • A monthly stipend for candidates for the duration of training programme;
  • A toolkit and PPE needed during formal training phases;
  • Monitoring of candidates’ progress at employer sites; and
  • Administration and reporting of candidates’ progress.

Employer Obligations

  • Willingness of participating employer/s to take on candidate/s for practical training and exposure on site (the candidates should be able to start with practical, on-the-job training, on site, from January 2019);
  • Induction and workplace safety requirements;
  • PPE needed as to work site requirements; and
  • Mentor candidates through the guidance of a qualified artisan over a period of 18-24 months.

Artisan Trades
Candidates will be trained in the following trades:

  • Fitter and Turner/Mechanical (30 trainees)

Once the candidate has completed his/her trade test successfully, the employer is under no obligation to offer him/her employment. This is a general outline of the training programme and a serious attempt by the Department of Water and Sanitation, the EWSETA and the SEIFSA Training Centre to contribute to the development of artisans.

If you are interested in participating in this initiative, please forward the number of apprentices, per trade, that your organisation is willing to accommodate in the workplace to Melanie@seifsa.co.za or Desmond@seifsa.co.za.

Yours in Skills Development 

Melanie Mulholland
Human Capital & Skills Development Executive
HR Professional – SABPP Registration # 10205
Skills Development Practioner (ASDSA)

Employment Tax Incentive

Employment Tax Incentive

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It has come to our attention that there appears to be inaccurate information circulating with regards to the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) that was negotiated at NEDLAC and agreed to under the Jobs Summit Agreement .  The inaccurate information is to the effect that the ETI has been increased to earnings of R8000.00 and age increased to 35 years from 1 April 2019.

BUSA confirmed with National Treasury, and referenced the relevant legislative provision – the Taxation Laws Amendment Bill – passed by the National Assembly yesterday (refer to page 54). Both the current age limit (up to 30 years of age) applicable to ETI and the monetary limit of R6000 remain unchanged, but the ETI applicability has been extended to 1 January 2029 as per the Jobs Summit Agreement.

The ETI is the only direct employment incentive in South Africa. The extension of the time period of application of the ETI to 10 years is a positive step. It creates the necessary stability in the short and medium term for businesses to enhance the use of the incentive in order to promote employment of young people. It is also a sufficient period for smaller businesses to take up the opportunity if they may not have already done so due to the short duration of the previous incentive.

Should you require any further clarity or information please do not hesitate to contact SEIFSA’s HC&SD team for assistance on 011 298 9400.

Reserve Bank’s Decision To Hike Interest Rates Is Disappointing, Says SEIFSA

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Johannesburg, 22 November 2018 –  The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) is extremely disappointed over the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) decision to hike interest rates by 25 basis points to 6.75 percent, and is concerned that this decision deprives a very weak economy of a much-needed boost.

Speaking after the announcement by the Reserve Bank this afternoon, SEIFSA Economist Marique Kruger said the failure of the SARB’s Monetary Policy Committee to leave interest rates unchanged, at the very least, is disappointing for beleaguered business and over-indebted consumers, especially in the run-up the festive season.

However, Ms Kruger said that given the upside risks that an accommodative monetary policy stance would have on the domestic economy’s inflationary outlook, the decision is understandable. She said it was unfortunate that businesses in the broader domestic economy – and  the metals and engineering sector in particular continues to face headwinds, amid increasing operational expenses.

“The generally weaker exchange rate and the higher petrol price impact negatively on the cost of doing business, while increased inflationary pressures caused by an increase in annual consumer price inflation exacerbate the challenging situation,” said Ms Kruger.

She said that given the current state of the economy and the weak domestic demand environment, the decision to increase interest rates will invariably add to the cost of doing business, thereby impacting negatively on the margins of struggling businesses.

 

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 23 independent employer. Associations in the metals and engineering industries, with a combined membership of 1600 companies employing around 200 000 employees. The Federation was formed in 1943 and its member companies range from giant steel-making companies to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.
Business Stability

Business Stability Is Imperative For Long-Term Growth

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The SEIFSA mission encapsulates the essence of its product and service offerings to its affiliated member companies. SEIFSA is a Federation of Employer Organisations which collectively represent the views, goals and objectives of almost 2000 member companies. SEIFSA strives to be the most respected advocate for the metals and engineering industries in order to create innovative businesses positioned for growth and working in partnership with all stakeholders in the interests of Southern Africa.

Running a business in the South African environment, especially in the metals and engineering industries, is an enormous challenge. Policy uncertainty, over regulation, political own goals, labour volatility and inflationary and administered cost pressures all affect management’s ability to plan for the future.

Business owners must wish that they could adjust levels of stability by some cosmic switch. SEIFSA’s product and service offerings, whilst not quite the silver bullet, are specifically designed, tested and proved to assist in managing levels of volatility in the market place. Two of SEIFSA’s most well-known services are:

To ensure that member companies are up to speed with the latest in legislation and regulations,  SEIFSA also runs a suite of training in the following disciplines: Human Capital and Skills Development, Industrial Relations and Legal Services, Economics and Commercial, as well as  Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ). These interventions all have one thing in common: ensuring that employers understand the rules of the game so that businesses can mitigate volatility and maximize stability. Stability has become a business imperative in South Africa. Shareholders, business owners and managers need to use every tool available to achieve stability in their businesses.

The Main Agreement has been crafted over many years to be a tool for both stability and  flexibility; it has numerous advantages over and above the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

Traditionally, the South African business community’s Achilles heel has been its struggle to deal with labour disputes and unrest. Labour law is derived from the South African Constitution, which is dedicated to the achievement of social justice. Collective bargaining is a cornerstone of the system and the reduction of disproportionate income differentials is one of its main purposes. The right to strike, which is constitutionally entrenched for the purpose of allowing workers to exercise economic pressure, is a reality, and business must be knowledgeable, skilled and ready to deal confidently in the Industrial Relations sphere. This need is even more acute in sectors such as the metals and engineering, mining and manufacturing. Industrial unrest, strikes and work stoppages pose a very serious threat to the well-being of companies.

Joining one of SEIFSA-affiliated Employer Associations adds a significant tool to your armoury. There are five distinct ways in which joining SEIFSA will protect your business:

  1. FIXED COSTS

The Main often a three-year deal. There is a no-strike clause and a clear and defined protection against a compulsion to be pulled into plant-level bargaining. For SEIFSA-affiliated member companies, the costs are fixed, clear and defined

  1. EFFECTIVE EXEMPTION PROCEDURE

If a SEIFSA member company cannot afford the parameters of the deal (i.e. wage increases, leave bonus, etc.), there is a clear and simple exemption procedure to apply for partial or full exemption from any monetary provision of the Agreement. Exemption applications are not dependent on the agreement of employees or their unions, but on the financial situation a company finds itself.

  1. FLEXIBILITY

There are no short-time, lay-off or overtime exemption provisions in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. However, all these options are available to SEIFSA member companies. Once again, this gives business owners more flexibility and options when faced with down-time or up-ticks in production.

  1. LABOUR BROKERS

For SEIFSA member companies, the use of Labour Brokers continues unchanged. If a company is a member of a SEIFSA-affiliated Association, the Main Agreement permits the contracting of employees to a client via a labour broker (which is also a member of SEIFSA) for reasons related to site work, turnaround work, ship-repair work and short-term fluctuations in work load linked to time or the completion of the specific work, project or job detailed in the contract. In other words, the 2018 Constitutional Court ruling on deeming (i.e. that an employee supplied to a company by a labour broker becomes the permanent employee of the client after three months) has no bearing.

  1. FULL AND FINAL SETTLEMENT

SEIFSA member companies run their businesses under the knowledge that for the duration of the Main Agreement (at the moment until 30 June 2020), all terms and conditions of employment are locked into the Agreement and remain unchanged under a full and final settlement provision that guarantees exactly what business owners need: certainty, stability and a business environment free of industrial unrest and labour volatility.

To join an Employer Association federated to SEIFSA, call Ms Theresa Crowley on (011) 298-9419 or email theresa@seifsa.co.za

To contract with a Labour Broker or TES which is a member of SEIFSA, email Ms Christa Smith on christa@associationadministrator.co.za

Atrocious Safety Health Awareness

Atrocious Safety Health Awareness Drives Confusion and Mis-Information in Health and Safety

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Huge Reputational Risk for Companies in Metals and Engineering Sector

Protection of employees from occupational injuries and illness is one of the most underrated aspects in corporate governance and ethics. Despite some impressive examples of effective health safety systems, some medium-sized and smaller companies exist in a state of confusion and hear-say when it comes to health and safety, hence they struggle to protect their employees from workplace risk exposures.

According to national occupational injuries and fatalities statistics, the metals and engineering sector has the second highest number of fatalities in the country. Although SEIFSA keeps its membership informed on occupational health and safety requirements, our efforts are limited to members of our Associations.  To this end, says SEIFSA Safety, Health, Environment and Quality Executive Nonhlalo Mphofu, a comprehensive and integrated education campaign is needed urgently.

A reactive approach to health and safety is the major cause of high occupational accident rates. Mphofu likens this approach to fighting fires in the wind. When fatalities occur, the lives of their loved ones are irreparably damaged –  all because businesses treat safety as a “common sense” issue, and not as something that needs to be scientifically practised every day and implemented proactively and consistently by everyone.

Some organisations emphasize “transactional safety”, such as wearing proper footwear and personal protective clothing (PPE), and heeding workplace signs and notices. However, our tolerance levels for occupation health and safety (OHS) risks that could make a difference in the lives of individuals and families are high.  In order to provide minimal protection for employees, it is absolutely necessary to understand the legal framework applicable to workplace risks. This includes the Occupational Health and Safety Act,  the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) and even the Road Accident Fund, in some unique instances.

Atrocious Safety Health Awareness

There are many incidents that fly under the radar because the capacity in the Department of Labour’s inspectorate in South Africa is inadequate. The weak inspection and enforcement system has worsened complacency owing to less fear of consequences.  Following media coverage of the recent fire at the Bank of Lisbon Building in Johannesburg recently, Mphofu was shocked to note what so-called safety experts had to say about the incident afterwards. She summarised the narrative into three points:

  1. There was a general lack of knowledge about the legal obligations of role players within the workplace;
  2. Very few people had an informed view of the health and safety representatives and health and safety committees in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
  3. Hardly anyone referred to fire safety requirements in terms of the City of Johannesburg’s Emergency Services By-laws.

In light of the negative impact of workplace accidents on productivity and the bottom line, it is crucial for companies to view health and safety compliance as a value add rather than a mere cost centre. Zero tolerance to occupational injuries and illness must be the over-arching theme for any health and safety culture.

Below Are 10 Questions to Evaluate your OHS Performance:

  1. Has applicable OHS legislation, including municipal bye-laws, been identified and made available for reference?
  2. Have workplace hazards and risks been identified and are they regularly reviewed?
  3. Have measures to mitigate risks been established, and are those measures monitored for effectiveness?
  4. Are health and safety committee meetings being held regularly and are records of recommendations maintained?
  5. Has relevant health and safety training been provided to employees, supervisors, managers, health and safety representatives, health and safety committees, 16.2 Appointees, First Aiders and Fire Fighters?
  6. Are Planned Job Observations performed as reasonably required?
  7. Are near-misses recorded and investigated?
  8. Are emergency procedures in place and drills regularly performed?
  9. Are accident reporting procedures in place and in line with the OHS Act and COID Act?
  10. Do you conduct internal annual compliance audits?

Failure to comply with the requirements of either the OHS Act or COID Act can result in fines, penalties and imprisonment.

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of health and safety systems, organisations must not only investigate accidents involving injury, illness or loss of life, but also seriously investigate all near-misses and nearhits. According to the Frank Bird’s triangle, by the time a fatality occurs, there would have been 600 near misses (that is 600 opportunities to prevent that fatality)

In order to embrace risk-based thinking, near-misses must be seen as opportunities for improvement through mapping out and implemented preventive measures. Top management must monitor such reporting systems and prevent them from deteriorating into witch-hunts or name-and-blame situations.  To this end, organisations must have policies to protect employees who report incidents and near-misses from victimization by fellow employees or line managers.

The SEIFSA SHEQ Division offers various support to industry though general consultancy on workplace health and safety matters and Occupational Health and Safety systems (ISO 45001: 2018) development. Further to that, we also offer the following training and workshops to keep our audiences knowledgeable and compliance ready:

A Third Consecutive Decrease

A third consecutive decrease in broader manufacturing production reflects a generally difficult business environment amid persistently low domestic demand, says SEIFSA

By | EC Latest News, Featured, Latest News, Press Releases | No Comments

Johannesburg, 8 November 2018 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) today laments a third consecutive decrease in output of the broader manufacturing sector –  including its diverse metals and engineering (M&E) cluster of industries –  for September 2018, underpinned by a difficult operating environment and a worryingly low domestic demand.

Speaking after the release of manufacturing production figures by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today, SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said the manufacturing sector has generally been facing headwinds since the start of the year, characterised by declining business and consumer confidence.

“Although production data in the sector is still positively trending, the data has consistently declined from July 2018. Moreover, corresponding increases in fuel prices, a weaker rand and higher prices of both intermediate and final input have increased operational costs, also depleting existing margins,” said Dr Ade.

He said the output performance in September, which officially closes off quarter three of 2018, is perturbing, especially considering that domestic demand is generally subdued as a result of the economic recession and a volatile exchange rate. He said it was clear from the data that the positive sentiments following  the stimulus plan recently outlined by President Cyril Ramaphosa has yet to filter through to the manufacturing sector and the  M&E cluster.

“Consequently, the general contribution of the sector to the Gross Domestic Product in quarter three will be lower than expected, especially considering that the benefits from outlined stimulus interventions will only become effective with a lag,” said Dr Ade

The latest preliminary seasonally-adjusted data capture a decrease in production in the broader manufacturing sector in September 2018 when compared with August 2018. On a continuous three-monthly basis, output in the manufacturing sector decreased consecutively from 2,7% in July 2018, to 1,5% in August 2018  and 0,1% in September 2018.

Dr Ade said the poor performance in September 2018 was expected, following the recent release of deteriorating data for the purchasing managers’ index (PMI), which dipped to almost a decade low of 42,4 index points. The composite ABSA manufacturing PMI data for October effectively signalled a fourth successive decrease from July, further trending away from the 50-point benchmark level which separates expansion from contraction in business activity, thus triggering new concerns about the state of the economy.

“SEIFSA encourages businesses to stay resilient in the face of the current adversity characterised by volatile production, high unemployment levels, a trade deficit and subdued domestic demand, as policy makers implement measures to help the economy navigate the trough,” Dr Ade concluded.

Ends

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.seifsa.co.za

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