was successfully added to your cart.
A Third Consecutive Decrease

Persistent Rise in Inflation Is Worrying, Says SEIFSA

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

Johannesburg, 12 December 2018 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) is disappointed by the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) figures, which indicate that inflation increased further in November 2018, despite the  decision by the South African Reserve Bank to raise the repurchase rate by 25 basis point to 6,75% from 6,50% last month in an effort to  contain inflation within the mid-point of its 3-6 percent target band.

The CPI figures released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today indicate that the annual consumer price inflation increased to 5.2 percent in November 2018, from 5.1 percent in October 2018. On a month-on-month basis, the CPI increased by 0.2 percent in November 2018.

SEIFSA Economist Marique Kruger said given that the demand for the Metals and Engineering (M&E) cluster’s intermediate products is a derived one based on consumer spending, the persistent rise in inflation is cause for concern.

However, Ms Kruger said the increase in the CPI was expected going into the festive season, underpinned by a seasonal pattern of higher consumer spending, galloping November fuel prices and a generally upward-trending Producer Price Index (PPI) for both the intermediate and final manufactured goods. The concern is that the increasing trend in inflation is likely to continue in the near term, compelling consumers to cut back on spending for final manufactured goods which warrant the use of intermediate manufactured products of the M&E cluster of industries as inputs.

“The latest inflation data is disappointing and does not augur well for businesses in the M&E cluster of industries and the broader manufacturing sector. The concern is that companies will continue to face headwinds, including higher interest rates, operational expenses and inflationary intermediate inputs costs,” Ms Kruger said.

In addition, she said it was worrying that the PPI data to be released tomorrow is likely to maintain its upward pressure on inflation.

SEIFSA closely monitors the release of both the CPI and PPI data for final and intermediate manufactured goods, amongst other indicators of its price and index pages (PIPS), due to their importance to the M&E sector. Both indices are used by companies in the secto in financial decision-making processes towards costs mitigation r through, for instance, Contract Price Adjustment processes.

In conclusion, Ms Kruger said despite the difficult operating environment, companies should capitalise on the prevailing signs of a silver lining to build on lower fuel prices for December and slowly improving domestic demand, reduce operational costs and positively boost margins and profit levels.

Issued by:

Ollie Madlala

Communications Manager

Tel: (011) 298 9411 / 082 602 1725

Email: ollie@seifsa.co.za

Web: www.seifsa.co.za

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.

Improving M & E Production Is Encouraging, says SEIFSA

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

Johannesburg, 11 December 2018 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) welcomes the preliminary production data for the Metals and Engineering (M&E) cluster of industries released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) today.

“The data, which reflects an increase in output for October 2018, augurs well for both the cluster and the broader manufacturing sector,” the Federation’s Chief Economist, Michael Ade, said this afternoon.

After adjusting for the sectoral weights, the preliminary seasonally-adjusted production data for the M&E sector indicated that output improved to 11,9 percent on a year-on-year basis in October 2018, when compared to October 2017. The improved performance is in line with an increase in production in the broader manufacturing sector, which also increased by 3,0 percent year-on-year in October 2018, following comparatively positive but lower output levels recorded in September 2018 and August 2018 respectively.

On a month-on-month basis, the M&E sector also performed well, improving from 0,3 percent in September 2018 to 9,3 percent in October 2018. The sector’s improved monthly performance was mainly supported by higher output in the petroleum, chemicals, rubber and plastic products (1,8 percent) and the basic iron and steel, non-ferrous metal products, metal products and machinery (1,7 percent) sub-industries.

“Against the backdrop of a slowly improving economy, the improvement in production for the cluster is encouraging. Evidently, producers were able to take advantage of a brief strengthening of the rand to capitalise on the importation of cheaper intermediary inputs, leading to the best increase in manufacturing production since the start of the year,” Dr Ade said.

He said the sector’s performance also coincides with an improved pace of the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, which surprised on the upside during the third quarter of 2018, officially moving the domestic economy out of a technical recession and providing impetus for more output, investment and employment.

Dr Ade said it is very important that the sub-components of the M&E cluster continue to expand, given the need to continuously improve on overall job numbers in the broader manufacturing, which is still a cause for concern. The latest Quarterly Employment Statistics numbers released by Stats SA earlier today shows that manufacturing employment decreased by 0,6% or 7,000 jobs quarter on quarter in June 2018 to September 2018, despite the sector’s positive contribution to GDP growth in the same quarter.

Dr Ade said this highlights the need to maintain the output growth momentum towards better employment numbers.

Dr Ade said that he hoped that the encouraging increase in domestic growth will translate to higher demand for intermediate and final manufactured goods, which will invariably have a positive impact on production and employment within the manufacturing sector. He noted that, importantly, businesses are optimistic that the recent slowdown in fuel prices will also have a positive impact on companies’ logistics costs in the short term, thus enabling an up-tick in business activity to the expansionary zone.

“These dynamics are encouraging and SEIFSA is optimistic that the basis for a continuous improvement in output going into the new year now exists for businesses to leverage on, and further expand,” Dr Ade concluded.

Ends

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 corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.

 

 

SEIFSA Press Release Jar with coins

SEIFSA Welcomes SA’s Exit From Recession And Urges Businesses To Capitalise On Improving Demand In Order To Expand

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

Johannesburg, 4 December 2018 – The Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) welcomes South Africa’s official exit from a technical recession in the third quarter of 2018, and urges businesses to capitalise on improving local demand in order to expand.

South Africa’s real GDP increased by 2,2% in the third quarter of 2018, following a revised seasonally-adjusted 0,4% quarter-on-quarter (q/q) decrease recorded in quarter two of 2018. The broader manufacturing sector’s performance was equally encouraging, with the sector significantly contributing to growth in GDP in the third quarter.

Speaking after today’s release of GDP numbers, SEIFSA Chief Economist Michael Ade said the biggest concern often raised by stakeholders in the broader manufacturing sector as a stumbling block to expansion, profit and job creation is that of stagnant or poor demand. Dr Ade said although other documented constraints still prevail, the overriding challenge is that of lack of demand, with poor local demand often cited by businesses as the main reason for their increasingly turning to regional African and global markets for sales, despite the additional logistic costs involved.

“The improvement in GDP growth is, therefore, encouraging as it provides a platform for local businesses to be inward looking, against the backdrop of an improved demand for their intermediate and finished products,” Dr Ade said.

However, he warned that although South Africa has officially exited the recession, challenges still prevail. Although the improvement in growth signals a step in the right direction, the economy and businesses are still under duress characterised by high intermediate and operational costs, poor ratings from Fitch and S&P (which still rate South Africa’s debt at sub-investment grade or junk status), vulnerability to investor sentiments and poor business and consumer confidence.

He said much work still needs to be done to revive a stuttering South African economy and support industrial growth and expansion. For this to happen, Dr Ade said urgent intervention is needed to prevent the recent electricity blackouts from spiraling out of control as the ripple effect from load shedding will inevitably place businesses under duress, discourage investment and impact negatively on company output and economic growth. Accordingly, the Government needs to continue with identified reforms in beleaguered State-owned enterprises (SOEs), while also containing high debt levels.

“The SOEs and municipalities, through their designation for localisation imperatives, are important parts of a kaleidoscope of end-users which are very key to the survival of the manufacturing sector, including its diverse metals and engineering cluster of industries. Therefore, the SOEs and municipalities need to be in good shape in order to continuously sustain positive GDP growth projections and demand levels and boost expansion in industrial production,” Dr Ade said.

He added that the support of these institutions is important for continuous improvement in manufacturing, especially considering that manufacturing is amongst the sectors which contributed positively to the lift in third-quarter GDP growth momentum.

Dr Ade said although the manufacturing sector seems to be slowly regaining its influence, underpinned by repeated recording of positive monthly output figures since April 2018, it still needs more support.

Going into the new year, Dr Ade said some signs of green shoots which are necessary to kickstart the economy are evident for businesses to capitalise on and move to the next level of growth. He observed that the weak rand-to-dollar exchange rate which presented the biggest challenge to businesses in the manufacturing sector has strengthened, fuel prices have temporarily slowed (with a possible breather on logistic costs), and the PMI rebounded to 49,5 index points in November, representing the first increase after three consecutive months of declines and the best performance  since July 2018.

“Above all, domestic demand – which is the most important and sustainable driver of growth for the manufacturing sector, irrespective of Government incentives or protectionism – has improved and stakeholders are very hopeful,” he said.

In conclusion, Dr Ade said SEIFSA is also hopeful about constant improvement in GDP growth, but re-iterates the need for more swiftness in policy implementation and consistency in monitoring and evaluation of relevant interventions in order to maintain the positive growth trajectory.

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 corporations to micro-enterprises employing fewer than 50 people.
Business Stability

SEIFSA Encouraged By Improvement In Broader Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index

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

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.

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

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

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.

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

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

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.
A Third Consecutive Decrease

SEIFSA Concerned About Increase in Inflation Rate

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

Johannesburg, 21 November 2018 – The increase in the official inflation number released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) today does not bode well for hard-pressed businesses in the Metals and Engineering (M&E) cluster, which continue to face headwinds amid low levels of domestic demand, a generally weaker exchange rate and increasing operational expenses, the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa (SEIFSA) said today.

According to the StatsSA data, the annual Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) increased to 5.1 percent in October 2018, from 4.9 percent in September 2018. The index also registered an increase of 0.5 percent on a month-on-month basis in October 2018.

“An inflationary environment will definitely add to the pressure that local businesses are facing, given its direct impact on consumer demand for goods. Moreover, the generally high petrol price invariably adds to businesses’ logistics costs, and this, in turn, negatively impacts on the cost of doing business. The increase in inflationary pressure is a huge challenge for companies trying to improve on operational efficiency and margins,” SEIFSA Economist Marique Kruger said.

She added that with the official inflation data now trending even closer to the upper band of the South African Reserve inflation target of 3% to 6%, SARB Monetary Policy Committee members find themselves in a difficult position when they meet tomorrow.

“The decision on whether or not to continue with an accommodative monetary policy stance will be a fiercely contested one, given the official mandate of the SARB to contain inflation from galloping away,” said Ms Kruger.

She said that given the current state of the economy, leaving the repo rate unchanged will help in reducing borrowing costs, thereby providing impetus for a rebound in domestic growth.

SEIFSA is a National Federation representing 23 independent employer. Asociations 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

By | Featured, Latest News | No Comments

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

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

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 Mpofu, 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. Mpofu 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 (PPC), 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, Mpofu 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 Bylaws.

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

[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]