The Gibela Rail Transport Consortium train manufacturing facility at Dunnottar in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng, achieved 500 000 LTI-free (lost time free) injuries late last year. This is largely due to the expert health and safety advice provided to the client and contractor pool by AECOM.
AECOM initially won the bid to design, procure and manage the construction and commissioning of the Gibela facility as the main Engineering, Procurement & Construction Management (EPCM) consultant.
“A critical area of our scope of work was to inculcate a common approach to safety management in order to ensure that the client’s performance expectations were met,” comments AECOM’s Cara-Mia Keyser, Environment, Health & Safety Manager for Buildings & Places in Africa.
She adds that building a common approach to the project’s safety management through partnership and engagement was critical in achieving the 500 000 LTI-free hours.
Key challenges in this regard were the project’s size, and its focus on supporting local enterprise and supplier development. “This drove our approach to addressing environmental, health and safety challenges through partnerships and engagements,” Keyser elaborates.
In conjunction with Gibela, AECOM conducted a series of kick-off meetings and extensive workshops to assist new contractors in coming to grips with the stringent project’s environmental, health and safety requirements.
“These meetings and workshops initiated an engagement process aimed at supporting all contractors by providing them with the knowledge and vision to contribute to achieving safety excellence. This resulted in related events to assist in fostering a shared commitment to safety,” Keyser reiterates.
Toolbox Talks are informal discussions between team members on specific environmental, health, and safety issues. “This provided a major support in strengthening the project’s safety culture. No matter what their role on the project, all team members were encouraged to voice their opinions and recommendations,” Keyser notes.
Located near Johannesburg, the 50 000 m2 manufacturing facility is under construction by eight principal contractors, each with their individual work packages. Gibela itself is a consortium aiming to deliver 580 trains comprising 3 480 coaches to revitalise rail transportation in South Africa. About 1500 people will be employed at the manufacturing facility.
“AECOM has implemented programmes to ensure that the high environmental, health and safety standards as set by Gibela are achieved. We took a hands-on approach to contractor management in order to ensure that performance expectations were met,” Keyser concludes.
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