Passion for safety pays off: Dekra Industrial achieves its 9th consecutive NOSCAR Award with highest-ever score

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Dekra Industrial SA has clinched its 9th annual NOSCAR safety award – and achieved its highest-ever score as a recipient of the greatest safety honour from the National Occupational Safety Association (NOSA).

L-R: Johan Gerber Managing Director, Carina Kleinhans Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) Manager and Eddie van Hansen, General manager at DEKRA Industrial SA with the company’s 9th annual NOSCAR award.

However, for Dekra Industrial Managing Director, Johan Gerber, and Dekra Industrial’s Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) Manager, Carina Kleinhans, there would be no safety without people.

 “We entrench a safety culture both within and outside the workplace in line with our global company Dekra’s stated intention to be a global partner for a safe and sustainable world by 2025. This means safety is an integral and inherent part of our DNA, and always a key priority,” explains Gerber.

Kleinhans agrees: “This is a very noteworthy achievement and, to be the recipient of this for the 9th consecutive year, speaks volumes about who we are and what we aspire to be as a company.”  

Safety in numbers

The award is only conferred after an extremely rigorous verification audit. Scores need to be above 95%, with a disabling accident frequency rate of less than 0.8%, no fatal accidents, no occupational health issues and no major environmental incidents.

Kleinhans says Dekra has improved its score consistently from 92.26 in 2014 to 97.61 in 2023. This fact alone demonstrates that the auditor’s recommendations have been consistently implemented by Dekra for 9 years.

For his part, Gerber is very proud that Dekra Industrial SA has emerged as a top performer within the well-established international Group, which has an impressive 98-year track record.  

“Dekra in other parts of the world tends to focus on single industry vertical sectors such as the automotive industry; while locally, Dekra Industrial performs non-destructive testing (NDT) and inspection services for an extremely diverse range of industries: literally, from mines to a nuclear facility and many more. Hence, the company’s systems and records cover a far wider range of environments, regulations and requirements. Complying with South Africa’s strict OSH Act also sets the bar even higher,” he notes.

No safety without people

Kleinhans concurs, adding that Dekra Industrial is committed to safety from management level right through to each team member in every branch across South Africa. Furthermore, management has an open-door policy, and employees are asked to recognise the achievements of their colleagues by nominating them as monthly safety ambassadors.

These ambassadors not only prioritise safety for themselves but ensure that others follow suit. By recognising safety ambassadors via wall posters – as well as certificates and commendations –  employees are motivated to continue prioritising safety, and even to report near misses to ensure that serious accidents do not happen.

“They truly are each other’s keepers,” she says of a workforce which is proud of their ingrained safety culture.

“It is important for our employees to be able to say that they work for a company that has received this 9th NOSCAR safety award. The same goes for our clients. This speaks to our safety consistency – and proves that we walk the talk,” she enthuses.

She adds that Dekra Industrial’s achievements – also reflected in awards presented by clients in the power generation and petrochemical industries for excellent work on individual sites – reflect that clients can be confident that they are working with a service provider which not only upholds a culture of safety itself, but which is a safety role model for the whole of industry.

Safety and accountability: closing the circle

Kleinhans believes accountability is also important: “For example, I am accountable should I not notice that a planned task observation by a supervisor is not done; or that waste disposal is not carried out using a landfill management company which complies with environmental legislation.

From the moment we open a can until the moment it goes into a landfill, I need to prove that all rules and regulations are adhered to – and that I leave behind a future for all our children. If I cannot, then that is regarded as a non-conformance. I need to be able to prove that my circle is closed,” she explains.

The same goes for health, which requires a far more holistic approach than in the past, and no longer simply means sending employees for annual medical checks, but also extends to ensuring that employees are physically healthy and mentally well.  

Safety training

DEKRA Industrial’s commitment to occupational health safety extends not only to training its employees but providing safety-related training to companies operating across a broad spectrum of industries via its division the DEKRA Institute of Learning (IOL).

The IOL is one of only two training institutions in Gauteng to have received accreditation from the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) as a designated assessment centre for its Health and Safety Practitioner course.

Christopher Morsner, Head of Training at Dekra IOL, says this was a strategic move in tandem with an overall national increase in focus on health and safety throughout  industry: “At Dekra IOL, we are the industry’s partner for occupational health and safety, skills and education: from the office to the shopfloor and more. As such, we focus on developing the occupational competency of employees across all levels in an organisation.”

Morsner says that there are plans underway which will ultimately see the IOL accredited as an assessment centre for the other 39 qualifications and 12 skills programmes within the adult-based education sector.

Profiting from safety

Gerber notes that another spin-off from an entrenched culture of safety is the fact that those Dekra Industrial teams which are safety conscious are also the most profitable. For example, those servicing the petrochemical and power generation sector – which have particularly strict safety requirements – are the top performers.

“If you are committed to safety, then you are committed to self-discipline, doing your job well implementing and being compliant with company rules – and delivering quality. Safety is the easiest thing on which to compromise – however, if you are vigilant here, you will be vigilant when it comes to everything else. This is certainly the case with our team at Dekra Industrial, and I want to sincerely thank Carina and her team for ensuring that we remain firmly on track as the ‘heroes of safety’ which we always aspire to be,” he concludes.

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