Conco Ltd, Swaziland, is Coca-Cola’s largest African manufacturing plant producing and supplying soft drink concentrate to over 60 bottling companies across 20 African countries.
In 2017, Conco identified the need to train their staff on very specific health and safety concepts. The training was to be delivered to their diverse groups of staff including Managers, Safety Representatives, Engineers and entry level workers. More than 150 delegates were trained at Conco’s Matsapha plant over a 3 week period, using a mixture of classroom based training and practical programs, such as site walks and hazard spotting.
Conco required foundation-level health and safety training for its staff to correspond with a wider corporate health and safety improvement programme. They commissioned Astutis to design a program with the aim to:
- Raise awareness of the importance of safety across the workforce.
- Empower managers to be able to take steps to manage health and safety effectively.
- Increase understanding of legal compliance and ensure that legal compliance is maintained.
- Offer employees an understanding of legislative requirements for good health and safety arrangements,
- with an understanding of the legal breach consequences of deviating from company practices.
- Reinforce local standards for operational compliance.
With such a diverse workforce, it was essential that the training was suitable for the different levels of knowledge amongst the groups. The language used in the course materials was to be easily understood and relatable, using simple terms as near to business operations as possible, and had to include local legislation.
Astutis assigned tutor Roger Georgeson-Gunn to develop and deliver the training. Roger has over 20 years’ experience within the African market, making him well suited to develop engaging courses that resonated with the delegates as well as include references to local legislation where applicable.
A total of 4 courses were developed aimed at each of the defined training groups:
Safety for Representatives
The ‘Safety for Representatives’ course was designed to train safety representatives to make sure that their actions in the workplace contribute to health and safety, and that they clearly understand their health and safety responsibilities. The course covered how to identify and control risks, improving safety performance, and the roles and functions of safety representatives (SR); representatives of employee safety (RoES); and safety committees.
Managing Safely was developed based on the internationally recognised IOSH Managing Safely course. It aimed to provide Managers an understanding of their health and safety responsibilities and how they contribute to the workplace. Delegates learnt the moral and legal responsibilities of Managers and the techniques for identifying and controlling risk in the workplace.
Plant Safety Awareness
Two plant safety awareness courses were developed based on the level of the attendees. A 1 day course gave entry level workers a basic understanding of safe working techniques around a topics such as electricity, ergonomics, hearing loss prevention and manual handling.
A 3 day course was developed to provide engineers an understanding of health and safety practice within industry specific areas, including confined spaces, fall protection, Hazard and Operability (HAZOP), Job Hazard Analyis, Legionella and Machinery safety.
Two teams of engineering staff, one team of management-level staff, 28 safety representatives, and a further 100 general workers were trained over 3 weeks.
The training consisted of classroom training using videos, handouts and group exercises to engage learners. Subject manuals were provided to each delegate containing homework exercises to help consolidate learning and prepare for the next session.
To help with understanding, learners took part in small walkabouts of Conco’s premises, as well as some nearby premises, to identify hazards and see first-hand how the topics covered in the classroom can be transferred into the everyday working environment. They were also useful in generating discussion, exploring new ideas and spotting key failures of contractors.
During the walkabouts, a scribe was allocated to capture the key findings for learners to use to complete a management report – a variety of potential legal breaches were identified, including those relating to the installation of fire extinguishers, eye wash facilities, machine calibration, stacking limits, storing of chemicals and speed limits for forklifts. Information on local standards were provided for management to reference and understand the impact of the legal breach. Roger was also able to use the identified walkabout deficiencies into the classroom sessions and adapt the exercises accordingly, which proved invaluable.
Management being exposed to potential legal breaches further brought home the necessity of addressing key issues with the goal of compliance, as well as establishing a workplace that was both safe and healthy for all staff members.
Post-training, the management immediately set about rectifying procedures and any supporting documentation to ensure legal compliance in a proactive manner, demonstrating learning, responsibility and accountability.
Conco Ltd has also arranged for a Legal Compliance audit to be conducted on a regular basis - a requirement within the current OHSAS 18001 Health and Safety Standard – Clause 4.52 Evaluation of Compliance.
General Manager at Conco Ltd said:
“This is the first time management have stayed on a multi-day course for its duration. Due to the power of knowledge gained from the big walkabout, the class become alive and discussions were meaningful and even personal with questions such as “How can I improve in my work area?”, “What does this do for me in becoming legally compliant?” and “How do I become legally complaint?” being asked. The training was interesting and varied which made for a participative learning environment, which is, in itself a successful learning experience. We are very pleased with the results of the training which has resulted in the implementation of good practices.”
Project Consultant and Trainer for Astutis, Roger Georgeson-Gunn commented:
“Top Management were impressed at the results of the training undertaken which was meaningful and usable in the workplace and led to the implementation of good practices. Relatability was key to the development and delivery of training here to ensure that lessons learned could be implemented in the most efficient manner possible.
I enjoyed working with such diverse groups which translated in a greater understanding of health and safety practices across-the-board and made for a tailored learning experience. The fact that Conco Ltd is looking at implanting such training across all its African plants speaks volumes. Taking the time to understand a client’s needs and providing short, informative and knowledgeable programmes, presented in an active and involved manner has helped to achieve great results.”