Setting the standards: EBH Namibia boosts safety, customer loyalty and brand value through ISO and OHSAS compliance
Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia is fast progressing towards its stated vision of being ‘the preferred shipyard globally’. Pivotal to the company’s growing reputation for world-class systems and facilities is its adherence to international quality and safety standards, using ISO and OHSAS systems as its benchmarks.
Following its achievement of the ISO 9001:2008 certification for quality management systems in November 2014, EBH Namibia is now focusing on enhancing its occupational health and safety systems, thereby fostering a company-wide culture of quality, health, safety and environment (QHSE) maturity.
“The ISO 9001 certification is an intense process, and we were thrilled to have met, and exceeded, the requirements of the standard. In addition, our quality management systems were successfully audited and endorsed by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS). Our 2015 business strategy now places safety systems at the top of the agenda in line with international OHSAS 18001 standards,” says Tim Kolisi, QHSSE (Quality, Health, Safety Security and Environment) Manager at EBH Namibia.
Having begun the reviewing and training processes, the company is on track to achieve its OHSAS certification by the end of August 2015.
“There are multiple benefits of ISO and OHSAS benchmarking. These include promoting customer confidence in our processes as an international shipyard, and helping to build our brand internally by reinforcing a culture of quality and safety in every aspect of the business. Operationally, the positive impacts include a reduction in accidents and incidents and improving cost efficiencies,” notes Kolisi.
Attaining certified and audited safety systems is a ‘non-negotiable’ for any company wanting to compete in a global business environment. To this end, EBH Namibia has contracted the services of a dedicated safety officer – Warrick Williams, who has joined the company as HSSE (Health, Safety, Security and Environment) Superintendent. Williams feels strongly about safety and the wide impact that a company’s operations can have on the immediate environment.
“EBH Namibia has a moral and legal duty to ensure the health and safety not only its employees and the environment, but of the wider community whose health and safety may be affected by our operations,” says Williams.
He believes that attaining the OHSAS 18001 certification will put the company in a much stronger position in responding proactively in the future to any potentially adverse trends or incidents, and managing health and safety risks effectively.
“Adhering to OHSAS 18001 standards is an effective means of reducing sickness, absence and staff turnover, and boosting morale. Another benefit is that it identifies and addresses skills shortages and competence issues, leading to fewer accidents or avoidable incidents on site. It ensures that an organisation manages risk properly, which can prevent unexpected costs for injury claims or disaster recovery. This in turn leads to a substantial reduction in insurance premiums,” says Williams.
Formalising and standardising an approach to health and safety goes a long way towards competitive advantage and improving an organisation’s ‘bottom line’, agrees Kolisi.
“A reduction in lost time injuries reduces operating costs and reworks, and boosts profitability. OHSAS 18001 boosts a company’s brand reputation and enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty,” he says.
When a company attains the OHSAS 18001 certification, the work does not stop there, however. Kolisi explains that both internal and external audits will take place on an ongoing basis. In addition, ongoing metrics and monitoring include management reviews, business improvement strategies, addressing internal and external non-conformance, and reviewing and addressing the EBH Namibia customer satisfaction index (CSI).
“OHSAS standards are being introduced to management and the rest of the workforce to ensure that the company is in alignment, while training will take place on an ongoing basis to ensure maintenance of standards.
We are very excited to be well on our way to achieving the OHSAS 18001 certification. It will demonstrate to our customers and stakeholders that we are a world-class organisation which is committed to the health and well-being of our people; and that we are living our values of customer commitment and continual improvement on a daily basis,” Kolisi concludes.