Safe and Sound Site

(How the Cement Industry Ensures the Safety of Plant Workers)

Donald, a cement plant worker, recounts the story of his accident to his young daughter. One day, his co-worker Harry gives him a short lesson on safety signs in the cement plant and their importance to achieving zero accidents in the workplace. Satisfied with what he learned, Donald goes back to his work station.

Later on, he takes a quick smoke break, ignoring the “No Smoking” sign posted on the wall behind him. After lighting a cigarette, he throws the match on the floor and causes a small fire. In a bout of panic, Donald boards a forklift to call for help. Driving crazily, he knocks down the “No Entry” sign on the road, hits the wall and ends up in the hospital. The moral of the story, he tells his daughter, is that “The company’s safety signs are very important, but they can only be effective if everyone follows them.”

 

LAFARGE COMICS — A comic book on zero accidents and safety signs was produced by Lafarge Associated Companies in the Philippines for its employees. The full-color and easy-to-understand comic book series is one way by which the company educates its plant workers that safety is not just a policy, but also a way of life. (Click image to enlarge)

 

Donald is a character straight out of a comic book on zero accidents and safety signs. Produced by Lafarge Associated Companies in the Philippines for its employees, the full-color and easy-to-understand comic book series is one way by which the company educates its plant workers that safety is not just a policy, but also a way of life. Other health and safety programs include seminars, the provision of Personal Protective Equipment such as safety goggles, heavy-duty gloves, hard hats and boots, as well as the sharing of safety values with contractors, suppliers, and guests.

 

“Ensuring the health and safety of cement plant workers is among the industry’s key priorities. Cement companies enforce strict self-regulation to guarantee that employees are protected against incidents in and out of the plant,” said Dr. Edilberto L. Tadulan, chair of the Cement Manufacturers’ Association of the Philippines’ (CeMAP) Sustainable Development Committee and occupational health and safety coordinator of Holcim Philippines.

He added that “the majority of CeMAP member companies have received the highly-prized international certification OHSAS 18001 for the Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series which is designed to ensure the safety of all workers in offices and manufacturing plants.”

Most of the companies also have reaped many an award for their health and safety practices. Holcim Philippines received four major Philippine Mine Safety and Environment Association awards in 2005. Republic Cement Corporation, a Lafarge Associated Company, was named the Safest Cement Plant in the Philippines, while CEMEX Philippines’ APO Cement Corporation was named the Safest Mineral Processing Operation in the Annual Mine Safety and Environment Conference for 2005 in the Annual Mine Safety and Environment Conference.

Proving its commitment to safety, CEMEX Philippines’ APO Cement Corporation in Naga, Cebu also has achieved four years or 1,460 days no lost time accident last month. This demonstrates the company’s strict adherence to its safety policy which covers its personnel, community, as well as the environment. Sustaining a culture of environmental awareness, health and safety is a continuous effort shown by using the most effective equipment and systems, and conducting training programs for employees and contractors.

“Cement companies really invest on the health and safety of employees. In Holcim, we conduct safety orientations every quarter. Employees and contractors are required to attend these seminars and be insured. Otherwise, we won’t give them renewal stickers, and the guards won’t allow them to enter the premises,” said Ricardo Santos, Jr., Holcim Philippines health and safety officer in its Bulacan plant.

The company also implements the “Deputized Safety Officer of the Day” program to enable its employees to take turns in reminding their co-workers about safety habits. Counseling is another key program. “An employee who violates safety policies undergoes counseling on what went wrong and what should be done to prevent more violations. We want employees to realize that the policies are for his own good,” Santos shared.

For Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc., health and safety equates to efficiency, productivity and social responsibility. “We are happy to report that we continue to gain favorable results in our continued effort to manage hazards and risks related to the workplace,” TCPI Environment and Safety Manager Nilo Yap said.

Globally benchmarked, the Philippine cement industry, which provides jobs to 3,266 direct workers, and over 11,000 indirect employees and contractors, continues to uphold the highest standards for safety on site. CeMAP members include Northern Cement, Pacific Cement Philippines, Inc., Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc., CEMEX Philippines, Holcim Philippines, and Lafarge Associated Companies in the Philippines.

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