Nigerite, a foremost building solutions company in Nigeria, rolled out drums last week to celebrate a year of accident-free operations in its plants and facilities.
It is the first time in the history of the company, which started operations in Nigeria in 1959, for them not to have a single accident, and this was a thing of joy and satisfaction among the company’s staff and management.
According to the Chief Operating Officer of Nigerite, Mr. Bart Verlinden, zero accident in the company’s operations in a year “is a very big achievement,” and that they needed to sustain it. “I am confident we can, because safety is our responsibility towards the workers, towards the community, and also to our shareholders and to ourselves.”
On what could possibly cause accidents in the company’s operations, Verlinden said, “You know Nigerite is a very industrialised company; we are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, heavy machinery is dangerous machinery. The risk is always present but to minimize the risks is the reason to take all these precautions.”
He said there are technical precautions and management of the people/workers to ensure that they can do their jobs in a very comfortable way without stress that can cause accidents.
He said operations and safety were inseparable, explaining that they cannot be achieved alone because it is a combination of everything. “If we do any investment, then it has to be safe.”
The management, he said has a task to sustain the zero accident status through commitment by training, guiding them, giving them a plus and take actions when it is necessary. “It is to motivate people and to put structural systems in place, technology, systems which training, among others; motivation of the people; by leading by example in any way and by continuing walking round to see what the people are doing in terms of safety.”
The Manager, Quality, Safety, Health and Environment, Mr. John Bamigboye said gave statistics of operational accidents, stating that since he joined the company it had never recorded a whole year of accident-free operations.
He said the equipment in Nigerite are sophisticated and that they are dangerous but useful for production. “Men can reduce or eliminate hazards in the operations of the machines.”
Bamigboye said they were able to achieve zero accident status because he had an action plan, which the management endorsed for implementation.
The management of Nigerite now has a greater role to play in sustaining the zero accident status they have achieved, said the Chairman of the Senior Staff Association, Mr. Segun David.
“The safety enjoyed in the company is as a result of what management has been able to do. It shows that if management can maintain peace among the workers, then there wouldn’t be accidents; if management can take time to cultivate the workers, accidents will be a thing of the past. One of the key things for having accident-free period is motivation, if the people are well-motivated, everybody will deliberately stay away from accident. So, management must put aside all policies that can heat-up the system or cause tension.”
The Union at Nigerite known as the NUCRFLANMPE branch thanked the management and described as wonderful the one year accident-free period in the company.
Represented by Comrade Latif, the Branch Chairman, Comrade Daramola T.O said, “This achievement wouldn’t have been possible without team work, we once again congratulate everybody in Nigerite that made this achievable, let’s continue in such spirit for continuity of many years of celebration of this kind.”
The Union advised everybody that “safety rules are no respecter of anybody; therefore it is mandatory we follow the rules to letter for our own good and for the image of the company. We are advising every member of staff and all affiliates to play by the rules of the game by putting on your PPE fully, Practice LOTOTO every time and report any act or situation that may result into accident for prompt action.
Then, any unsafe act should be discouraged. Avoid using Nigerite premises as a testing ground for driving, while trailer drivers should keep their keys away from motor boys who are not professionals in driving.
“Driving via unprofessional proxies within the premises should be discouraged to avoid breaking the second journey towards attaining second year accident free celebration like this.”
In a goodwill message, the Secretary, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria, Lagos State branch, Mr. Harold Echendu lauded the management of Nigerite.
The Institute’s concern, he said was for people to go to work and return without accidents or deaths and that they were eager to collaborate with any organisation to ensure that workers do not suffer any injury at work or anywhere else. Echendu then advised the workers to be safety-conscious always.