In this week’s edition of the Employee Spotlight, we will be featuring our Site Manager – Daniel Nyange as he gives us an in-depth look into SHE. Daniel has been site manager at AIF for over 3 years after stints working for organizations such as The Tropical Heat Group, Unga Group, Unilever EA and SmithKline Beecham to mention a few. We had a brief chat with him as he shared his views on what SHE (Safety, Health and Environment) looks like here at AIF and its overall importance to the smooth running of operations at the plant.
What is SHE (Safety, Health, and Environment)?
SHE can be defined as a discipline that organizations use to make sure that their activities are harmless to their People, the Planet and hence their Profits. SHE implements practical aspects of environmental protection and safety at work. AIF sets audaciously bold aspirations in this regard.
SAFETY at work just means an injury-free workplace. Companies are duty-bound to ensure the wellness of their employees. AIF has deliberate procedures to identify workplace hazards, reduce accidents and exposure to harmful situations and substances.
The HEALTH aspect focuses on the physical and mental wellbeing of employees and in this regard, it complements the safety component of SHE with the aim of preventing work-related illnesses and injuries, this fosters a safe working environment especially with the use of ergonomics (studying how people work and how they could work better). Another key aspect of Health in the workplace is ensuring that the products we manufacture are safe for public consumption.
When it comes to preserving the ENVIRONMENT, AIF has Environmental management programs for Minimal environmental impact and compliance with environmental regulations. These include saving energy, water, and materials including reduction of waste and air emissions.
What policies has AIF put in place in order to be Safety compliant?
AIF boasts a diverse human capital with employees hailing from all corners of the globe. With a workforce comprised of 9 nationalities, we have one corporate culture that sets out to define our way of life under 6 core values and their attendant behaviors. These values speak to care and responsibility in all we do.
At its inception, AIF commissioned an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) that was followed by a Pre-Start up Safety Review (PSSR) before initiating operations. When it comes to SHE execution, we established a SHE committee that is chaired by the SHE manager, with monthly meetings guided by a SHE charter. We also hold a quarterly SHE review chaired by the Chief Operating Officer/ The Country Manager with the Site Manager and Quality Manager in attendance. Among its duties, the SHE committee is required to craft and execute an annual SHE plan.
AIF has put in place several safety policies that include SHE, alcohol & drug use policies, all employees are inducted to these policies and they receive a staff handbook that details the same. We have incorporated a new feature in our SHE program that makes the experience truly unique here at AIF. We have implemented the 12 Life Saving Rules (LSR) that are also available in Kinyarwanda. A notable example in this instance is the LOTOTO rule which stands for Locking Out, Tagging Out and Trying out equipment to ensure complete energy isolation for the safety of the operators or technicians during inspection/corrective maintenance.
For all emergencies, we have a response procedure that is put to the test every year via a series of emergency preparedness drills in addition to a site clinic run by a licensed nurse for first aid cases. We have trained and certified fire marshals and First aid providers for round the clock intervention. We are also in contact with the Kigali Economic zone (KSEZ) fire brigade, the King Faisal hospital and the Legacy hospital for emergency handling when the need arises. The AIF Site also has an automated fire engine locally branded ‘fire cube’ that is connected to all the fire hydrants around the site compatible also with the police / KSEZ system. The oxygen masks are designed to help in evacuation situations.
The weekly SHE tours capture observations that need immediate or planned attention. SHE awareness is also enhanced visually by signage and markings. When it comes to operations in the plant, we are guided by Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that include the use of protective clothing and ATEX zoning accompanied by elaborate smoke detection units, machinery safety e.g. Earthing and interlock systems and flame quench installations where size reduction takes place. All major works and projects are carried out following HAZOPS (Hazard and Operability Studies) and risk assessments known as Job hazards analyses (JHA). Work permits are also frequently used depending on the nature of a job or hazards. A repair job at height is assessed differently from a job to be carried out in confined spaces – where a four-eye principle is applied and oxygen measurement takes place for example.
We are always on the lookout for new ways to improve our systems with training used as a way to keep our team sharp and ever ready. With the use of leading measurements (LWC, RWC, FA, and Near Miss) and some lagging indices we are able to keep improving through reporting and root cause analysis.
Has AIF incorporated any environment-friendly additions to its processes?
Since we believe that you can only control that which you measure, we conduct full measurement and monitoring of all aspects of the site; air, water, soil, noise and temperature. We have incorporated the use of LPG for steam generation, this will reduce our greenhouse gas emission by 8% compared to diesel use with CO2 coming down by 300T at 45KT production. With the use of the HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter technology we have also cut dust emission.
All of these measures are complemented by our adherence to the highest safety standards and rules including the safe design, emergency response, ATEX zoning and mandatory wear of personal protective equipment for all employees in the plant.
COVID-19 has become a reality for every organization, what measures has AIF put in place to keep its employees safe?
When it comes to being COVID-19 compliant, every measure we have put in place hinges on the safety directives shared by the Government. The first thing we did was set up hand-washing and sanitation stations with temperature measurement at all AIF entry points. These measures are mandatory for anyone entering the premises. When it comes to social distancing, a minimum 1.5m is maintained between workers, in instances where this cannot be done (e.g. in the staff vans or during corrective maintenance) face masks are mandatory and with regards to the staff vans, interior surfaces are sanitized after each trip. We have also split our staff in A and B shifts that alternate weekly in order to further intensify our social distancing measures and to reduce the exposure risk / impact should there be a case. On-line meetings are encouraged to avoid big meetings in enclosed spaces.
Employees with special health conditions including pregnancy, chronic diseases, respiratory diseases or flu symptoms are required to work from home on a full-time basis during this period.
Business travel by air has also been put on hold until further notice to better protect our staff. We hold regular campaigns / training to further educate our staff on COVID-19, its symptoms and prevention. Our nurse – Denyse and Albert our Security manager have been exemplary in working round the clock to keep us all healthy and safe.