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EBH Namibia achieves OHSAS 18001 health and safety certification

Members of the EBH Namibia safety team. Members of the EBH Namibia safety team.

Elgin Brown & Hamer (EBH) Namibia has fulfilled its strategic objective of attaining the international OHSAS 18 001 certification, further enhancing its standing as a market leader in the ship repair sector. As such, the company has been rewarded for what has been a year of hard work and commitment during which all departments ‘pulled together’ to achieve this latest milestone.

“Attaining the OHSAS 18 001 certification was an intense process but – true to form – our staff worked as a team with a common vision: to demonstrate to our clients that nothing less than world class standards is good enough at EBH Namibia,” says Hannes Uys, CEO of EBH Namibia.

The company received the certification in December 2015, a little over a year after it became ISO 9001-certified. For Tim Kolisi, QHSSE (Quality, Health, Safety, Security and Environment) Manager at EBH Namibia, benchmarking against global standards in quality and safety systems is paramount for any company wanting to compete successfully in the international maritime industry.

“Achieving the OHSAS certificate is great news for EBH Namibia, as it demonstrates to our clients in a tangible way that we are indeed a world-class organisation, dedicated to the health and safety of our people. It is further proof of our commitment to quality and safety, as well as continuous improvement in every aspect of our business,” says Kolisi.

OHSAS (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) is a widely recognised, international health and safety management system which was updated in 2007. For EBH Namibia, the OHSAS standard provides the company with a framework in which to more accurately and proactively identify inherent health and safety risks, reduce the potential for accidents, become legally compliant and to improve overall operational performance.

“Attaining the OHSAS certification has placed the company in a stronger position to respond proactively to any potentially risky conditions or situations. It will ensure optimal and effective risk management, which will help to prevent unexpected costs for injury claims or disaster recovery,” says Kolisi. 

“Moreover, adhering to OHSAS standards is an effective way of reducing sickness, absenteeism and staff turnover, as well as boosting morale. It also helps to identify skills shortages and gaps, which in turn leads to fewer incidents or avoidable accidents on site.”

Successful implementation of the OHSAS standards required the involvement and support of each department, co-ordinated by top management, Kolisi explains. The process involved a close ‘gap analysis’ – in order for the company to measure current methodologies as compared to OHSAS standards – and thereafter intensive training, internal auditing processes and ongoing management reviews in respect of audit outcomes and future objectives.

“The benefits of a safe and healthy work environment result in a better customer offering overall. OHSAS 18 001 boosts a company’s brand reputation and enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty,” Kolisi asserts.

While the company is excited at having attained this latest certification, Uys recognises that the hard work has only just begun. “Pivotal to our future sustainability is to maintain compliance not only with ISO and OHSAS standards, but to local and international health and safety laws. This requires constant monitoring of processes and, in line with EBH Namibia’s passion for continuous improvement, ongoing internal training programmes.

Times are tough in the present economic climate, and I am extremely proud of the EBH Namibia team for not taking its eye off the ball when it comes to ensuring the highest possible global standards,” says Uys.

“We believe that our uncompromising attitude towards health and safety will further strengthen our position as a market leader in the international ship repair and maritime sector.”

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