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UK safety passports take off in SA

Gavin Wilson - Passport to Safety Gavin Wilson - Passport to Safety

In the UK, major corporations in the food and beverage sector, construction, facilities management, general manufacturing, industrial utilities, live events, logistics, motor manufacturing, pharmaceutical, ports and shipping, quarries, renewable energy, telecommunications and the petroleum industry have embraced safety passport schemes to reduce workplace accidents caused by outside contractors.

Contractors, from painters to electricians, who enter a corporation’s premises or a service station forecourt, may pose a risk if they lack the health and safety training specific to that particular industry.

This is where safety passports come in. The passport is a robust and secure photocard - similar to a credit card - that displays a tamper-proof photograph of each contractor who has successfully completed a two-day, industry-specific health and safety training programme.

Contractors pay for the cost of the training on the understanding that their workers will not be allowed on site without their safety passports in those industries that subscribe to the scheme.

The concept has taken off in the UK, with Nestle reporting a 68% drop in workplace accidents in the first two years and a division of underground railway utility, Metronet, boasting a 75% drop in accidents in its first 18 months on the scheme.

Cape Town based health and safety consultant, Gavin Wilson, has now brought the concept to South Africa. His company, Safety Pass Alliance South Africa (SPA (SA)), operates under an exclusive license agreement with Safety Pass Alliance Ltd, the UK’s leading authority in health and safety passport schemes.

The SA Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA) supports the scheme and is beginning to roll it out among participating members.

“It introduces a uniform, standardised approach and is the first basic entrance to managing safety on a forecourt, “says SAPIA environmental advisor Anton Moldan, “Another advantage is that contractors don’t have to go through each individual company’s [health and safety] induction training prior to starting work, they do one and it is recognised by all the individual companies so it saves them on cost and time.”

Importantly, the safety passport scheme also ensures the corporate meets its legal duty in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to inform contractor employees of the risks of the activities on their premises, adds Wilson.

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