Umgeni Water maintained its joint management-worker health and safety committees throughout its operations in order to strengthen its health and safety programmes. Membership of its committees includes union shop stewards. The committees meet on a monthly basis and discuss pertinent occupational health and safety issues, report any incidents and deviations and identify actions for further investigation, as may be needed.
The organisation collects analyses and assesses key statistics relating to occupational diseases, rates of injuries, lost days and absenteeism, amongst others. Figure 1shows the disabling injury frequency rate trend.
Umgeni Water’s health and safety representatives have significant knowledge and expertise and are actively involved in health and safety in the workplace. To strengthen the functioning of this committee, democratic elections are held to re-elect the chairpersons which is aligned to legislative requirements. The occupational health programmes, which are aligned to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and standards, assist employees in the following areas:
- Provision of health education.
- Provision of guidance and counselling.
- Management of employee assistance programme.
- Primary health care including minor ailments treatment and referrals where necessary.
- Workplace observation and intervention if circumstances become hazardous to health.
- Medical Surveillance Programmes are conducted annually to screen employees exposed to hazardous environments and ultimately ensuring a safe workforce