For FUCHS LUBRICANTS SOUTH AFRICA, maintaining the highest standards of health, safety, and environmental (HSE) responsibility is not just a corporate obligation, it is a way of life. Technical Director Dr. Siphilisiwe Ndlovu says the company has embedded these values into its operations and corporate culture.
“We take health and safety very seriously, with an ongoing commitment to monitoring and improvement,” says Dr. Ndlovu. FUCHS’ comprehensive approach is encapsulated in a robust SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment, and Quality) policy that outlines its goals and objectives. The policy is the guiding document underpinning its health and safety drive.
FUCHS is committed to the overarching goal of Zero Harm to ensure no harm comes to employees, stakeholders, the environment, or the local communities where the company operates. Dr. Ndlovu stresses the importance of employees coming to work and returning home healthy and safe, a philosophy that underpins the entire operation.
“Our health and safety objectives are central to our business strategy, as they guide our operations and decision-making processes,” says Dr. Ndlovu. Health and safety are top of mind at various company meetings, including those with the Managing Director and Executive Committee. FUCHS’ open communication culture is underscored by Visible Felt Leadership (VFL) sessions whereby management engages directly with employees to understand their experiences and challenges.
FUCHS has introduced numerous channels for employee engagement and communication. “We have a Health and Safety Committee with employee representation, regular shopfloor safety meetings, management-level meetings, and monthly safety meetings as key platforms to exchange feedback and discuss safety-related topics,” highlights Dr. Ndlovu.
The VFL programme has proven particularly successful, with both management and executive teams engaging directly with employees, observing practices, and gathering feedback. Dr. Ndlovu points out that the transparency of these sessions demonstrates the effectiveness of the company’s entire health and safety framework.
In addition to direct employee engagement, FUCHS uses various communication tools such as television campaigns, SMS messaging, and memos. The company is also subject to third-party audits and holds ISO certifications for health, safety, and environmental standards.
Reflecting on the company’s proactive response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Ndlovu explains it acted swiftly to implement necessary measures, including creating a shift system, adopting a work-from-home policy, and enhancing cleaning and sanitisation procedures. “Our highly effective approach allowed us to continue operating without compromising employee safety,” notes Dr. Ndlovu.
Furthermore, the company conducts regular drills and training to prepare for any major incidents. These drills simulate emergency scenarios and are designed to ensure that the company can respond effectively in real-world scenarios.
“Our commitment to health and safety extends beyond the workplace,” adds Dr. Ndlovu. FUCHS considers it a broader responsibility to look after its employees as people and ensure that no harm comes to anyone associated with the company. “Health, safety, and environmental responsibility are not simply corporate policies, but a way of life that begins at home and extends to the workplace,” she concludes.