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SHEQ training in turbulent times

BBF SHEQ Services, a subsidiary of the BBF Safety Group – Africa’s largest manufacturer of safety footwear and personal protective equipment – offers a range of expert SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) services and specialist training. Training is administered by Advantage ACT, which has over 25 years of SHEQ training experience. Advantage ACT is an ISO 9001 and 45001 certified training provider with courses accredited by HWSETA (Health & Welfare SETA), QCTO (Quality Council for Trades & Occupations) and is recognised by SAIOSH (South African Institute for Occupational Safety & Health).

It’s a little more than a year since Covid-19 was declared a global pandemic and the first infections were confirmed in South Africa. This period has had tragic consequences with both the loss of lives and livelihoods. On the business front, the disruptions to local and global operations have been immense.

Joep Joubert, group manager of BBF SHEQ Services – a specialist Safety, Health, Environment and Quality (SHEQ) training provider – explains the challenges faced. “Firstly the health and safety environment in any organisation is not something that can be ignored. Regulatory requirements, as laid out by the Occupational Health & Safety (OHS), Mine Health & Safety Act and Covid-19 guidelines, dictate the measures companies need to take to ensure they have adequate resources and processes in place to protect their employees and anyone visiting their premises.

“As a SHEQ training provider, we have long offered the options of training via classroom-based, customised on-site or distance learning. As we approached the initial lockdown in March 2020, we recognised the need for people to use this downtime as productively as possible and we were able to repurpose a number of our courses onto virtual platforms. This enabled businesses and individuals to continue training from home in the various SHEQ disciplines, whether it was our basic courses such as First Aid and Fire Fighting, or more preventative options such as our Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment course.

“Initially, the adoption of virtual training was quite slow, but as people realised the pandemic was not going to disappear overnight, so acceptance and uptake of these new solutions grew. Being a member of the South African Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (SAOISH) and having our courses recognised by the organisation, meant that we could ensure that industry professionals were able to refresh and expand their knowledge while earning Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points during this time. Similarly, those looking to update their skills and value to current or potential employers could embark on our Health and Welfare Sector Education and Training Authority (HWSETA) accredited Skills Programme, which provides training to become a safety and health representative. This can now be done virtually or through our other methods of delivery.

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“With the easing of lockdown restrictions, several companies have preferred to hold training for smaller groups on their own premises, something which we offer with most of our courses. We have also seen a return to some of the classroom-based training, but the new reality will most likely trend towards the more customised and digital solutions to limit the movement of people,” explains Joubert.

The economic landscape within South Africa currently does not make for great reading, but as a country and a people we have always shown resilience, and that will be required in the coming months and years. In particular, those companies manufacturing goods locally will play a significant role in the economic recovery and will need to take every opportunity to ensure sustainability and growth. BBF SHEQ Services can further assist in training staff and key personnel in SHEQ legal liability training and ISO quality management evaluation and certification courses – key considerations for ensuring your business is a viable option for larger local and international corporations.

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