Kenyan Railroad Wins IOSH Award

Rift Valley Railways (Kenya) Ltd used a 5S approach to cut injuries to workers in its Nairobi production workshops by around 90 percent.

Rift Valley Railways (Kenya) Ltd has won the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health Railway Group's International Award 2015 for its success at reducing injuries to workers in its Nairobi production workshops by around 90 percent, IOSH announced. The rail company used a 5S methodology in a two-year project to change employees' attitudes toward their work practices after it discovered that a high number of the injuries were resulting from slips, trips, and falling objects caused by poor housekeeping methods.

The 5S methodology was organized around five themes: sorting, setting in order, shining, standardizing, and sustaining. IOSH's announcement said the railroad's management also trained 29 workshop staffers as workplace safety representatives who acted as go-betweens for workers to raise safety and health issues with management. "As a result of taking these steps the number of reported injuries on duty across the company’s 25 workshops in Nairobi has reduced from 37 in 2011 to four throughout 2014. There has also been a sizeable drop in the number of working days being lost through injuries or ill health," it said.

"RVR management identified the increasingly important need to focus on organizational factors that have an impact on the outcome of health and safety performance, with health and safety culture recognized as having a definitive impact," said Carlos Andrade, the railroad's chief executive. "That meant having visible safety leadership, commitment and accountability with the management engaging with shop floor staff, and thereby nurturing a system that would change the culture, enable continuous improvement and substantially reduce injuries."

Entries for the award came in from companies based in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. They were judged by an expert panel that included representatives from IOSH and the IOSH Railway Group, the Office of Rail Regulation, and the Rail Safety and Standards Board. Representatives of RVR, which is a core subsidiary of African infrastructure and industry leader Qalaa Holdings, will receive its award at the IOSH Rail Industry Conference 2015 in London on Nov. 25.

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