The NOSCAR award is the highest rating in the NOSA system, and recognises companies that commit to continuously provide a safe and healthy work environment for their employees. Jet Demolition has received a NOSCAR award for 20 consecutive years to date, with an impressive 95% score, reports Safety Manager Marthinus Botha, who has been with the company for 13 years. The demolition expert has an integrated safety management in place that combines the ISO 45000 family – Occupational health and safety with the ISO 9000 family – Quality management and the CMB253 NOSA Integrated Five Star System.
“We operate within a particular environment that has its own requirements in terms of health and safety. We need to understand those challenges in order to be able to comply with them. We also use these challenges as a learning exercise to bolster our own safety system, adding to its robustness,” comments Botha.
Apart from training being a mandatory requirement, Botha points out that, if applied correctly and diligently, it mitigates risk, reduces overall costs and allows Jet Demolition to meet its employees’ professional aspirations. “Training is an intensive process because demolition is such a dangerous practice,” he acknowledges.
The workforce employed varies from project to project, but generally stands at about 200. “When we onboard new employees, we will obviously not place them straightaway in high-risk positions. Instead, they start out at lower-level positions in order for them to gain a good understanding of their environment and its requirements.” This includes occupation-specific training such as asbestos-handling and gas-cutting.
Demolition itself does not only encompass buildings, but includes mining and industrial structures such as minerals-processing plants, smelters and power stations. “We even deal with radiological materials as well, so it is quite a broad spectrum,” notes Botha. The engineering and SHEQ teams collaborate closely and will, firstly, visit a site to determine the safest, most cost-effective demolition method to be used.
“We will then ensure that the structure is removed with minimal impact on the environment, the local community and the public in general. Going out to see the actual project is a critical part of the process in order to understand the client requirements,” stresses Botha. The most important end result of demolition is “to preserve the environment for future generations. We cannot emphasise that enough. We take our commitment to the environment very seriously, and that is how we approach all of our projects, no matter the size, complexity or industry.”
Due to the fact that demolition is quite a mechanical process, Jet Demolition has an extensive fleet of equipment, including some highly specialised and even customised machines. “We use more industrial and earthmoving equipment than is traditionally the case with construction,” adds Botha. Here specific safety measures such as CCTV, reverse cameras, pedestrian alert systems, barrier systems and two-way radio and alarm systems have been incorporated. In addition, the demolition methods employed by the company have been designed in such a way so as to reduce the requirement for staff on-site.
Other innovations include a quick-coupling system developed in-house for easy switching between a bucket, a hammer and a shears on an excavator, for example. “We have a lot of specialised equipment that reduces our need for manual labour, including patented explosive charges for maximum safety.” Despite all of this, Botha says the most important aspect is to maintain close contact with all employees and ensure that a safety culture is inculcated.
Looking at the impact of Covid-19, Botha reveals that Jet Demolition has embarked on a major awareness campaign in various languages, as well as complying with all sanitation and social distancing regulations. “We encourage vaccination, and actively participate with our teams to help foster a safe working environment. Our teams are also empowered to act responsibly in the face of adversity, and are supported and encouraged in safe work practices and approaches. Apart from the required daily screening, additional measures include a staggered work-hours approach in order to keep physical interaction at a minimum.”
Botha concludes: “Jet Demolition is a company comprising one team and one vision, which is to provide our clients with the best service possible. Demolition is a rewarding career path with plenty of opportunities for growth and learning. It is a career where you can be part of a team and literally see the impact that you make on the environment around you.”