As you approach Frigoken Limited (FKL), there is a medium-size billboard with the company’s list of health and safety measures stated chronologically and the motto safety first outlined in the company colors. All COVID-19 regulations have been hanged at various areas within the company and COVID-19 measures set by WHO and the Ministry of health observed by every company employee. For FKL health and safety is a priority.
FKL, just like many other agro-food industries has a workplace health and safety culture that has been in play for about 30 years. Addressing workplace safety has been a progressive journey for the company over the years. Through regular training, every employee understands their responsibility in ensuring safety within the company. This aspect has enabled them to anticipate, prevent, prepare, and mitigate incidents that can affect the company.
The company’s efforts to conduct a regular risk assessment to identify hazards and risks, their thorough investigation of accidents that occur in the company to come up with mitigation strategies, regular inspections and audits at the workplace have served as a great advantage. These measures have ensured that the number of accidents in the company have reduced by 36% from the year 2019-2020.
‘’We have grown as a health and safety department over the years, learning new ideas and unlearning procedures that do not work for us. The one thing that has contributed to our growth is using both local and international compliance regulations to guide us and consistent implementation of all the measures.’’ -Elizabeth Maina Sustainability and Communication officer FKL
The company’s health and safety guidelines are not only guided by the occupational health and Safety act 2007 but also by the International Labor Organization. Frigoken is certified by various international bodies; BSCI, SMETA, and ISO 14001;2015.
‘’The company has three teams in the health and safety department: First aid team, fire marshal team and the health and safety committee. These groups have been tasked with different responsibilities to ensure wellness, preparedness, and safety of the company staff. The beauty of these teams is, there is 50% representation by floor shop workers, this way ideas and decision-making lacks bias.’’ Says Solomon Muiruri, Health and Safety officer FKL.
Health and Safety committee
Through regular meetings, the health and safety committee carries out discussions on the status, and progress on matters of health and safety. One of their many activities includes carrying out risk assessments to identify hazards and risk factors that have the potential to cause harm and most importantly curating action plans up to address the risks.
When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic the health and safety committee team ensured that all the COVID-19 precautions were taken to account. Continued awareness to their staff took place through bulk SMS platforms, posters, and videoconferencing. All essential PPEs were issued out and continuous updates on the pandemic provided.
First aid team
There is a company clinic operated by a certified nurse, who is part of the first aid team. The team is tasked to conduct initial first aid to injured staff before taking them to the nurse, and surveillance on compliance to the COVID-19 guidelines. The team is also training other employees on first aid measures guided by the first aid manual.
Fire marshal team
This team helps in the evacuation process in the case of an emergency. Over the years, the team has ensured that there is an improvement in the fire drill activity where the evacuation time has progressively decreased.
‘’As a shop floor worker, I feel safe within the workplace premises because first, we have a well-equipped health and safety team that ensures all risks are continuously prevented or mitigated. I am also knowledgeable on health and safety practices thanks to the team that continuously trains us.’’ Plentine Omwaka a shop floor worker at FKL.