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Safety of Ohorongos Employees in Good Hands

Published on: 25 November 2009

Two cement plants owned by Schwenk Zement KG, the parent company of Ohorongo Cement (PTY) Ltd, were honoured with the top award for workplace safety at the 6th International Association of German Cement Plants (VDZ) in Düsseldorf, Germany. During a public ceremony in October, the plants situated in the German towns of Allmendingen and Mergelstetten, were lauded for the complete absence of any safety-related accidents during the last business year.

While Schwenk shares ownership of two plants outside the borders of Germany in Hungary, Ohorongo Cement is the organisation’s first venture beyond Europe. The Ohorongo Cement plant is currently under construction a few kilometres north of Otavi, with production set to start end of 2010, beginning of 2011. When operational, the plant will produce 700,000 tonnes of cement per year. This is double of Namibia’s 2008 cement demand. “We are proud of our sister plants Allmendingen and Mergelstetten to have received this award. It is testament to Ohorongo’s overall ethical commitment to safety standards during all its operations,” says Hans-Wilhelm Schütte, Managing Director of Ohorongo Cement.

According to Schütte, aspects around safety are important elements at the workplace, and safety management is especially relevant in the high risk working conditions of the cement producing industry. While Ohorongo’s safety management systems will be structured in accordance with Namibian laws and regulations, the firm intends to adopt the Schwenk safety attributes applicable to given conditions and circumstances.

Workplace safety measures focus on prevention rather than dealing with incidents after they have occurred. For this reason, Ohorongo places emphasis on information-sharing and regular training of staff, as this is one of the most effective measures to ensure optimum safety standards.

In addition, the company commits itself to the procurement of equipment and machinery that apply to the highest health and safety standards in the industry. The latter becomes particularly relevant in connection with eliminating exposure to dust emissions created during the production and packaging of cement.

“Ohorongo puts a high premium on the health and safety of its employees. Management affirms the safety of the 300 people to be employed as its responsibility and the occurrence of any accident will not be taken lightly,” says Nicolaas Louw, safety representative of Ohorongo Cement. With regards to the plant’s construction schedule, Schütte confirmed that progress is well on track. He indicated that while the pre-heater tower has reached a height of 64 metres out of the final height of 109m, the raw meal silo has already been completed. Also, the quarry development is well underway, and the first blasts can be expected to take place in the near future.

Categories: Media Releases

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