Sumitomo Rubber South Africa (SRSA) – parent company to the Dunlop brand – has recently achieved one million lost time injury-free hours on their current expansion projects underway at their production plant in the industrial hub of Danskraal, Ladysmith. This is also 713 days - and counting - without a lost time accident.
Joint-venture contractors on the project, Stefanutti Stocks Building KZN/Ladysmith Construction are pleased with the milestone, citing safety as a big priority for not only themselves, but for the tyre manufacturer as well. “These lost time injury-free (LTI) hours is a notable safety milestone to have achieved, especially when one considers that we commenced construction at the site back in 2014,” said Mark Stewart, Alternate Director of Stefanutti Stocks Building KZN. “During this two year period, we have had less than 10 minor first aid cases, most of which required little more than plaster treatment,” he said.
Dunlop’s existing manufacturing plant was established in 1973. Shortly after being acquired by Japan-based investors Sumitomo Rubber Industries, the company took the decision to modernise and expand the manufacturing facility.
Construction commenced in October 2014, with phase one of the project (known as Project Sunrise), valued at a mammoth R1.1 billion. The company then announced a further R970 million in March this year (Project Southern Cross), taking their total investment in the factory upgrade and expansion to R2bn. At present, the project has employed 15 subcontractors, with an excess of 350 combined workers on site.
SRSA’s CEO, Riaz Haffejee, said that this achievement was a reflection of the commitment by all contractors to one of SRSA’s key priorities – safety. “At SRSA, safety comes first, last and always - and this achievement is a wonderful proof point which resonates with our people at all levels that the importance of safety should not be underestimated,” said Haffejee.
Inherent in the project were several factors that contributed to safety risks.
Among these risks were:
- Excavations of up to 8.5 metres deep.
- Blasting of shale rock for foundations, floors and roads.
- High scaffolding structures of up to 20m high, with workmen at heights to erect steelwork and sheet the roof.
- Tilt-up construction. This involves heavy concrete lifts done by crane, where 12mx 6m x200mm thick walls sections are hoisted up.
- Working at heights of up to 30 metres high with mixing equipment
- Heavy construction, with designs catering for 2 ton per square metre loadings, using heavy scaffolding at high levels
- 100,000 cubic metres of earth removal, which involved a lot of heavy vehicle movement to get factory levels
- Operation of two tower cranes working overhead
- Operation of nine mobile cranes erecting steel, pouring concrete and moving equipment overhead
According to Haffejee, to have zero major incidents given the magnitude of this project is worthy of commendation, given the company’s values. “It underscores a quality project team who resonate with our company’s ethos,” said Haffejee.
“Safety permeates our organization at all levels, with consumers in mind. This extends from our manufacturing and operational practices, to the engineering of durable, quality products that adhere to the highest global safety standards, right down to rigorous training programmes that are aimed at upskilling fitment experts at our retail Dunlop franchises like Dunlop Zone and Dunlop Express. We hope that through such measures, that safer roads, fewer fatalities and the interests of the motorists across SA will be preserved,” concluded Haffejee.
The Stefanutti Stocks Building KZN/Ladysmith Construction JV project team was also recently awarded the 2016 Master Builders Association Award for Safety for their work on Project Sunrise. The final phase of the project, Southern Cross, is scheduled for completion July 2018.