RVR wins inaugural IOSH Railway Group’s safety award

By Claire Wanja

Rift Valley Railways has been awarded the IOSH Railway Group’s International Award 2015 after seeing injuries to workers on duty in its Nairobi production workshops cut by around 90 per cent over a three year period during a ceremony held in London last week.

The success followed a two year project to change workers’ attitudes towards their working practices after it was discovered a very high number of injuries were occurring as a result of slips, trips and falling objects caused by poor housekeeping methods.

A ‘5S’ methodology was introduced to enhance employees’ safety and cleanliness around five key themes – sorting, setting in order, shining, standardising and sustaining.

Management also trained 29 workshop staff as workplace safety representatives who act as a go-between 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.

Tom Nyaga, Occupational Safety and Health Administration Manager at Rift Valley Railways (Kenya) Ltd, said the company has rolled out similar measures at its satellite maintenance depots in Eldoret, Makadara and Mombasa following the scheme’s success.

He said “This project was part of a long term safety and health plan by RVR to improve on the working conditions throughout its network. It has had a great impact on the staff and operations of RVR in the workshops and depots. As well as improving safety and health it has led to improved productivity levels as its now easier for to find parts and tools.”

IOSH Railway Group launched the international award to honour projects outside the UK that have brought about safety and health improvements in the rail sector for employees or the public.

Entries were received from companies based in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa. They were judged by an expert panel, which included representatives from IOSH and the IOSH Railway Group, the Office of Rail Regulation and the Rail Safety and Standards Board.

Keith Merey, Chair of the IOSH Railway Group, said: “We hope that publicising these initiatives from countries across the world will not only help the companies involved, but also give professionals new ideas.



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