By ZiMining Reporter
Cement manufacturing giant Lafarge Cement Zimbabwe has scaled up its commitment to upholding health and safety by establishing a Health and Safety Academy.
Presenting the Company’s Abridged Financial results for the year ended 31 December 2019, Lafarge Chairman Mr Kumbirai Katsande said Lafarge has set an ambitious vision ‘for zero harm in all operations.’
During the second half of 2019, Lafarge recorded one fatality in its quarry operations. This incident, Mr Katsande said, was the first fatality in the business since the late 1990s.
He said the company will remain committed to operationalizing a robust Health and Safety improvement plan.
“The company continues to uphold health and safety as a core value premised on its ambition “0”, a vision for zero harm in all operations.
“generally, the company’s performance and all health and safety indicators were progressive (during the period under review),” Mr Katsande said.
Lafarge, as a market leader in Health and safety, has established a Health and Safety Academy that will provide training to other companies.
“in a quest for continuous improvement under this core value, the company operationalized a robust Health and Safety improvement plan throughout the year.
“This plan is focused on delivering positive step change in all segments of the business.
“The strong focus on Health and Safety has since positioned the company as a market leader, and key stakeholders such as National Social Security Authority (NSSA) have awarded the company recognition as partners in the national agenda for zero harm in the workplace.
“this positioning inspired the company to establish a Health and Safety Academy that provides bespoke training to other companies.
“The Academy offers practical simulations environments for most safety hazards found in the industry today. The first of its kind in Zimbabwe, this safety training school managed to train team from eight (8) institutions,” he said.
Lafarge, Mr Katsande said, subscribes to international certification standards.
Locally, the company qualified for recertification for ISO 140001:2015 (Environmental Management Systems) and OHSAS 18001:2007 (Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series) through the standard Association of Zimbabwe.
During the period under review, Lafarge maintained a strong foothold in Strategic Social Investment Programs that buttressed its commitment to sustainable business practices.
Mr Katsande said the company scaled up support for environmental stewardship programmmes in partnership with community groups with the objective of improving local solid waste management and recycling.
Also, Lafarge launched the second intake of ‘Shine: Simuka upenye’ Young Women’s empowerment programme targeting 125 girls from local communities.
In response to the devastating impact of cyclone Idai, Mr Katsande said the company supported a basic mason training programme for 110 young people from the affected communities thereby creating a ready pool of local manpower to support the various rebuilding projects that were underway.
Lafarge posted a gross profit of ZWL$496 million in 2019, an improved margin from ZWL$141million in 2018.
The improvement was attributed to a focus on agile pricing and disciplined cost management across the business.