Safety, health, environment and quality framework for small and medium-sized entreprises in the Durban area

Reiner, Monika (2011-03)

Thesis (MBA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2011.


A company’s primary goal is to make money. Simple as it may seem, this is not always easily achieved, and sustainability of the business may be a serious challenge. In an effort to make a profit, important aspects of safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) may sometimes be neglected. Some small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) merely do not have the understanding or the capacity to address all the important aspects of SHEQ, thereby placing the company under potential financial and legal risks. A survey was conducted in SMEs based in the Durban area to ascertain their level of legislative and voluntary system standard awareness and implementation. The questionnaire responses indicated that general awareness of legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, the National Environmental Management Act and voluntary system standards such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001 was relatively good, on the whole. However, implementation of the mandatory environmental requirements associated with the National Environmental Management Act was low, as was the implementation of the voluntary standards. Management and implementation of SHEQ responsibilities and requirement in larger organisations may be divided amongst various discipline specialists. However, in the SME these various disciplines may be the responsibility of one person, and often this person is the managing director. As such, this individual may not always have adequate time or understanding of the legal requirements of SHEQ aspects. There may also be a lack of understanding of the potential cost implications in not managing SHEQ aspects, and similarly budgeting requirements of managing SHEQ aspects appropriately. This research report introduces and summarises key SHEQ legislation and voluntary management system standards, such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act, the National Environmental Management Act, local bylaws, and introduces the ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001. Since some characteristics of the disciplines of health and safety, environment and quality may overlap, combining these into an integrated management system has merit. Such an integrated system can save the company time and money. This research report reviews some pertinent business requirements associated with SHEQ and presents an integrated management system guideline for the SME business owner. Business management, today, needs to learn from past business management developments. Successful and sustainable business management is not only about making a profit, but also incorporates a significant human resource management focus, health and safety assurance, the mitigation of potential environmental impacts from operations, whilst ensuring that quality standards of products and services are competitive.

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