Vodacom and its advertising agency selling safety

Vodacom and an outdoor advertising agency are implement safety initiatives, and selling safety as part of their services.

Vodacom and Vodafone internationally have launched an initiative improve health and safety among their staff, suppliers and contractors. The advertising agency MEC is part of the implementation.

The baseline for this health and safety drive is known as the ‘Absolute Rules’, which are ideally a strict guideline for Vodacom, its partners, and various suppliers, reported Media Update.

MEC have also adopted the ‘Absolute Rules’, and through their alignment with Vodafone’s stringent global standards, MEC is pioneering a new and revolutionary way in which health and safety is practiced in the outdoor media industry throughout South Africa.

View dowm from near the top of a telecoms tower.
View dowm from near the top of a telecoms tower.

Work at height safety on cellphone towers

Paul Makepeace, MEC Kinetic business head said; “How often do you see flighters on a billboard next to a highway with no safety harnessing or protective gear? Sadly it has become a common sight throughout the continent.

“Blatant flouting of the rules and common sense when working at heights, flighting of billboards in bad weather conditions, or without any safety harnessing or protective gear can result in serious injury and death and can so easily be avoided.”

“We have had to find a balance between being a media agency and a health and safety standards leader, which is why we invested in aligning the company with international safety procedures, and developing the necessary skill sets internally through upskilling our own employees and internal practices.

“We no longer endorse or allow the use of subcontractors and handle everything directly with vetted and approved suppliers.”

“Yasmeen Khan, National HSE manager at Vodacom said; “Health and safety isn’t only about complying with the law, it’s about us caring about people and our reputation as the leading communications company in SA.

“Often, we don’t realise how to internalise people safety into our industry. By partnering with our stakeholders, Vodacom aims to create a national wave where all our industries are safety savvy and hopefully become the influencers in our country by disseminating into their networks.”

Having acquired the Soweto Towers media space for Vodacom, MEC is responsible for all of the health and safety aspects of the project.

“Painting the towers is no easy task and it is our job to ensure that workers always use suitable personal protective equipment, a safety harness and fall protection equipment when working at heights.

“The whole operation includes graffiti artists, media and health safety experts, ensuring everyone has the correct skill sets, tools and even ensuring that the type of paint used will not be harmful to those working on the tower,” said Makepeace.

“As an agency, we are breaking new ground by creating awareness and transforming the health and safety culture within our industry. We hope to make a measurable difference.”

Sources; Media Update. MEC Global.

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8 thoughts on “Vodacom and its advertising agency selling safety

  1. Hi. I need some guidance regarding the ratio of safety reps as per OSH act specifically pertaining to a school scenario. Are the children regarded as part of the “employee” structure to add their numbers to enable you to determine the right quantity of reps?

    1. Hi Andre, an interesting question. Consider this:
      If the students are part of the “employees” then one has to ensure election of representatives from amongst their peers – otherwise Teachers will be used and since they are part of “management” their appointments would be disproportional ito OHSAct s17.2.c!
      Another point to consider is then are you employing children in contravention of BCEAct VI.43
      1) Subject to section 50(2)(b), a person must not require or permit a child to work, if the child is under 15 years of age or the minimum school-leaving age in terms of any law.
      So perhaps the best solution is to ignore the children as “employees” and ensure that they are treated as “other than employees” s9.
      Having said that, compliance is a minimum. Would it not be a good idea to have senior students on the H&S committee as management nominees – keeping in mind the restriction of s19.2.c – to introduce them to issues that they will encounter in “real life” after they leave school.
      Nothing like nurturing the minds of the youth to achieve greater things as adults!

      1. The learners cannot be appointed as Safety Reps, they are not employees of the institution. Teachers can be appointed as Safety Reps, the Management Reps can be the HOD’s and principal.

    2. Are shoppers part of the retailer’s employees?
      Are passengers part of the airline’s employees?
      Are patrons part of the church’s employees?
      How far do you want to stretch the law?

    3. Gentlemen I would suggest that we stick to the definitions of employee, in particular the one as intended by the legislature or as the legislator intended.

      Standard Definition of:

      An employee is an individual who works part-time or full-time under a contract of employment, whether oral or written, express or implied, and has recognized rights and duties. Also called worker.
      OHS Act Definition


      Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), any person who is employed by or works for an employer and who receives or is entitled to receive any remuneration or who works under the direction or supervision of an employer or any other person.

  2. People are the best resource an organisation can ever have and as such should be cared for.
    Thumbs up for Vodacom and its advertising agency

    1. Thumbs up? What about all the contractors who had to spend thousands of rands to comply with Vodacom’s safety rules for drivers and vehicles, only to discover three months later that the Principal contractors they work for, has been replaced with someone else?
      What about the number of Vodacom employees that were killed somewhere in Africa and their South African contractors being forced to comply with new “Precautionary measures” at their own expense? Sorry Thabo, but Vodacom is not a company deserving a thumbs up. The only reason why you do not have coverage in your area, or a weak signal, is because Vodacom’s SHEQ Specialists have not yet approved the Safety File for the new base station to be constructed. But as long as you do it in the name of “Health & Safety” you can just about get away with murder.

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