In Algeria, there is an institute dedicated specifically to improving workplace safety. Since 2001, L’Institut de formation et d'amélioration des conditions de travail (“Institute for Training and Improvement of Workplace Conditions”), or IFACT, has been assisting businesses in making their work environments safer, boosting employee morale, and improving their bottom lines. IFACT is accredited by the Algerian government. Among the clients which count on IFACT to do the job are such well known brands as Coca-Cola, Danone, Siemens, and the largest company in Africa, Sonatrach.
Sonatrach, Big and Diverse
Sonatrach is the Algerian state owned company which operates in petroleum exploration, refining and distribution, as well as transportation through its subsidiary airline. The company is also involved in large chemical projects, such as petroleum research and water desalination. It is one of the fifteen largest companies in the world, in the top five in gas exports, and in the top 30 in the world in terms of employees. The company operates in exploration, production, pipeline transportation and marketing of hydrocarbons and by products.
Somatech invests in other countries and industries. It has interests in at least ten foreign countries in such industries as power generation, sustainable energy, and mining.
With 120,000 employees in diverse and sometimes hazardous occupations, Somatech needs to make sure that its people are properly trained in the latest workplace techniques. It’s a huge job, and not just anyone can do it.
Workplace Safety is Critical to Business Success and a Particular Challenge for Most
According to the International Labor Organization and World Health Organization, "The main focus in occupational health is on three different objectives: (i) the maintenance and promotion of workers’ health and working capacity; (ii) the improvement of working environment and work to become conducive to safety and health and (iii) development of work organizations and working cultures in a direction which supports health and safety at work…. Such a culture is reflected in practice in the managerial systems, personnel policy, principles for participation, training policies and quality management of the undertaking."
Occupational safety and health is a very specialized undertaking and requires a level of expertise rarely found except in the very largest organizations. And in spite of increased awareness of the necessity of focus on workplace safety and health, each year more than 2million people die due to accidents or diseases related to work.
One of the reasons that attacking the issue of workplace safety is so difficult is that it involves many different disciplines, such as psychology, epidemiology, occupational medicine, human factors and ergonomics, and more. Today’s businesses need professionals who have expertise in a broad range of occupational health and safety matters. These professionals give advice on how to avoid hazards in the workplace, how to minimize the risk of aggravating preexisting conditions, design and implementation of personal protection gear, emergency procedures, correct posture, frequency of rest breaks, and so forth.
Modern employers understand that employees are frequently the most important asset of the company, and as such need to be cared for in the same way as any other valuable asset. Therefore, prevention of accidents and chronic injury is crucial, and analysis of workplace hazards is key to overall quality management.
Human factors are a critical component of workplace safety. The best designed safety devices and warnings are of no use if they are not properly used or heeded. Here, considerations of ergonomics, comfort, motivation and awareness must be taken into account in order to have an effective regime of personal protection. Finally, conflict prevention and resolution is directly linked to a reduction in accident rates, and is another core competency needed by any specialist in workplace safety.
IFACT’s focus is on vocational training in the areas of quality, occupational health and safety, environment, and human resources management. Their staff of over fifty consultants, trainers and supervisors in the fields of ergonomics, occupational safety, quality, law, medicine, psychology, and management use a variety of modalities to deliver the best training and end results. IFACT uses on site and off site training courses, seminars, consulting and research studies to ensure that its clients are kept abreast of the latest techniques in keeping their employees safe and sound.
Because of the large number of highly skilled and specialized experts at their disposal, IFACT is able to address a wide range of quality and safety issues found in practically any workplace environment. These themes include, but are not limited to
- Design of prevention systems
- Specific prevention regimes for mechanical, electrical, and chemical
- Electrical and mechanical tolerances
- Reducing or eliminating physical nuisances such as noise and vibration
- Improving other factors like lighting and microclimate
- Workplace stress
- Quality, Safety and Environmental Management systems and tools
- Systems integration and audit
- Management of occupational hazards
- Fire fighting and first aid
IFACT also offers a complete suite of courses for Human Resources Managers in areas not directly related to occupational safety, including payroll, management procedures, employment contracts, compliance with current law, and establishment and implementation of procedures. For clients who wish to have properly trained quality and occupational safety professionals on staff, IFACT offers training for Quality and Environmental Safety managers, auditors, inspectors and trainers.
IFACT provides training in accordance with OHSAS 18001:2007 (OSH management), ISO 9001:2015 (Quality management), ISO 14001:2004 (Environmental management), ISO 31000 (Occupational risks), ISO 19011:2012 (QHSE Internal audit), and Integrated Management Systems. Customized programs are also available.
IFACT’s constant commitment to quality, implementation of certified systems, and world class customer care mean that their clients are receiving the best training and consulting services available. So whether the client’s needs are for the safe operation of machinery, chemical handling, certification, ergonomics, fire safety, working at heights, or a host of other workplace safety matters, the professionals at IFACT are prepared to help keep everyone safe.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, IFACT has been selected to receive the BID International Star Award for Quality for 2015 at the convention in Geneva.
About BID and the International Star Award for Quality:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.