HOW TO DRIVE A HERD OF ELEPHANTS SAFELY MATLA COAL’S TRUCK SAFETY CAMPAIGN HELPS DRIVERS MANAGE THEIR ‘IRON ELEPHANTS’ SAFELY AND WITH CARE.

With the largest haul trucks weighing over 600 tonnes — the combined weight of about 10 elephants! — trucks can pose a huge safety issue if not handled carefully. So, when Matla employees raised concerns about the risk that the mining trucks posed to their safety, a campaign was launched to entrench a safety culture among truck drivers. “Behaviour is influenced by the safety mood, and we hoped to change the mood of the truck drivers and our employees,” said Plant Safety Officer, Thabani Zondo.

“We needed to show the truck drivers that we are one team with a common goal, which is to provide safe coal to Matla power station and that we are aware of the challenges that they face daily. Long queues and odd working hours led to them being fatigued, so we issued energy bars and drinks to boost their energy,” added Assistant Behavioural Safety Officer, Evance Lushaba. The campaign also aimed to raise awareness about the importance of trucks being roadworthy and in good condition, so random truck inspections were conducted. According to Thabani and Evance, the campaign surpassed their objectives because they also learned something about the truck drivers and built good relationships with them.