Securing the health and wellbeing of employees

Response pays off

24 August 2020 | Fishing

Herman Theron; Hangana MD; “… we needed to find ways to protect our employees…”

Walvis Bay

The fact that the last quarantined crew member exited from the temporary hospital that Hangana had erected for its employees who had tested positive for Covid-19 on 17 August 2020, means that their response to the pandemic has paid off, says managing director Herman Theron.

He said that with Walvis Bay becoming the epicentre of the pandemic a few of weeks back, the company realised that extraordinary circumstances called for extraordinary measures. “Like many other employers in the Namibian fishing industry, we needed to find ways to protect our employees amidst this pandemic, and therefore responded with various measures.”

According to Theron, despite the pressure the fishing industry is under, Hangana and other fishing companies did not think twice about activating plans to care for their employees.

“As part of the Hangana’s Business Continuity Plan, a fully-furnished isolation care facility was established at Hangana’s warehouse with the aim of having those employees who tested positive, self-isolate in an effort to reduce the risk of transmission to their families and colleagues.”

Hangana’s warehouse isolation facility was inspected by health officials and received certification as an approved Covid-19 facility for quarantine and isolation.

Employees were provided with three balanced meals and soft drinks daily whilst strict safety rules and regulations were adhered to in terms of deliveries and pickups. The company’s onsite clinic nurses attended to the employees with necessary health check-ups and reported on their wellbeing daily.

The warehouse had been utilized for only 14 positive crew members who have since recovered and are healthy and fit for work.
Panel houses were also set up at the same time along the quayside of Hangana, to house and keep safe all negative crew members upon arrival from sea and whilst waiting for their next voyage. The houses were kitted out with 16 bunk beds as well as onsite toilet facilities.

Theron added that supporting the health and wellbeing of workers is critical to the company and its business.

“We had to find ways of dealing with the crisis and to continue doing business responsibly, as the livelihoods of our employees and their families depend thereon.”

O&L Group executive chairman Sven Thieme said he was humbled when he saw how much care had been exercised by employers who have gone the extra mile to keep their employees and communities safe.

“With the economic impact of this pandemic, my appeal is that in addition to upholding the necessary health and safety measures, we also do everything possible to increase domestic production. As a healthy, productive and self-reliant nation is in a much better position to deal with and overcome crises like Covid-19. We need to breathe life into our industries and our economy in order to secure our future.”

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