A new, world-class manufacturing facility is being built in South Africa. It’s at the heart of a plan to revitalize the country’s rail system, as envisioned by Gibela, a consortium that will deliver 580 trains comprised of 3,480 coaches to support urban rail development.

Located near Johannesburg, the 50,000-square-meter (500,000-square-foot) facility is being constructed by eight principal contractors, each with its own work packages. This approach reflects Gibela’s commitment to local employment. More than 300 of the approximately 500 workers currently working on the site are from the adjacent communities.

We serve as the project’s engineering, procurement and construction management consultant. One critical aspect of this work is creating a common approach to safety management that ensures Gibela’s safety performance expectations are met.

Both the project’s size and focus on supporting local enterprise and supplier development drive an approach to addressing environmental, health and safety challenges through partnerships and engagement.

Safety Solutions

AECOM, working with Gibela, has developed an engagement process to equip the contractors to contribute to the project’s safety work and build a shared commitment to safety. The process includes kick-off meetings to build understanding of Gibela’s different procedures for the project, including health, safety and environment. Other events include the “Toolbox Talk” hosted to celebrate World Environment Day 2016, which featured one of the project’s principal contractors. The event was an opportunity to highlight the role of individual employees in creating safer work sites through their own actions.

Achievements and Outcomes

In November 2016 the project celebrated the safety milestone of 500,000 hours worked without a lost time injury. Building a common approach to the project’s safety management through partnership and engagement was critical to reaching this achievement.