Friday, October 28, 2016

HR - How to Report Work Related Incidents - Part 2

HR – How to Report Work Related Incidents – Part 2

By Nikki Viljoen of Viljoen Consulting CC

Please note that this applies to South African Labour and Best Practice Requirements

Last time we looked at some of the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), in terms of the reporting of incidents that occur in the workplace.

We looked specifically at the reporting requirements around (but not limited to) incidents such as:

- When someone dies
- When someone becomes unconscious
- When someone suffers the loss of a limb or part of a limb
- When someone suffers a permanent physical defect or
- When someone is likely to be unable, for a period of at least 14 days to either work or continue with the activity for which he was employed or is usually employed.

Today we will have a look at some of the other reporting requirements.

In terms of the OHSA subsection (C ), the following incidents endangering the health and safety of any person must also be reported to the inspector:-

- Where a dangerous substance was spilled,
- Where the uncontrolled release of any substance under pressure took place
- Where machinery or any part thereof fractured or failed resulting in flying, falling or uncontrolled moving objects or
- Where machinery ran out of control.

So let’s bring on the protagonists.

George owns a furniture manufacturing company. He is preparing for his year-end stock take and is having an ‘end of year’ sale to try and sell all the “older” lines before year end to get as much turnover through the books and also to make space in the warehouse for the new lines and stock that are to be manufactured in the new financial year.

Samuel is a fork lift driver,  He works specifically with the fork lift that has the ‘telescopic’ arms that reaches the highest shelves in the warehouse.

Some of the furniture cannot be palletised and this means that several employees need to be lifted up onto the top shelves to manually move and manover the furniture onto the “telescopic” arms of the fork lift.

John and Simon are at the top of the shelves moving an awkward six seater semi circular lounge suite couch onto the ‘telescopic’ arms of the fork lift. As John moves the couch onto the one arm, he slips and loses his grip on the couch.  To stop himself from falling, although he is secured in a safety harness, he grabs the nearest post and with legs flailing and kicking he manages to pull himself into a more comfortable and secure position.

Unfortunately as he was flailing and kicking he dislodged the couch even further as Samuel moved away from the shelves to give him more room.  The couch is now swinging wildly out of control.

Samuel, in an attempt to try and get John to some sort of safely, tries to move the forklift closer to the shelves, but unfortunately the forklift is long overdue for a service and the gears are slipping and instead of a ‘smooth’ forward slow motion towards the shelves the forklift jerks backwards and stalls snapping the harness that John is attached to and putting John in an even more precarious position as the unexpected forklift movement has dislodged him completely from his position on the shelving and he’s lost his balance.

The jerky movements of the forklift  has also caused the couch to not only swing from side to side, it is now also spinning and John grabs desperately at the legs of the couch in a last ditch attempt to grab onto something . . .  anything to break his fall.

John misses and the last thing he remembers is the terrified look on Simon’s face as he falls some 15 meters to the floor and lands with a sickening resounding thump!

As Simon is leaning over the edge of the shelf and watching his colleague fall to the floor he is not aware of the danger that he is in from the ‘out of control’ couch as it swings wildly.

Suddenly some instinct seems to warn him of danger and as he looks up the couch crashes into him, causing him to lose his balance and he loses his grip on the post and his footing and he also plunges down the same 15 odd meters to the floor.

Samuel, in his panic to control the forklift and the madly swinging and gyrating couch presses the wrong button and the forklift leaps forward driving over the now prone unconscious bodies of Simon and John.

Clearly this is now a very serious situation on multiple issues.

So what has to be reported here?

George obviously needs to take immediate action in terms of the requirements of his staff , the out of control swinging couch and the forklift.

Once the ambulance has arrived and taken care of his two employees,  there are obviously certain requirements in terms of the OHSA that have to be met as well as certain requirements in terms of the Workmen’s Compensation Fund that need to be dealt with in order for the claims to be approved and paid out.

In this instance, the OHSA requirements are that an incident has to be reported when:-

- A person dies or
- A person becomes unconscious or
- A person suffers the loss of a limb or part of a limb or
- A person is otherwise injured or becomes ill to such a degree that he is likely to die or:
Suffer a permanent physical defect or
Is likely to be unable to, for a period of at least 14 days, either to work for or continue with the activity for which he was employed or is usually employed.

Don’t forget though, that your report has to contain the following information:

a. The name of the injured person(s);
b. The address of the injured person(s);
c. The name of the user, employer or self-employed person(s);
d. The address of the user, employer or self-employed person(s);
e. The telephone number of the user, employer or self-employed person(s);
f. The name of the contact person
g. The details of the incident
h. What happened
i. Where it happened (place)
j. When it happened (date and time)
k. How it happened and
l. The names of the witnesses.

Also to contained in the report (because machinery was involved)

“Where the machinery ran out of control as a result of the failure of a control or safely equipment and could have caused an injury to a person who had been conveyed on or in such machinery or had been in the vicinity thereof.”

Getting the reports right and submitted correctly and on time will contribute to the effectively of the actions that need to be taken.

Next time we will look at a new topic.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Motivation - Making Opporunities

MOTIVATION – Making Opportunities

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

I have no doubt that the average South African who owns a TV, will remember the advertisement about the guy who moves into his new office, all bright eyed an bushy tailed, at the beginning of the day.  As the day progresses, he continues to watch the phone, that is clearly not ringing and eventually in frustration, he picks it up to check whether there is a dial tone or not.  The look of absolute disappointment on his face says it all, when there is obviously nothing wrong with the phone.  His expectation certainly did not align with his reality!

Sadly, for many South African SMME’s and Entrepreneurs – this is their reality – the silent phone – and it has nothing to do with the phone being out of order.  In my opinion, it has everything to do with their mindset being ‘out of order’.

I know that I have said this before and I have no doubt that I will say it again, many times over – I am seriously confused as well as really exasperated by the sense of entitlement that some (actually make that many) people have.

Like the chap in the TV advertisement, many people think that because they have made the decision in life to open their own business/office/shop (insert what you like here), that Joe Public, who has never met them before and in all truth, has no idea of their very existence, will suddenly be overcome by some mysterious malady, that is air/water/thought borne and they will now miraculously flood though their doors or ensure that their phone rings off the hook as they try frantically to purchase their particular product/service.

Please people – get a grip!  And I would suggest that it is a very large and ‘real’ grip on reality.

For someone to walk through your door, or phone you – you yourself will have to do something!  There has to be an action of some sort on your part!

Absolutely, categorically and without a doubt, there are opportunities out there – in fact, again in my opinion – there are probably more opportunities than there are people on the planet, but there has to be some sort of action on your part, to make or turn that opportunity into a successful, viable reality.  Oh and . . . opening an office and staring at a phone, willing it to ring just doesn’t cut it!

You have to go out there and ‘create’ your opportunity.  You have to take your idea or your product and do something about it.

You have to use your talent, your strengths and go knocking on doors, attend Networking meetings, write blogs or articles for newspapers or magazines.  Get yourself interviewed on radio or TV.  Create a stir so that people will sit up and take notice!

Obviously as an SMME, you do not have access to a huge budget for marketing, so you have to be innovative and creative in finding different ways to get your name, your brand, your product, your service out to the people you want to sell it to.

Not only that, but if you are really smart and wide awake, you will ensure that whatever it is that you are peddling – product or service –  will be something that Joe Public actually wants as opposed to what you think Joe Public wants.

Whatever it is that you decide though – you can be sure, your actions will determine how successful you are.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Marketing 101 - Preparation and then . . . Nothing!

MARKETING 101 - Preparation and then . . . . Nothing!

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

I was reading an article (and yes I do read, I don’t just write articles) by Martha Beck in which she said “To fail is divine she (Martha Beck) has repeatedly, and she has nothing to show for it except freedom, serenity, and a sure –fire recipe for success.”

Yet we all have a frighteningly huge fear of failure.  The really crazy thing is that we fail on a daily basis, no matter how successful we are, we still experience failure on a daily basis.  The missed or late arrival for an appointment. The missed or late deadline. The closed bank teller.  They are all failures on our part, in one way or another.  Even though we all fail on a daily basis, our fear of failure is so great that it often overwhelms us and we go to great lengths to avoid it.

How do we try and avoid failure, well we prepare and organize and research and then we prepare some more, and we organize some more and then we do some more research and so it goes on!  Pretty soon we are so busy preparing and organizing and researching and running around like lunatics, to prevent failure that we don’t ever get to the point of actually getting started.  How scary is that?

Think about a baby who is learning how to walk.  No child that I have ever seen, got up onto his/her feet and walked after doing only crawling for the better part of their lives.  They all fall down and then with immense cheering and motivation and yes, even a little bribery I suspect, they get up again, only to fall down again.  Along the way however, their tenacity pays off and they start to walk.

Starting a new business is much the same, we all fail a little, adjust our thinking, pick ourselves up and get going again.  Remember tenacity will pay off, but you still have to take that first step.

It is a good idea to remember two basic points, I would actually write them down somewhere where you can see them every day.  They are:-
Just because you are running around frenetically all the time, doesn’t mean that you are actually achieving anything.  So Activity is not productivity!
Just because you have this brilliant idea for a product or a service that you think you can sell one to every individual on the planet – you still have to sell the first one, before you can sell the rest!  So make the first sale!

Bottom line, preparation and research are very important, but just get going!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Business Tips - Leveraging Off Your Customer Capital

BUSINESS TIPS - Leveraging Off Your Customer Capital

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

Everywhere I go these days, be it to Networking meetings like Business Engage (  or onto FaceBook or Destiny Connect ( or any of the many other sites that I contribute to, I hear the same story over and over again.  The story of “I have this brilliant concept, but I need funding – where can I go for funding?”  Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

So why is it so difficult to raise funding for your brilliant new business/concept/idea/product/service (insert whatever you like here)?  Well apart from the fact that you probably haven’t done your research properly or perhaps you haven’t done a Business Plan and often you don’t have any collateral, one of the biggest things is that you are trying to raise capital for your business before you have any paying customers!  Actually it is as simple as that.

The reality of the situation is that investors won’t be interested in your business or your ideas until such time as you can show them that you have got clients who are willing to buy and pay for whatever it is that you are trying to sell – until you have buying customers in place all you have is an idea or a dream and investors are in the business of business not pipe dreams.

Think about it logically for a moment and without emotion – you can theorize and pontificate to your hearts content about whether your idea/concept/product/service (insert whatever you like here) will make you the next billionaire in 5 seconds flat, you can do the sums on a piece of paper evidencing what could happen when it sells, the bottom line is that it is still a dream and it is still only a bunch of numbers on paper.  But when the first customer buys whatever it is that you are selling and then the next one buys and the next – nobody can argue with that – because sales are facts and facts are what the investors want to see.  Sales fact will give you leverage when you are looking for funding.

Every Rand that your business earns from your customers is worth it’s weight in gold, because it demonstrates the fact that people are prepared to pay for whatever it is that you are selling and this makes it less of a risk to the investor and tells them that you are serious about your business and that you are in the business of business to make money.

Facts, not dreams are what investors are looking for, so find some paying clients before you start looking for funding, it really will make your life a whole lot easier.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Monday, October 24, 2016

Motivation - Living Each Day

MOTIVATION – Living Each Day

By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from an anonymous donor who says “Live each day as if it is your last, but start each day anew.”

Live each day as if it is your last!  What a statement!  What a mindset change!  What a life style change!

I am of the opinion that we are all very guilty of becoming complacent.  Of taking life and our lives for granted or for just going through the motions of living.  In reflection this is very sad and such a waste.

Then there are those who often live each day as their last, but very seldom start each day as a ‘new’ day – they drag every hurt and perceived wrong doing through the dawn with them, making the burden of ‘living’ the day as if it were their last a very burdensome one.  Thinking on it, logic must tell you that the lighter the load the easier it would be to live the life, so to speak.

So it is my recommendation that we try to recognize what needs to be done on a daily basis, deal with what can be dealt with, accept what can be accepted and discard the rest – just walk away, it will not serve you in any way to hang onto feelings and emotions or perceived slights and transgressions.

In fact, not only will they not serve you, they will drag you down and in dragging you down, they will prevent you from living each day to the full.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Motivation - Let Life Begin


By Nikki Viljoen of N Viljoen Consulting CC

Today’s quote comes from Grace Hansen, who says “Don’t be afraid your life will end; be afraid that it will never begin.”

That surely brought a smile to my face, when I think about all the millions and billions of currency that have been spent to keep us young, take away the wrinkles and stop the ageing process.  Imagine if you will, if that money had been spent on ensuring that life was lived?

I am often amused at the idle conversation at a dinner party – where the discussion is usually centered around who has had what work done.  Quite frankly I can’t see the attraction, but then I guess I have more important things to think about, like the content of the next article or how I am going to assist a client with getting BEE compliant or assist them with getting the most benefit out of being a VAT vendor.

Perhaps that is because I have gotten to that place in my life where it’s not the “what I look like” that is important, but rather “who I have become” and what I want to achieve that takes precedence.

I have made peace with my bulging midriff, and my breasts that have lost the battle to gravity, and my ‘crock’ knee that was abused during my youth when I played a lot of sport.  So what if I can’t (or perhaps won’t even attempt) to run the four minute mile, or that I have grey streaks in my hair or that I have laughter lines around my eyes – they are all earned and deserved!

Rather think about the battles that I have fought and won!  Things like making a difference in the lives of individuals, playing it forward and giving back.  Think about the journey that I have taken where I have grown as an individual and a person (yes and around the midriff too).  Think about the person who has challenged the universe and come out the other end – positive and with a purpose in life.

So before life passes you by, and believe me it will – think about doing something worthwhile with it rather than running around frenetically looking for ways to prolong it.  No matter how much you stretch it, if you do nothing with it, nothing will have been gained.

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Marketing 101 - Making Time to Market - Part 4

MARKETING 101 - Making Time To Market – Part 4

By Nikki Viljoen – Viljoen Consulting

As promised last time, here are the last of the ideas, in this particular series, on ‘making time’ to market yourself/your business.

Social Event
Some of my best and even biggest clients have come out of a chance meeting at a social event or when I least expected them.  Let me explain – some years ago now, I was at a club, spending time with friends, laughing and chatting with not a thought of business in mind.  A young chap, standing at the bar on his own, came over and introduced himself.  Turns out he owns two very successful businesses and he has been both client and friend from that day (about four years ago now).  Chances are that I would not have met him anywhere else as we mix in totally different circles.

Remember though if it is a social occasion, to keep it light.  No-one wants to talk business all the time.  Exchange contact details, exchange cards and then get back to them the next day or at a later stage.

Relax and make it happen
If you are anything like me, you will understand that it is extremely difficult to relax in the normal sense of the word.  For example it is very difficult for me to even contemplate sitting at the beach for a couple of hours or lying next to the pool, soaking up the sunshine – my mind would completely rebel at such inactivity.

For me this would be the ideal opportunity to update my data base or plan new marketing strategies or to re-evaluate plans or goals or even for me to  write a couple of articles for my blog.  Whilst my body does need to relax, my mind still feels the need to be active and it is something that I cannot just ‘shut down’.

As you can see there are many small, yet effective ways in which to include your marketing requirements in your everyday activities.

The secret is to be innovative, be creative and just do it!

Nikki is an Internal Auditor and Business Administration Specialist who can be contacted on 083 702 8849 or or