Safety amid a deadly pandemic: Inside CCBN’s resilience

By Staff Writer

As a more infectious and deadlier Covid-19 third wave continues to ravage communities across the region, the journey for most corporates to remain sustainable and steer forward has been one driven by resilience and agility.
This has been synonymous with Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia, whose mechanisms to respond to the ever changing demands of Covid-19 strewn environment were centered on ensuring safety of all its stakeholders, primarily the employees.
By making stakeholders a central pillar of its operations, Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia has moved towards addressing environmental, economic, and social objectives in a holistic manner, and meeting the needs of the present and the future.
“Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia has focused on keeping our people safe and taking care of our communities, while protecting the sustainability of our business.
“We have implemented measures across all our operations to prioritize the safety and health of our employees. This includes providing support to ensure that all employees whose roles allow them to work from home are able to do so,” explains Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia General Manager, Pottie de Bruyn adding that the company has also made sure that medical support is available for those who fall ill.
While it has become norm in Namibia that the greater chunk of the workforce works from home to minimize risk of infection, Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia has made a doctor available around the clock for all employees for online consultations and has also ensured that employees with mild to severe symptoms are linked to proper home caregivers subsequently ensuring they have full access to the medical care they need.
Apart from this, de Bruyn highlights that Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia has also moved to assist employees to obtain medication, nebulisers and oxygen, should they need it, with a task group following up regularly on all employees who are in self-isolation or fighting the virus at home.
“Good hygiene and other behaviors such as social distancing have been communicated and reinforced through internal communication mediums.
“We continue to communicate with our people at regular intervals to remind them of the safety measures they should take to protect themselves and their loved ones. As part of this awareness campaign, our general manager records regular video messages to staff, reminding them to stay safe and to vaccinate as soon as possible,” further explained de Bruyn who also stated that to ensure the risk of cross infection is contained, the company has resorted to conduct onsite Covid-19 testing and track infections and close contacts on a daily basis.
In efforts to further fight Covid-19, the company’s operations stock and procure cleaning and disinfecting agents and a deliberate effort to ensure that items required for operations, that might become scarce due to the virus outbreak, are procured upfront.
All reception areas, including door handles and handrails, canteens and office areas, as well as shared equipment, all personnel have a facility to wash and sanitise their hands before starting work, delivery trucks and other company vehicles are also equipped with hand sanitiser and our operations are enabled to sanitise vehicles on return from the market. This is coupled by contactless thermometers are available on site to measure temperature at the entry points as well as sufficient stock of PPE, especially disposable overalls, masks, surgical gloves and safety glasses.
Going an extra mile to ensure safety of employees, Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia has ensured that all operations have an isolation room with trained personnel which has meant that personnel that may come into contact with affected or at-risk employees are trained in recognising the symptoms and how to protect themselves.
“In addition, contingency plans have been implemented, and as the situation evolves, we will take additional actions as needed to help protect the health and safety of our employees, our consumers, our customers, our partners and our communities. We will continue to closely monitor the situation across our region and adapt our protocols and actions accordingly. Critical updates and changes will be communicated. We want to assure all of our partners, suppliers and external stakeholders that we remain vigilant and will do everything in our power to prevent the further spread of the virus,” commented de Bruyn.
Notably also, at each of Coca-Cola Beverages Namibia operations, a local health authority approved medical facility has been identified to refer possible affected employees as well as appropriate methods of transportation. At the same time plans are in place for minimizing contact of truck drivers with office bound or other operational personnel.
“We have introduced “runner roles”, where one admin person handles all the delivery documentation, while truck drivers remain in vehicles. Personnel are encouraged to advise in advance when feeling ill and stay at home when not well. Non-punitive leave policies apply,” concludes de Bruyn.