Air Products South Africa has recognised and honoured employees who have stood out in the past year for their outstanding performance in customer service and commitment to the company’s ethos.

“We strive to create a work ethic among our people for excellence and for going the extra mile. I believe it is the quality and calibre of our employees that has put the company in a leading position in the industry for quality output and service excellence,” says Mike Hellyar, Managing Director of Air Products South Africa.

Air Products’ annual Dexter Baker Awards – named after one of the company’s past leaders who was a doyen of safety and quality – was held recently in Johannesburg.

“Safety and quality have become a way of life for each and every person at Air Products South Africa. However, there are always those individuals who rise above the norm when it comes to achieving excellence. Our annual awards ceremony is a highlight on our calendar, and gives us the opportunity to pay tribute to employees, teams and facilities for their dedication to the company which is evident from their outstanding results,” says Helllyar.

Safety awards and accolades

Among Air Products South Africa’s safety awards are the Leonard Parker Pool Award and Chairman’s Shield, and this year both awards were given to the company’s Empangeni Facility. This was for the best improvement and highest EH & S (environmental, health and safety) standards score, thereby ensuring adherence to Air Products’ standards, the NOSA Safety Management system and Best Safety Practices.

This year’s ‘Near Miss’ award went to Carel Adams, in recognition of his dedication in reporting the most ‘near misses’. This is the second time consecutively that Adams has won the award.

In the industrial gas industry a solid safety track record is paramount to a company’s performance, and special accolades are given to those Air Products facilities which have achieved three or more years without loss of time through an incident.

A number of facilities have achieved this, but the company’s Newcastle cylinder facility got top honours this year for zero loss of time through an incident in its 40 years of operation. Jasper Allardice, Regional Sales Manager-KwaZulu Natal (KZN), was on hand to receive the award.

“We are extremely proud of Newcastle’s outstanding record for safety on site – they have truly set the company benchmark,” comments Hellyar.

The 2013 winners

A number of other individuals, as well as teams, received awards for achieving safety and quality excellence.

The Geoff Prevett Customer Service internal award, named after Air Products South Africa’s first managing director, was given to the company’s MIS team for their excellence shown in customer service. The Geoff Prevett Customer Service external award for service excellence was won by the company’s Witbank facility.

Recognising total commitment

An important part of the awards ceremony are the Managing Director`s Special Awards’, which recognise employees who show a total commitment to quality. “Every year we pay tribute to individual employees who create outstanding value for our customers. It is this level of service that differentiates us from our competitors,” says Hellyar.

The 2014 Managing Director’s Individual Award went to Hein van Tonder, Bulk Distribution Manager at Air Products. He was commended for his exceptional co-operation and commitment in providing superior customer service to Air Products’ operations and customers.

Another Managing Director’s Individual Award was given to Bill Norton for his dedication and hard work in the successful implementation of one of the company’s projects.

Two Air Products teams were honoured in this year’s Managing Director’s awards. The company’s Bulk Distribution received an award for their superior performance shown in exceeding customer expectations; and their role in supporting both external and internal customers.

The second Managing Director’s Team award was given to members of the company’s Packaged Gas Customer Service Department, who were recognised for their personal commitment and dedication in assisting an employee.

The winner of the coveted Dexter Baker team award was the G-Plant project team which has been responsible for the successful commissioning of Air Products’ new air separation unit (ASU,) code named G-Plant. The new ASU is the second largest facility of its kind at the company’s Vanderbijlpark site and represents the most significant investment by an industrial gas company in the gas industry during the last decade.

Last but by no means least, the Dexter Baker individual award went to Anthony Badenhorst, for exceptional co-operation and teamwork shown in the execution of customer service and the signing of new accounts.

“An industry is only as good as its people. The emphasis we place on safety, quality and continuous improvement will have no lasting impact if we do not focus on our single most important asset: our people.

We congratulate every individual, team and facility that has been honoured at this year’s awards. Their total commitment to quality and safety create real value for our customers and is what sets us apart from our competitors,” Hellyar concludes.