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Health benefits programme launched

Online since 5.03.2017 • Filed under Professions - Construction Health & Safety • From Issue 20 page(s) 45

Local engineering firm, TDS Projects recently launched an employee occupational health benefits programme aimed at improving the lives of their staff. The initiative, administered by OCSACare, aims to help support employee wellness for TDS employees working on sites in remote areas.

Lack of access to healthcare at fault

According to Lorrette Coetzee, who headed up implementation of the programme, TDS started noticing a trend in sick leave spiking at certain times of the year. ‘We found that lack of access to adequate healthcare and medical benefits affected our employees’ ability to perform and in some cases, lead to absenteeism,’ explains Coetzee. ‘OCSACare offered us the ideal solution. They negotiated with local doctors, dentists and pharmacists to ensure that staff in remote areas would have access to affordable healthcare that they were previously deprived of due to cost,’ she explains. Some of TDS’s staff members were already on the cheapest medical aid options, but still had trouble in accessing medical care because of the restrictions that these medical aids funds imposed on both the members, as well as on the service providers. In seeking help, TDS turned to Rudolf de Bruyn of Optivest Health Solutions which is responsible for administering TDS’s staff medical aid programme.

‘We enquired about the availability of affordable products for blue collar workers and found that there was very little choice. We were adamant that we wanted an affordable product that provided good service and quality products to our staff. Optivest provided various options and among them was OCSACare which provided the ideal solution as it is not a medical aid, but rather an occupational health product,’ says Coetzee.

Evidence shows that workplace health programmes can be highly effective in promoting healthy behaviours and ensuring employers offer South Africans a healthy and safe working environment. Recent media reports indicate that medical aid contributions will be increasing drastically, which for TDS management indicates the worrying prospect that private medical care is set to become a luxury that few can afford. We value our staff and it is disheartening that statistically only around 20% of all employees can afford private healthcare,’ Coetzee says.

Basic medical care added

‘With OCSACare, the aim is for our staff is to get access to respectable, basic medical care, prevent and manage sickness and disease timeously, provide access to local medical service providers in remote areas, thus eliminating the additional travel costs, achieving an improved work-life and removing the elitist stigma around medical care by providing everyone with the same benefits,” Coetzee explains.

TDS will now contribute fully to OCSACare’s programme on behalf of all their employees. To compliment the services that employees will have access to and to ensure that employee wellness is addressed holistically, OCSACare held an information session with the staff and TDS has implemented a monthly health and safety campaign. All of this is now offered to TDS employees alongside their current medical aid and pension fund benefits offered to permanent staff. Coetzee says that these benefits will only be offered to employees who are the main member and most likely the family breadwinner. However, she hopes to find an affordable option to extend care to family members in the future.

‘Helping our employees, and eventually their families too, creates a win-win situation. We are able to improve the general state of health of our employees and TDS benefits by managing sick leave and limiting absenteeism which has an undesirable effect on productivity,’ she adds.

TDS Projects

T +27 (0)12 345 3632           


Issue 20

Issue 20

March 2017

This article was featured on page 45 of
To Build Magazine Issue 20.

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