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Department of Labour Implores the Construction Industry into Partnership to Reverse the Escalating Loss of Life


On the eve of the coming into effect of the new dispensation for the registration of Construction Health and Safety professionals and the implementation of the construction work permit in terms of Construction Regulation 2014, the Department of Labour has found that the construction industry has a less than 50 percent rate of compliance to health and safety. 


Department of Labour Chief Director: Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), Tibor Szana said the construction industry has been beset with incidents of fatalities for the past 15 years. Szana said, "the level of incidents seemed to be repeating themselves over and over again". Szana said the construction sector is surpassed by iron and steel sector in terms of large volumes of claims lodged with the Compensation Fund, a workers injury and diseases claim fund. 


He asked why the construction industry seemed to be failing to reverse the high levels of fatalities?


Some of the recent incidents that have put a black mark in the construction industry include the collapse of the Tongaat Mall that left two dead and 29 workers injured; and the collapse of a house  in Meyersdal that led to the death of seven workers, hospitalisation of seven and survival of eight workers. 


Szana was addressing the Department of Labour Construction Sector Seminar held at the Emperor's Palace in Boksburg. The seminar was preceded by a comprehensive and specialised training session targeted at departmental Provincial Chief Inspectors, Specialist Inspectors, and Principal Inspectorson the elements of administering of the new Construction Regulation 2014 and the adjudicating of construction permits.


The seminar was held under the: "Construction Regulation 2014-Implementation Phase". Over 650 delegates attended the seminar.


The Construction Work Permit of the Construction Regulation 2014 comes into effect on 7 August 2015, and will require registration of Health and Safety professionals in the construction industry in order to address the challenge of incompetency in the construction health and safety industry .

Szana said while there were teething problems, but these were surmountable. Szana said: "Today marks the collaborative effort with the construction industry. The challenge is to step up inspection and enforcements".

He said going forward the department wanted to spend less time with employers who do what the department expects of them, and pointed out that the department wants to spend more time with those who do not comply. Szana reiterated that partnerships in this sector were imperative to healthy and safe working environments. 


"We need your assistance ... that unnecessary Lossiemouth life cannot be tolerated. It is imperative that the industry joins hands with the department to reverse the intolerable loss of life," he said 


Media Release: Department of Labour: 09 July 2015




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