According to statistics from the Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company construction-related fatalities in South Africa come to a total of about 150 each year. It also shows that the construction industry suffers about 400 accidents each year in South Africa.
The statistics show that deaths in the construction industry have overtaken deaths in South Africa’s mining industry.
Apparently these statistics do not include motor vehicle related accidents experienced within the construction industry as a whole. If these statistics were taken into account then approximately 150 fatalities could be added to the average.
To date the Department of Labour in South Africa spends approximately R2.5 billion each year on compensation claims related to health and safety in the construction sector.
Safety training in construction industry way behind developed countries
Some within the industry say that the problem in the South African construction industry is that training is about 15 years behind the level of training in the developed countries. Recently new health and safety regulations were implemented to bolster the existing Health and Safety Act. Now company directors will be held responsible for any fatal accidents as a result of any negligence by their employees. This fact puts huge pressure on company directors within the construction industry to ensure that all safety measures possible are complied with. All workers should be supplied with personal protective equipment and all construction sites should have protective equipment such as fall protection and barrier fencing. Safety equipment on construction sites is an essential and cannot be dispensed with.
Tladi Marumo, the construction specialist of Routledge Modise’s law firm, says that a large number of accidents are not reported and he also states that the Department of Labour does not have the necessary systems in place to collate and consolidate all relevant information relating to accidents in the construction industry. He adds that this makes it extremely difficult to get an accurate overall picture of how sever the problem is. Many investigations are not done properly, according to Marumo.
The Department of Labour last did a “blitz” inspection in 2007 and of the 1415 construction sites visited 1388 were not compliant with the Health and Safety Act.
Marumo says that the construction industry needs to emulate the South African Mining industry and needs the platforms and commitment from all stakeholders including government, companies and labour.
To help with safety measures in the construction sector Protect-in supplies the construction industry with fencing to protect workers. Our fencing is lightweight yet extremely strong. An additional benefit with our barrier fencing is that it can display advertisements on the barricade. It is also possible to display safety information on the barrier fencing.