A construction worker was buried alive at the site of the new Mantsopa Hospital in Ladybrand in the Free State, the Department of Labour said on Thursday.
“The construction worker was busy working inside a three meter trench taking measurements of the soil levels when excavated sand fell on (him) killing him instantly,” said spokesman Wisane Mavasa.
Construction companies Group Five and Tshepo ya Rona were the constructors.
The department’s inspectors have banned all excavation work at the site and are investigating the incident, Mavasa said.
“The Department of Labour urges all employers and employees to ensure that work places comply with the regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.”
Inspectors of the Department of Labour are to launch a formal investigation into the cause of death of the worker.
The inspectors will be probing circumstances surrounding the tragedy that befell 35-year-old Joseph Tshabalala.
The probe will check whether the employer followed the regulations of Occupational Health and Safety Act at the time of the incident.
A report with recommendations will be forwarded to the Department’s Chief Inspector for consideration and recommendations to the National Director of Public Prosecutions.
Meanwhile, the department is also investigating why mielie farmer, JH Boshof, of Roodedam in Hoopstad, did not report the death of one his workers, Shadrack Malaku, 28, to the Department of Labour immediately after the incident as required by law.
According to a preliminary report, Malaku died while trying to clear out a jammed conveyor in a silo when he fell into a pit and was left covered by the raw product from the silo, resulting in his death.