The Department of Labour has launched an investigation into circumstances surrounding the electrocution of a 21-year-old apprentice at Toyota’s Prospecton plant, south of Durban. The worker died last Thursday while installing a submersible water pump.
The DoL spokesperson said: “The prohibition notice has been served on the employer stopping the installation of the water pump until a proper risk assessment is conducted and also until safe work and lock out procedures are in place in line with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other related safety regulations.”
He said the notice would only be revoked once the inspector was fully satisfied that all the applicable safety standards were met by the company.
Toyota South Africa vice-president, Thapelo Molapo, confirmed the incident and said the worker had been employed with the company since 2009.
“Unfortunately we cannot divulge anymore details because we are working with the Department of Labour in the investigation. Once the full report is out we will be glad to share that with you,” Molapo said.
He would not release the name of the deceased, saying this was out of respect for his family.
The regional secretary of the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa, Mbuso Ngubane, said the incident was witnessed by other workers. He blamed the company, saying it could have been prevented.
“There is no amount of justification for this sort of thing. Given the amount of technology and facilities the company has, anything could have been prevented. We also appeal to the workers that feel there is a chance they might endanger their lives in the course of executing their duties to refuse to work until the danger is eliminated.”
Ngubane and other union representatives were expected to visit the family of the deceased on Wednesday.