South Africa. Inspectors and officials from the Department of Labour made a surprise blitz visit to the Soccer City construction site in Johannesburg on Monday morning.
The team inspected the Health and Safety elements of the environment at the stadium, which will be one of the biggest in Africa when complete and will host the FIFA World Cup final in 2010.
Minister of Labour Membathisi Mdladlana said he was mostly satisfied that the Health and Safety measures were being effectively implemented following his tour of the site.
"This is one the biggest construction sites in the country. We are pleased to see they are vigilant when it comes to protecting the safety of the employees," he said.
The minister and inspectors visited the top tier of the stadium where more seats were being added as well as the roof and parking lot. The pitch, however, was packed with containers and could not be accessed by the team.
They also checked on whether Safety measures were being implemented for workers and if they were wearing protective clothing and masks.
Grinaker-LTA, the construction company currently refurbishing and upgrading the stadium, was praised by the minister. The company has achieved an injury-free record for its 2500 workers since construction began.
"It is unbelievable that not a single serious injury has been reported from this big construction site.
"This is a great achievement because we do not want the pace of construction to be halted by avoidable accidents," he said.
However, the team did note that where there were no supervisors and some of the workers were not wearing their personal protective measures.
Mr Mdladlana said the failure of companies to promote and implement Safety measures for workers in the construction industry was a major concern for the Department and that was why they would be holding similar blitz inspections on other constructions sites.
"This is an area which we are going to address quite vigorously during our inspections.
"This is the beginning of our blitz inspection. We will clamp down all forms of poor safety standards. Where workers safety is not a priority we will be vocal and take appropriate steps," he said.
The minister told BuaNews that he would regularly check in on Soccer City from time to time to encourage them to continue implementing safety measures for workers.
"We want employers to understand that when workers go to their respective jobs, they are not going there to die or to sustain serious injuries. Workers are bread winners of our families, so we need to protect them," said Mr Mdladlana.
Brian Carter of Grinaker-LTA, told BuaNews that every Thursday morning before they assume their duties, construction workers assemble to remind each other about the importance safety measures.
Source: BuaNews (Tshwane)
By: Nthambeleni Gabara
25 August 2008