Statistics published by Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (FEM) reveal that 6,423 workplace accidents requiring medical attention were reported in 2021. Of these reported incidents, 56 resulted in fatalities.In addition, the report indicates that 11,761 days were lost in 2021 as a result of employees being injured and five people were permanently disabled. In light of this, the Master Builders’ Association Western Cape (MBAWC) urges its members, employers and employees in the construction industry to prioritise safety both on and off site at all times with a view to eliminating accidents. Health and Safety Manager at the MBAWC, Deon Bester, says the FEM figures are concerning. “Not only is any death, injury or disablement unacceptable, the downtime that occurs as a result of accidents impacts the overall delivery of projects”.
“This is why employers and employees need to work together when it comes to health and safety compliance. The Occupational Health and Safety Act states that all employees have the right to work in a safe environment, but with that comes the responsibility of complying with the health and safety standards that have been put in place,” he adds.A closer look at the most common accidents that occur within the construction industry reveals that motor accidents are one of the largest contributors to the issue. “This is a very difficult area to control, but people who make use of company transport, especially those being transported in open vehicles, must know the rules of the road. These employees should not allow themselves to be transported in unsafe modes of transport. Employers operating these vehicles should always ensure that they abide by the requirements of the National Road Traffic Act, as well as the requirements of section 23 of the Construction Regulations,” says Bester. While many contractors and employers invest significantly in training their staff about health and safety compliance, it is up to all parties to ensure adherence to the safety learnings and on-site measures. The MBAWC offers assistance to its members to ensure compliance with the Health and Safety Act. “We believe that nobody should lose their life while at work, which is why we offer advice on how our members can ensure that safety is constantly prioritised – both on and off site,” concludes Bester.