Prohibition remains at Victor Steenmaker until employer complies
1 Jun 2011The prohibition notice that the Labour Department issued against HP Victor Steenmakers, a brick making business on Dewertsdorp Road, Bloemfontein remains in force until the employer complies with Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
The notice forbids the employer from removing barricades placed by Labour Inspectors on all machinery used to make bricks or continue any work prohibited as per Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993.
All operations were put to a halt at the business last week after Labour Inspectors uncovered high levels of non compliance and undermining of safety procedures, putting around ten workers at risk to injuries and diseases.
Among many contraventions, the employer was found to have never conducted any risk assessment of the work environment to identify and prevent workplace hazards. Workers were found to be working without safe operating procedures on the use and handling of machines and equipment used to make bricks, with no induction training provided on how to use the machinery. The Labour Inspector found that workers were exposed to high levels of noise which could lead to noise induced hearing loss or hearing impairment while the high level of dust produced during making bricks could expose them to silicosis.
The employer also failed to train workers to use ergonomical methods when handling bricks as excessive bending could lead to musculoskeletal injuries. In the meantime workplace incidents were not recorded and reported to the Department of Labour in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act.
None of the ten workers found at the workplace during the inspection was provided with protective clothing such as hearing protection, safety boots, overalls, welding aprons, goggles, gloves and masks to conduct their duties safely.
The workplace investigation follows a public outcry by one of the company’s clients who complained that the workers in that business were not provided with ablution facilities and relies on the nearby bushes to relieve themselves.
Upon investigation the department uncovered serious flouting of the law and that only a single toilet was provided for both males and females, which was unsafe to use as it posed danger to employees.
Failure by the employer to abide by the law and continue with work could lead the case to be forwarded to the department’s Chief Inspector Occupational Health and Safety and Offices of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for consideration and prosecution.
Cell: 082 806 1351
Issued by: Department of Labour
1 Jun 2011
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