The Federated Employer’s Mutual Assurance Company (FEM), which provides cover to employers in the construction industry, has revealed that during 2016 there were 889 accidents on construction sites in the Western Cape. Eight of these were fatal and 79 resulted in permanent disabilities.
Deon Bester, Occupational Health and Safety Manager at the Master Builders Association of the Western Cape (MBAWC), says: “In comparison to 2015, there has been a 10% increase in the number of accidents. Furthermore, our injury rate has grown by 20% and the number of fatalities has risen by 700%. These figures are unacceptably high. We should be striving for zero fatalities and zero harm. Based on my experience, providing proper training can go a long way towards eliminating accidents and achieving this target.”
To facilitate this, the MBAWC is offering on-site Occupational Health and Safety training to its members’ employees as well as to their subcontractors through its newly acquired training vehicle. This service is also extended to FEM policy holders who are not members of the Association.
“Employee behaviour is a large contributor to accidents. Through the training vehicle, we provide short, high impact sessions that will change their mind-sets regarding their actions or in-actions. As these will take place at our members’ various sites around the Western Cape, production interruptions will be minimal,” shares Bester.
He continues: “We want employees in the industry to understand that employers do care for their health and safety and are trying to put measures in place to reduce accidents and injuries.”
The 30-minute slots will cover issues such as scaffold precautions, working safely at heights, the correct use, storage and maintenance of personal protective equipment as well as Hazchem safety. This may however be adjusted in accordance with the needs of the member.
“The vehicle will spend between five and six hours on a site, with a timetable allowing for at least eight sessions, each of which will accommodate up to 12 people. There will be repeat visits to sites and some employees will receive numerous training sessions. “We would like to train at least 120 people per week,” adds Bester.
Equipped with a large screen TV and a gazebo to shelter workers whilst they undergo training, the vehicle is currently available two days a week and must be booked at least a fortnight in advance. A nominal fee of R 900, 00 (excluding VAT) will be charged per training day.
“Through the training vehicle, employees will receive the right information to equip them with the knowledge they need to perform tasks safely and without risk to their health and that of others,” concludes Bester.