Friday, June 12, 2009
Dr Rodney Milford of the (CIDB)Construction Industry Development Board said that statistics available to measure fatalities and injuries in the industry are severely lacking, which makes painting an accurate picture of current trends difficult. I can't agree more. This industry still remains bound to individual contract measurement by clients - if they wish to. The compensation commissioner does not appear capable of presenting any usable statistics as the latest ones available date back to 1999, moe than 10 years outdated. According to the Department of Labour (DoL) there were 162 fatalities in the construction industry, excluding motor vehicle accidents, in 2007/08, compared with 79 in 2006/07, 81 in 2005/06, and 54 in 2004/05. These statistics, even if slightly skewed clearly indicate that an improvement is not what we are seeing. Milford explains that South Africa is not lacking in health and safety legislation, but rather that enforcement is sorely lacking. Also, those government officials inspecting building sites lacked the requisite construction expertise to spot noncompliance. Contractors due to these circumstances are being able to manipulate there results, thereby creating a false sense of safety. Milford suggests that the public sector should use its procurement potential to achieve improvements in the construction industry's health and safety performance. Take ownership and scrutinize contractor's safety when adjudicating contracts. (This is something I have personally been pushing for the last 10 years with limited success as even clients tend to prefer a blood tainted product which was constructed cheaply) Only prequalified contractors with recognised health and safety management, skills and competencies should be allowed to compete for contracts. This in todays environment falls squarely with government as they have a R787 billion infrastructure budget they will be allocating in the next 5 years. If you are a client, are you doing your bit to ensure your contractor is competent to provide your project safely? To read the full article published in the Engineering News click the title link.