Klass Looch Associates

Employer OHS Champion since 1986 

Will heads roll? IOL of 20 October 2008. 'Structural engineers have begun an investigation into the causes of the collapse of a Roodepoort building and would provide a detailed report on the incident to the labour department. Department spokesperson Page Boikanyo said on Monday that the department would only consider its next action after it had assessed the content of the report. He was not certain how long the investigation would take. Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana expressed his condolences to the families of the two men who died. Mdladlana said employers should ensure that work environments were conducive to worker safety and that employees had all necessary safety equipment on hand. On Thursday last week half of a partially built office block collapsed completely, killing two men and injuring 14 in Little Falls in Roodepoort, police spokesperson Inspector Balan Muthan confirmed. He said police would assist in the criminal investigation and would act if the findings by experts indicated criminal behaviour. He said all evidence would have to be gathered and placed before a state prosecutor who would then take a decision on behalf of the courts on whether to prosecute. Johannesburg emergency management services spokesperson Percy Morokane identified the dead as Malawian Arnold Mwale, 19, and Mozambican Arthur Nombora, 24. Nombora's body was trapped under the rubble until emergency workers retrieved it on Saturday.

Probe into collapsed Roodepoort building begins. SABC of 20 October 2008. 'Structural engineers are expected to begin their assessment today of the building which collapsed in Little Falls in Roodepoort, west of Johannesburg last week. Three workers were killed and three others injured in Thursday's collapse of a partially completed building. The Labour Department says that it has a security company that is ensuring that no activity is taking place at the site until investigations into the collapse of the three-storey building are completed. “We are also investigating the actual operation itself, the business, the contractor that is building that site to ensure that all their plans, their permission, their certificates everything is in order and we should have a clearer picture by Tuesday or Wednesday in the week,” says department's spokesperson, Kenny Fick.

R'poort building not registered. News24 of 18 October 2008. 'The building that collapsed in Roodepoort, killing two, was not registered with the Labour Department, SABC reported on Saturday. "What we have determined up until now is that the contractor did not inform the department that construction was taking place here," said Labour Department investigator Kenny Fick. This means health and safety checks at the site would not have been done by the department. Fick said the department would be investigating the cause of the accident in the next few days. "We need to talk to the inspectors and the Jo'burg Metro to determine what they've done, and how this plan was approved, and that we'll be doing in the coming week." SABC also said a demolition expert will be called in to accurately assess what remains of the building. The department apparently hopes to flatten it. On Saturday, the body of a man was discovered in the rubble of the collapsed Little Falls office block under construction. Police spokesperson Inspector Karen Jacobs said the body was discovered around 09:30. Johannesburg Emergency Services spokesperson Percy Morokane identified the body as belonging to 25-year-old Artur Nombora from Myembane province in Mozambique. One other person was killed and fourteen were injured in the building collapse. Nombora's brother, Jorge Magerizane, told the SABC on Saturday: "I'm hurting. "My brother's body must now go back home, and we don't have money to transport him. "Maybe the South African government can help us."

I assume by 'registering' the building they are referring to Notification of Construction Work? It is also highly improbable that DoL inspectors would have visiting the scene upon such notification. RHL.

Body found in building rubble. News24 of 18 October 2008. 'The body of a man was discovered in the rubble of a collapsed Little Falls office block under construction in Roodepoort on Saturday, Gauteng police said. Inspector Karen Jacobs speaking from the scene said the body was discovered around 09:30 on Saturday. Heavy earth moving equipment had managed to excavate large parts of the rubble and cleared much of the top rubble around an area where rescue dogs had reacted earlier. The body of the man was discovered in the area rescue workers had been digging out since Thursday. The identity of the man would be established to determine if he was the missing builder identified by the Star newspaper as 23-year-old Artur Magaizane. Police photographers would now document the scene for investigative purposes, Jacobs said

Minister: Boss knew of cracks. News24 of 18 October 2008. 'Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana alleged that the employer at the construction site where a partially built office collapsed in Little Falls, Roodepoort on Thursday had been aware of cracks in the construction. The Star newspaper reported on Friday that Mdladlana said the workers had complained about cracks in the walls but that their employer insisted they continue working on the site. "We heard building inspectors were here but they are not from the Department of Labour. They alleged it was safe while workers saw cracks in it (the structure)," he told the newspaper. A construction worker who had been on site when the building fell, Joseph Nevhuhlulu, said there had been cracks in the building for the past few weeks and alleged that the owner was aware of it. The building started shaking on Wednesday and inspectors were called to the site but workers were instructed to continue working after the site was found to be safe. The Department of Labour had issued the construction company responsible for the site, Dunehill Investments, with a notice of prohibition to stop work on the site until the department had finished its investigations. Efforts to speak to the employer failed because he referred them to his lawyers, Mdladlana told the newspaper, and information had to be gleaned from an injured worker. Honeydew police Inspector Karen Jacobs said attempts to rescue a trapped worker had stopped around 22:00 on Thursday because the area where sniffer dogs had reacted and rescuers were working had started to collapse. Rescue work resumed at 06:00 on Friday. The worker was still believed to be missing under the rubble. She added that the top part of the rubble had become extremely unstable. Engineers were being called in to advise on how to proceed. They would decide on the correct way to proceed with the rescue effort. At present rescue workers were excavating the rubble from the side using heavy earth moving equipment.

Shoddy work behind collapse?. News24 of 17 October 2008. ' Experts suspect shoddy workmanship was behind the collapse of a building in Roodepoort which killed a young construction worker on Thursday morning. Arnold Mwale, 19, was killed when half of the nearly completed office block, in the Little Falls area of Roodepoort, collapsed at 08:15 on Thursday. "It's unclear why it collapsed, but what we hear from the experts here is that it was shoddy work," Johannesburg emergency services spokesperson Percy Morokane told News24. He was under instructions from the contracting company responsible for the building not to disclose their name. Half of the building fell in when the top two stories collapsed onto the bottom storey. Thirteen other workers at the site were seriously injured while one was critically injured. Rescue workers were searching the rubble for another worker, believed to be trapped. Morokane said 28 rescue workers, including teams from the police dog unit, were at work despite the dangers the site still posed. "It's a serious exercise because one section of the building is still standing and there are cracks showing so there is a great risk," he said of continuing rescue operations. "We can't rule out that there might be other people trapped." Mwale's brother, Kenneth, who worked at a building opposite the construction site, was at the scene on Thursday afternoon. The two had worked in South Africa for the past five months. Meanwhile Sapa reported that the mass of rubble as wide and broad as four tennis courts, was very unstable with rescue workers stepping gingerly and keeping to stable areas only. Emergency workers had cleared rubble by hand around an area where rescue dogs from the police dog unit were at work, attempting to locate the missing construction worker. But the sniffer dogs were being distracted by the scent of the construction workers' bags. Rescue efforts were further being hampered by rubble continuously shifting and settling into the hole where the missing man was presumed to be located. Representatives from the Department of Labour were on scene as well as officials from the city's building control section, Morokane said.

Two die, four trapped as building collapses. IOL of 16 October 2008. 'Four workers were still trapped inside the remains of a 20m-high building that collapsed in Little Falls, west of Joburg this morning, claiming the lives of two others. Fifteen workers were rescued and transported to hospital after sustaining injuries during the fall. One had to be airlifted to Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital with serious injuries. Emergency Services spokesperson, Percy Morokane said 40 workers were on site when an office they were building collapsed at about 8.15am on Thursday. By 11am, personnel from the EMS rescue team and SA Police Service Dog Unit were still searching for those still trapped. An eyewitness, Stallo Paraskeva, told The Star that she was sitting in the balcony a few metres away when she heard a "hectic rumble". "I thought the noise might be coming from the basement. When I looked I realised that the building was shaking and moving. Soon after, the building collapsed," she said. Paraskeva said she saw panicking construction workers - who had been on the roof - jumping down. She said those who were inside seemed to have been trapped. Workers who managed to jump down ran, trying to help their colleagues, she said, adding that she then called the emergency services. A shaken builder who was on the roof when the building collapsed said he jumped and ran to try to help his colleagues who were working inside. "We were scared to go inside because we were not sure whether the rest of the building was going to collapse," he said, claiming that they saw some cracks on the building when they arrived at work yesterday morning and reported this to the foreman. He said the foreman called the construction owner who then summoned inspectors to the site. The inspectors apparently said it was safe for the workers to continue working. However, The Star could not confirm with developers, who said they were only going to comment once the situation has been brought under control. At the time of going to press, the rescue workers were busy removing rubble to search for the four trapped inside the building. Rescuers search for survivors after a Little Falls building collapsed this morning.