Pretoria: Stakeholders in the construction sector are to sign a historic accord aimed at improving safety in the industry on Friday.
These include stakeholders from business, organised labour, government, civil society groups and academics.
The event, which is being hosted by the Department of Labour, forms part of sector-specific accords which focus on the top four unsafe fields in the country, including iron and steel, agriculture as well as manufacturing.
The ceremony will follow speeches by representatives of organised business, the Congress of SA Trade Unions, National Council of Trade Unions as well as the Federation of Unions of SA, while Nkosinathi Nhleko, Director-General of the Department of Labour, will speak on the role of the department in improving the status of health and safety in the construction industry.
“The decision to give this industry a special focus next week is driven by our desire to ensure that health and safety occupies a central place in the decisions of bankers, investors and designers,” said Phumi Maphaha, manager in the department responsible for occupational health and safety.
“It is unacceptable that we spent R2.3 billion, R2.5 billion and R2.7 billion in the last three financial years in compensation towards health and safety-related claims in the construction sector,” he said.
Maphaha said he was convinced that with the buy-in from all stakeholders, the figures could be halved and the money put to better use.
According to the latest figures, the sector contributes 16 percent towards South Africa’s gross domestic product, employing just under 1.8 million workers.
Maphaha said attempts should be made to reduce the death toll currently standing at 50 per year.
The meeting will start at 9am at the Birchwood Conference Centre.