Work­ers evac­u­ated from nine un­safe build­ings

as gov­ern­ment acts on the oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety con­cerns.

Inner City Gazette - - News - By Staff Re­porter news@in­ner-city-gazette.co.za

The Gaut­eng Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment has de­cided to evac­u­ate nine build­ings that were found to be non-com­pli­ant with the Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety Act. A re­port pre­sented to the Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment on 27 Au­gust 2018 re­vealed that nine build­ings that were sub­jected to a con­di­tional as­sess­ment did not meet the min­i­mum Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety stan­dards.

Premier David Makhura con­vened a spe­cial meet­ing of the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil to dis­cuss the is­sue of safety in the gov­ern­ment build­ings fol­low­ing an as­sess­ment re­port which found that gov­ern­ment build­ings did not meet min­i­mum Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety stan­dards.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil for­mally ap­proved the ac­tion to move staff from the af­fected build­ings to al­low for ur­gent work to make the build­ings safer and com­ply with the OHS Act. The af­fected build­ings are:

75 Fox Street, Cor­ner House, SA Perm, Thu­sanong, ABSA Build­ing, Sage Life, Bank of Lis­bon, Old Re­serve Bank and 30 Sim­monds Street

The move to ad­dress oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety con­cerns does not mean gov­ern­ment is shut­ting down. All Heads of Depart­ment have im­ple­mented disas­ter re­cov­ery plans to en­sure that gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions and ser­vice de­liv­ery con­tinue un­in­ter­rupted while ur­gent work is be­ing un­der­taken to ad­dress Oc­cu­pa­tional Health and Safety con­cerns.

Staff re­lo­cated from the af­fected build­ings are be­ing ac­com­mo­dated in var­i­ous gov­ern­ment premises in­clud­ing disas­ter re­cov­ery cen­tres, re­gional of­fices and tem­po­rary rented of­fice space. No staff have been given leave or sent home.

The work be­ing done on the build­ings should be com­pleted in two weeks in some of the build­ings while oth­ers may re­quire more time.

Once all the work to ad­dress the de­fects iden­ti­fied in the as­sess­ment re­port is com­plete the Depart­ment of Labour will be called to in­spect the build­ings.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil ex­pressed con­do­lences to the fam­i­lies and friends of the fire fight­ers who died when they at­tended to the fire that broke out at the Bank of Lis­bon on Wed­nes­day 05 Sep­tem­ber 2018. The Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil also wishes a speedy re­cov­ery to those the staff mem­bers and fire fight­ers who sus­tained in­juries and are still re­ceiv­ing treat­ment.

The Bank of Lis­bon build­ing is now in the hands of foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors and the Johannesburg Emer­gency Ser­vices who are con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­ter­mine the cause of the fire and the cir­cum­stances that led to the death of fire fight­ers. The Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil keenly awaits the out­come of the in­ves­ti­ga­tions.

The three de­part­ments that were ac­com­mo­dated in the Bank of Lis­bon build­ing will move into rented of­fices.

The pro­cure­ment process for of­fice ac­com­mo­da­tion is be­ing ex­pe­dited. While the process of find­ing rented of­fice space is un­der­way, the three de­part­ments are im­ple­ment­ing disas­ter re­cov­ery plans to en­sure that gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions con­tinue and ser­vice de­liv­ery is not in­ter­rupted.

While the con­di­tional as­sess­ment was only done on the build­ings that are owned by the gov­ern­ment, the Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil is con­cerned about safety in all gov­ern­ment of­fices, in­clud­ing the build­ings that are be­ing rented from pri­vate com­pa­nies.

The Depart­ment of In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment has been in­structed to meet with all pri­vate own­ers of build­ings that are cur­rently be­ing rented by the Gaut­eng Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ment to en­sure that they com­ply with the OHS Act.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil es­tab­lished a spe­cial com­mit­tee made up of the MECs for Fi­nance, Health, Ed­u­ca­tion, So­cial De­vel­op­ment, In­fra­struc­ture De­vel­op­ment, and Hu­mans Set­tle­ments and COGTA.

The com­mit­tee will as­sess the sit­u­a­tion on a daily ba­sis and make ap­pro­pri­ate in­ter­ven­tions to en­sure con­tin­u­a­tion of gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tions and un­in­ter­rupted ser­vice de­liv­ery.

The Bank of Lis­bon build­ing is now in the hands of foren­sic in­ves­ti­ga­tors and the Johannesburg Emer­gency Ser­vices who are con­duct­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions to de­ter­mine the cause of the fire and the cir­cum­stances that led to the death of fire fight­ers.

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