Workers evacuated from nine unsafe buildings
as government acts on the occupational health and safety concerns.
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.