A prohibition notice has been issued by Employment and Labour inspectors to Coega Steel in Gqeberha after the company was found to have flouted various health and safety regulations.
The discovery of noncompliance came to effect after an Occupational Health and Safety Inspector received anonymous pictures of Coega Steel employee with burns on hands and face due to an explosion that took place at the employer’s furnace department.
The life threatening incident which left employees traumatized revealed that a total of 5 employees were injured on the day. All these employees sustained multiple burns all over their bodies from face, neck, chest, head, hands, ankle due to the explosion.
It is alleged that the incident happened on Sunday, August 22 during a night shift and was not reported to the Department in terms of legislation. The employer continued with production on the same day without conducting an internal investigation in order to get to the root cause of the incident and concluded that the incident was due to human error.
Employment and Labour inspectors handed over prohibition notice to stop all operations at the furnace department where an explosion took place as there were no steps or action taken by the employer to prevent the re-occurrence of such incident. The employer was further instructed to attend to the traumatized employees.
“There is a high rate of fatal incidents in the sectors such as agriculture, chemicals, iron & steel as well as construction and investigations regarding the incident is underway. As the custodians of the Occupational Safety Act (OHSA), the Department will make sure that employee rights are protected and employers who contravene the law are brought to book,” said the Eastern Cape Head of Department; Nomfundo Douw-Jack.