The Master Builders Association North (MBA North) has hailed member companies who dominated the 2021 National Safety Awards competition, notably two construction firms that have consistently maintained a record of industry-leading safety practices.
Gerhard Roets, Health and Safety Manager at MBA North, says construction remains a hazardous profession, with health and safety further challenged by the Covid-19 pandemic over the past two years. “The fact that our members – and construction companies across South Africa – remained visibly committed to safety best practice amid the pressure of catching up on time lost during lockdown is commendable,” he says.
“We are particularly encouraged by the example set by two of our members – Belo & Kies Construction and Tiber Construction – who have consistently led by example over the past decade.”
Since 2010, Belo & Kies Construction and Tiber Construction projects have been placed in the top three every year. In 2021, Belo & Kies took first place for three projects – Sasol Garage Geduld, Co Space and Bethal Mall, with a total of 17 projects in the top three in the past 10 years. Tiber Construction took first place for two projects this year – Village Deep Plant Yard and Teraco JB4 Phase 1, with a total of 12 projects in the top three over the past 10 years.
In the 2021 National Safety Awards, MBA North members were placed first in 6 of 10 categories.
Category I – R750m plus
First: ENZA Construction (Steve Tshwete Hospital)
Category G – R250m – R450m
First: Tiber Construction (Teraco JB4 Phase 1)
Category F – R100m – R250m
First: Belo & Kies Construction (Bethal Mall)
Category E – R40m – R100m
First: Belo & Kies Construction (Co Space)
Category D – R15m – R40m
First: Belo & Kies Construction (Sasol Garage Geduld
Category C – Less than R15m
Third: Washirika 3 Oaks (Life Health Care Parkland Hospital Springs)
Category B2 – Manufacturers
Second: WBHO Construction (Signage Manufacturing)
Category B1 – Allied trades
Fourth: Form-Scaff (Witbank Yard)
Category A – Plant and Storage Yards
First – Tiber Construction (Village Deep Plant Yard)
“We congratulate the winners for maintaining best practice during a particularly challenging period, during which adherence to Covid-19 protocols added a new dimension to the audits,” says Roets. “Health and safety on sites remains a top concern for the construction sector, and the seriousness with which participants compete in both the MBA North regional competition and the national competition reflect this,” he says.
The Federated Employers’ Mutual Assurance Company (FEM) statistics from the first half of 2021 noted that there had been a total of 1,308 accidents including 6 fatal accidents and 163 permanent disabilities not resulting in pension in the period under review. The accidents resulted in 2,980 lost days with an average cost per accident of R63,186. The majority of the accidents were struck by incidents (36.47%), followed by striking against accidents (12.39%), slip or over-exertion (12.31%), motor vehicle accidents (9.63%) and fall on to different levels (8.87%). 581 Covid-19 claims were also lodged during the period.
Roets says, “It is important to note that the compensation amounts for accidents are relatively low. Given the pain and suffering involved, and the fact that most construction workers are the chief breadwinners, a safety-first policy is by far the best to follow.”
“Despite the fact that the Department of Employment and Labour recently commended the construction sector on its high health and safety compliance rate, the FEM statistics indicate that there is room for improvement. We urge all stakeholders to continue their efforts to ensure all the necessary systems, structures and protocols are in place and strictly adhered to,” concludes Roets.