Grayston bridge collapse scaffolding cleared with care

The Sandton bridge collapse scaffolding would be cleared after contractors Murray & Roberts get approval for a detailed incident site protocol.

There was a meeting of 26 role players, including Murray & Roberts, legal representatives, Department of labour, Johannesburg metro, Johannesburg Roads Agency, engineers, Foamscaff, and interested parties, in October 2015.

The meeting followed a request by Murray & Roberts to seek permission to remove the temporary collapsed structure on the site of the incident.

“The request to remove the collapsed structure was not granted, until all stakeholders have sufficiently documented the site of the accident,” said newly appointed Presiding Inspector Lennie Samuel.

“No stakeholder should feel prejudiced by the removal,” he said. The meeting had agreed that Murray & Roberts should first prepare a protocol of procedures to be followed, the stages of removal, safety specifications, safety plans, and related matters.

The Grayston Drive bridge collapse construction scene (eNCA) on the day of the disaster in 2015.
The Grayston Drive bridge collapse construction scene (eNCA) on the day of the disaster in 2015.

Murray & Roberts has also been requested to circulate their protocol documents by 20 November, and once these are accepted by all parties, the Department of Labour would then consider the request to remove the collapsed structures.

Samuel cautioned that the removed structure, while it would be kept by Murray & Roberts, would still be under the control of the Department of Labour.

Samuel appointed bridge collapse inquiry head
The SA Department of Labour (DOL) appointed Lennie Samuel as Presiding Inspector to lead the Alexandra-Sandton M1 Grayston Drive pedestrian bridge collapse inquiry.

Samuel has 30 years of service with the Department. He was a forensic investigator and co-commissioner for the Tongaat Mall Structural Collapse Inquiry in KwaZulu-Natal.

The DOL released a preliminary report on the state of the collapsed bridge in late October, in terms of its duties under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. The announcement refers to the bridge as a “temporary bridge”.

In terms of the mandate from DOL Chief Inspector Tobor Szana, Samuel will preside over the formal inquiry to determine if there was any contravention of the OHS Act, or any of its Regulations, which led to the uncontrolled collapse of the structure or any part thereof, resulting in the untimely deaths and injuries of the people.

“The collapse of the temporary bridge in the Grayston Drive Pedestrian and cyclist structure, led to the deaths of two people and injury to 19 others”, said Szana.

He reiterated that no party yet stands accused of any wrongdoing leading to the untimely collapse of the structure.

The Grayston Drive bridge collapse inquiry will be held in public, and is expected to last at least six months.

The Presiding Inspector, Samuel, will compile a written report for the Department of Labour Chief Inspector, who will subsequently hand it over to the National Prosecuting Authority for a decision.

Bridge collapse inquiry terms of reference
Samuel said a crucial briefing session will be held on 8 December 2015 at the Tshwane Municipal Offices in Pretoria to unveil the terms of reference of the Inquiry.

The briefing session will also include unveiling a media protocol on the media coverage of the Inquiry.

“While all these processes are unfolding, the Department of Labour is still continuing gathering statements and evidence,” Samuel said.

* Source; DOL

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