Bridge collapse inquiry to probe CHS Agent

The Construction Health and Safety Agent will be investigated in the the bridge collapse inquiry.
The Construction Health and Safety Agent will be investigated in the the bridge collapse inquiry.

The M1 structural bridge collapse inquiry resumes on 7 July 2016, with seven days of testimony from construction contractor Murray & Roberts.

The Commission’s mandate will focus on:

  • responsibility of the principal constructor in terms of the Construction Regulations
  • responsibility of the client (City of Johannesburg, and its development agency)
  • responsibility of the Construction Health and Safety Agent on behalf of the client, in terms of the Construction Regulations
  • responsibility of the supplier of materials
  • responsibility of the designer.

The M1/Grayston Drive Pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge collapse inquiry is presided over by Lennie Samuel.

Some of the parties to testify include;

  • engineers
  • Royal Haskoning DHV
  • Formscaff
  • Engineering Council of South Africa
  • National Union of Mineworkers.
graystone bridge collapse
A view of the structural bridge collapse scene on the day of the incident.

The Section 32 Inquiry was set up by the Department of Labour after the collapse of the temporary bridge structure at the M1 Grayston Drive Pedestrian bridge.

The collapse of the bridge structure to link Sandton and Alexandra led to the deaths of two people and injury to 19 others. The Inquiry, in terms of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), will investigate instances of negligence.

Source; SA Department of Labour, July 2016.

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Edmond Furter

Editor at Sheqafrica.com
Edmond Furter is the editor of Sheqafrica.com. He is a freelance technical journalist, and has won six journalism awards. He specialises in industrial, business, and cultural content in web, journal, and book formats.

9 thoughts on “Bridge collapse inquiry to probe CHS Agent

  1. Investigating these deaths and injuries in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as the Construction Regulations, I believe it will be important to ask whether the employees working on this bridge were psychologically fit.
    I see more and more that health and safety officers take a lot of care around ensuring that employees are physically fit, however they neglect to assess whether they are psychologically fit, as provided for in the Act. In my experience it is important to consider this.

  2. Yes, I fully agree with Wilmé. If the employees are not psychologically fit, the bridges they build will surely collapse due to the CHS Agent not checking up on it. And without a fitness certificate to ensure you are not crazy, no shopping mall will ever be safe any more.

  3. Danny, I appreciate your enthusiasm and the display of passion for safety. It will definitely be important to get all the medical certificates and proof of psychological fitness of employees, to ensure that infrastructure is built safely. I hope that the term psychological fitness would soon be considered as significant as physical fitness.

    1. lol Thank you. I am sure the DOL will ask the designer of the Grayston bridge if he was psychologically fit to do the work. And perhaps they could also ask the engineer?

  4. This will continue happening as long as companies are compromising quality, and rush to complete the project.

  5. Contractors are buying scaffolding at the hardware store. They employ unfit and incompetent employees to erect the scaffolding, supervised by untrained supervisors. This is contrary to scaffolding standards, SANS 10085 and Construction Regulation 16.
    Contractors take safety as a burden; employees do not go for psychological fitness tests; no scaffolding training is arranged. Similar accidents will always occur as safety officers are afraid to blow the whistle in fear of losing their jobs.

  6. Hi Wilmé, I am curious about the term psychologically fit. I know the act refers to this, but I do not have any experience regarding this.
    Would you perhaps be so kind as to elaborate a bit? What would the term mean in a nutshell?

    1. Hi Anton, according to research, psychological fitness is “a state in which an employee displays high levels of psychological energy (emotional and mental energy) and psychological motivation (desire) to work optimally and act safely” (Brand-Labuschagne, Mostert, & Rothmann, 2011).
      Symptoms displayed by employees who are psychological unfit, include inability to focus and concentrate; slower reactions; forgetful and absent-minded (wandering thoughts, auto mode, do without thinking); and risky decision-making, such as taking shortcuts, avoiding certain tasks, negative attitude, etc.

      Wilmé, correct me if I am wrong?

  7. Dear Anton and Bernard, I enjoy your interest in the term, and the state of psychological fitness, associated with safe work. Bernard, you are correct in your conceptualisation of the concept, and the symptoms. Psychological fitness is a state, not a trait.
    An employees’ energy and motivation can change in about 90 to 120 days, as research had found. The wellbeing of employees who are psychologically unfit, could be influenced, to change their state.
    The Act also promotes psychological fitness of employees.
    Anton, I enjoy explaining psychological fitness by the metaphor of a sports car. People have two separate resources of motivation and energy, like a Lamborghini. You need gas (energy), and engine torque (motivation). Employees with energy and motivation can work safely and efficiently (increased productivity), with the right driver (safety officers, and leaders).
    Anton, about assessment of psychological fitness, see my article on Sheqafrica,com, at; http://sheqafrica.com/psychological-fitness/

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