Municipalities report occupational injuries

Limpopo province municipalities reported occupational injuries and deaths in reply to health and safety management and appointment questions in parliament.

Ms D van der Walt (DA) had asked the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs some questions with reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Act;

Which municipalities in Limpopo Province have in writing designated a person in a full-time capacity, at premises where machinery is used, and appointed a competent person?

Where machinery is used for distribution of electricity, where the demand is 10 000 kVA or more, is the employee so designated a graduate engineer, with not less than two years’ postgraduate practical experience in the operation and maintenance appropriate to the class of machinery he is required to supervise; passed the examination on the Act and the Regulations; and passed the Commission of Examiners in terms of Regulation E5(2), or is a certificated engineer?

Which of these municipalities reported injuries and/or deaths of employees while on duty, and how many? Were the employees appropriately qualified to do their tasks; by whom were they ordered to fulfill these duties and why?

Municipal occupational injuries and incidents

Ba-Phalaborwa Local Municipality replied; A designated person was appointed. The municipality applied for certification at the Department of Labour, and awaits a written certificate.

There were two deaths, and two injuries. The workers were managed by the department head in terms of their work. The incident was during emergency work. The employees were switching on electricity at Selati substation when the switchgear burst and they were burnt to death.

Polokwane Local Municipality replied; CJ Pienaar was designated, and is a certificated engineer. Two injuries were reported. An electrician was burnt due to switchgear that exploded. An electrician burnt his hand due to over flash of a LV circuit breaker which has a fault due to a defect of the circuit breaker.

Sekhukhune District Municipality replied; No designated person was appointed. There were ten injuries.

A high speed photo frame of an electrical arc flash (EWB Engineering).
A high speed photo frame of an electrical arc flash (EWB Engineering).

Bela-Bela Local Municipality replied; Absalom Mbalekelwa Tshabalala (BBLM) was designated, based on his BTech in Electrical Engineering; Programme in Project Management Certificate; Registered with ECSA as a Professional Engineering Technician; 16 years experience in maintenance and construction of transmission and distribution electrical equipment; TRFR’s, Switchgear, Cables, Overheads Lines, Motors; Worked in various disciplines such as Protection, Metering, SCADA, Project management, Incident investigations. The municipality has a notified maximum demand is 22 MVA and manages 8 switching substations. There were no injuries.

Greater Tzaneen Local Municipality replied; A designated person was appointed. There were 24 minor injuries reported. They were working under supervisors.

Some electrical arc flash incidents are due to the incorrect installation or use of equipment or tools (JM Test Systems).
Some electrical arc flash incidents are due to the incorrect installation or use of equipment or tools (JM Test Systems).

Vhembe District Municipality replied; This is not a licensee to NERSA (National Electricity Regulation Of SA), therefore in terms of GMR 2 subsequent to the regulation articulated, legal appointee to that is not applicable. No injuries or deaths were reported.

Aganang Local Municipality replied; No person has been designated in a full time capacity in Aganang Local Municipality in respect of every premises on which machinery is being used as the Occupational Health and Safety Office, however a health and safety committee has been established and is functional. Also health and safety representatives have been appointed. No official has been appointed as health and safety officer. No injuries.

Waterberg District Municipality replied; A designated person was appointed in terms of appointment contracts. There were no deaths, and three injuries.

Musina Local Municipality replied; Piet Jansen was appointed. He is not an engineer, but he has 23 year experience as Manager: Electrical. This function was previously outsourced and the contract has lapsed. There were no injuries.

Mopani District Municipality replied; The only official designated is the Corporate Services Director. The Municipality is recruiting an OHS Officer.

• Source; PMG.

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