After hearing about a few residential building disasters recently, I reread some of Handy Mac aka Don MacAlister’s columns on Property360.co.za.
He always advocates employing contractors with qualifications, and a good track record, and who do not exploit their staff. “By doing this you have people capable of finishing the job to an acceptable standard while ensuring the contractor can sustain his business.”
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He says the devil is in the detail and “unfortunately, too many people are looking for short cuts and going on price alone”. “When disaster strikes, and things don’t work out, it’s considered to be the builder’s fault. But we have to realise we should have gone with the registered, qualified and compliant guy.”
Added to that, this week the Master Builders’ Association Western Cape (MBAWC) put a spotlight on the physical dangers within the construction industry, highlighting the “unacceptably high number of accidents resulting in injuries to employees every year”.
Statistics released by the Federated Employers Mutual Assurance Company (FEM) say there were 47 844 injuries requiring medical attention in the period 2015 to 2020.
According to Deon Bester, occupational health and safety manager at MBAWC, on average, 36 people are injured on construction sites daily. “This figure relates to employers who are insured by FEM, which means the figure could be slightly higher, considering that injuries are likely to occur in the informal construction sector as well.
“Our aim as the MBAWC is to assist all our members in reducing the daily cases of injuries, as we believe that no employee should be injured or lose their life at their place of work,” says Bester.
In order to lower the level of accidents which occur on-site, employers need to ensure their workforce is constantly trained on issues relating to health and safety and, to this end, the MBAWC provides its members with the requisite training, says Bester.
Another good reason to go with a registered, qualified and compliant contractor.