Dodgy Labour Dept offices

2008-03-13 00:00

Traumatised Labour Department employees at the Pietermaritzburg office are demanding that the department move them to safer premises. This follows a recent incident when the employees were trapped inside a smoke-filled building after an electrical fault.

They allege that they are working in a building that is under construction with faulty electricity connections posing danger to their lives.

On March 4, six computers were damaged after an electrical fault occurred, and smoke filled the room.

One of the employees who spoke to The Witness on condition of anonymity, said municipal inspectors recommended that the building should be repaired before people can move in and use it.

"The electric wiring seems dodgy. I am no electricity expert, but the regular faults in the building are a sign that the wiring was not done properly."

Thulani Gabela of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) said that, since the department is the custodian of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, they should enforce it.

He said workers were trapped in the smoke-filled room when the electronic doors malfunctioned. One man allegedly suffered slight burn injuries and others were traumatised by the event.

Department spokesman Jay Anand said that the problems were reported to the Works Department and repairs are being done to the air conditioning, fire escapes, accessibility for the disabled and improved cabling.

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