Labour dept weighs in on fatal Mpuma crash

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"The fact that the employer does not have records of these workers is compounding the problem - and the lack of these details is a contravention of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act," said the department.

The Act stipulates that employers need to have details of their employees, including details of their next of kin.

"We have been informed by the inspectors that the owner of the farm claims the employees were not his and he had procured their services from a contractor who supplied the labour," said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

"Clearly this is an untenable position and in contravention of the Act, which states that the employer should have all the details of people working on their premises. At this stage, we are also checking whether declaration for Unemployment Insurance was done or not."

Following the accident, the department sent an inspector to the scene to ensure that all the necessary compliance prescripts were adhered to -- one of these being that an accident at the workplace has to be reported to the Compensation Commission as prescribed in the Compensation for Injuries and Diseases Act.

Oliphant said the department has been at the forefront of checking for compliance with farmers and it was clear that there was still widespread non-compliance with the various prescripts of labour legislation.

"Our inspectors are still investigating the cause of the incident in order to prevent recurrence of similar incidents. Our inspectors will be working closely with the Railway Safety Regulator inspector to establish the cause of the incident as the incident involved a goods trains.

"In the event that we find that non-compliance had anything to do with the deaths, we will let the law take its course," said the minister.