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Nigeria's fatal building collapse casts the spotlight on the construction sector safety standards

by , 18 September 2014
On Tuesday, President Jacob Zuma, announced that 67 South Africans were among the scores of people who died after a building at the Synagogue Church of All Nations collapsed on Friday in Lagos, Nigeria. Officials expect the death toll to rise.

According to News24, over 300 South Africans were staying in the four-storey guesthouse on the grounds of the church when it collapsed while workers were adding two more storeys. The South Africans and others were hoping to see a popular faith healer, TB Joshua, who claims to cure terminal illnesses.

As affected families prepare to identify their loved ones, we can't shy away from the fact that this incident has firmly cast the spotlight on safety in the construction sector - it's forced us to look at our standards here at home.

Keep reading to find out about the alleged cause of the building collapse and discover what you can do to prevent a similar disaster on your construction site.

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Here's what allegedly caused the church building collapse that killed 67 South Africans

While investigations are still underway to determine the cause of the collapse, early reports suggest the use of substandard building material may be to blame.

A Nigerian government official told CTVnews that the building appears to have collapsed because of poor construction work. He said workers were trying to build two additional floors onto an existing four-story structure without reinforcing the foundations.

According to the report, Nigeria's construction industry is bedeviled by corruption. And this sometimes leads contractors to take short cuts and use substandard products.

While this incident is shocking, you can learn from it so the same thing doesn't happen in your workplace.

Here's what you need to do…

Prevent a Nigeria type building collapse by complying with Construction Regulations 2014

These regulations cover everything that has to do with safety in the construction sector. This includes:
  • Doing risk assessments on your construction site;
  • What you must do to keep your employees safe on your site as a contractor; and
  • Measures you must take to prevent the uncontrolled collapse of any new or existing structure due to the carrying out of construction work and so much more.

Let this tragedy be a lesson. Comply with Construction Regulations, use quality material and take steps to keep employees who work on your site safe.

And remember,the Tongaat Mall collapse and the recent Meyersdal building collapse have forced the Department of Labour (DoL) to look closely at the construction sector. The incident in Nigeria means there will even be more focus on your sector and you'll be punished for any wrong doing.
PS: We strongly recommend you check out the Health & Safety Advisor.  It gives you tips, tools and advice to comply with the OHS Act and regulations.

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