LEC ‘preaches’ safety

LEC ‘preaches’ safety

MASERU – A CONTRACTOR hired by the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) was pulling some cables to the other side of the road at a project in Hlotse last August. A truck suddenly appeared and drove past the cables, knocking him to the ground.
The ladder the contractor was carrying fell on him during the accident. He had to be hospitalised after he sustained some serious injuries.
“The contractor was badly injured,” Mohobo Nkhasi, a safety officer with the LEC told a workshop last week.
To deal with such challenges, the LEC held a workshop with their contractors to discuss issues of safety, health, environment and quality for all its electrical contractors.

Nkhasi said they always hold such workshops every year to make sure contractors understand their role in ensuring safety at the workplace.
“We want to eliminate those kinds of accidents,” Nkhasi said. The workshop sought to remind and inform new contractors on how to manage risks during the course of their work. Nkhasi said the contractors should check before working as to whether the tools are functioning well or not.

He said this is because sometimes one will find that a tool is broken and when the contractor uses it, it injures him.
He said a contractor should hold small meetings with his workers to assess whether they are in good health and whether they have protective clothing to perform their work well.

“This way we will reduce the number of accidents,” he said. An environmental officer with the LEC, Maletšela Letšela, advised contractors to work well with villagers in cases where an electrical pole needs to be erected in the fields.

“If you don’t communicate well with them, I am afraid your lives will be in danger,” Letšela said.
Letšela said some villagers are violent and will attack contractors if they find poles erected without their knowledge on their fields.
“Some villagers choose to take those poles and destroy them and that a waste of resources,” Letšela said.

She said to avoid conflicts, contractors will need to communicate with villagers whose fields or land will be used to erect some poles.
They will need to discuss how such villagers will be compensated, she said.
She said to promote a safe environment and cleanliness the contractors will have to remove every waste that comes with the erection and installation of electricity in villages.

An occupational safety and health inspector in the Ministry of Labour, Manaleli Sehlabi, said contractors must promote good working relations between employers and employees. Sehlabi said that in every workplace there should be safety committees made up of both the employer and the employees.

She said if there is any accident at the workplace, such incidents must be reported to the Labour Commissioner to ensure safety at the workplace.
A claims manager in the Ministry of Labour, Mampho Loke, said the Workman’s Compensation Act 1977 states that an employee is entitled to compensation if he is injured or dies in an accident during the course of his work.

Loke said if the employee gets injured they have to notify the employer immediately and the employer should report that to the Labour Commissioner’s office. Loke said the Act says the workman can inform the employer or supervisor verbally or in writing.
The employer should report the accident within three days of the accident even if the employer does not believe the workman’s story.

‘Makhotso Rakotsoane

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