Government workers evacuated from nine unsafe buildings

11 September 2018 - 08:56 By Naledi Shange
Flames spreading through the building that houses three provincial departments in the Johannesburg CBD on September 6, 2018. File photo.
Flames spreading through the building that houses three provincial departments in the Johannesburg CBD on September 6, 2018. File photo.
Image: Masi Losi

Almost a week after a massive blaze consumed parts of a government building in the Johannesburg CBD‚ the Gauteng government has removed its workers from a total of nine buildings which it says do not meet the basic Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) compliance.

"It is important to note that the structural integrity of the buildings is not the sole contributing factor to the non-compliance with the OHS standards. Other compliance issues raised by the OHS include but are not limited to lack of awareness of the evacuating procedures by staff members‚ absence of walking rails on staircases‚ lack of identifiable exit routes [and] insufficient fire extinguishers‚" said government spokesperson Thabo Masebe.

Heads of departments had on Monday met their staff members to issue directions on the relocations.

"[They] have instructed officials to report to temporary service sites‚ including regional‚ district and satellite branches. Affected departments include Human Settlements and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs‚ Health‚ Social Development‚ the Office of the Premier and others‚" Masebe sad.

Three firemen were killed while trying to put out a blaze on the 23rd floor of the Bank of Lisbon building last week. Forensic specialists have been combing through the building to find clues to what caused the deadly blaze.

"Safety engineers have assessed the structural integrity of the Bank of Lisbon building and have reported that there is no immediate threat of the building collapsing‚ except for some defects due to the fire‚" Masebe said.

The cause of the fire is yet to be established.

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