Recently, a news story came out about a construction worker from Durban, South Africa who was killed on his jobsite. What’s most tragic about this story is that 27-year-old Vusi Nombika had been worried about the safety of the site. He even told his manager about the unstable building conditions. Apparently the concerns weren’t valid enough for the manager, because half an hour later, Nombika was buried alive by a sandbank that collapsed.
One other worker was injured in the incident – Nana Ngubane, who is reportedly in stable condition. According to Ngubane’s brother and co-worker, Nombika had previously warned his manager about the potential danger of digging a trench without proper safety measures in place.
“He told the manger he was afraid that the sand might fall on to him. But the manager told him to stop worrying and continue working.”
“I turned to see what was happening. I couldn’t see Vusi. I then realized he was buried under the sand that had collapsed on him.”
The conditions of the building site were less-than-safe, to say the least: no signed contracts, no safety gear, no hats or rubber boots. In the U.S., this would have meant hefty OSHA fines. It was only after the incident that the company tried to get its workers to sign contracts, in which they refused.
Nombika’s aunt, Mantombi, was “devastated” from the report and reported that Nombika was the “main breadwinner” of his family.
At this point, a written notice has been issued to the company and the work site has been halted, pending an investigation. So what do we make of this story? A tragic death could have been prevented if the manager would have listened to the concerns of his worker. This accident was definitely avoidable.
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