The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has accused SA Steel Mills of endangering worker safety. This comes after an accident in which four workers suffered burns from molten steel. SA Steel Mills denies the allegations, stating that it prioritizes occupational health and safety, reports Times Live.
The relationship between SA Steel Mills and its workforce has reached a boiling point, following a disturbing incident last week. Numsa claimed that four employees were severely injured by molten steel, further accusing the company of failing to immediately inform the Department of Employment and Labour about the incident.
Numsa's officials visited the scene and coordinated with a labor inspector, who discovered that two of the injured employees were in critical condition. Meanwhile, the other two were treated with first aid and sent home. Numsa insisted that these two also be hospitalized for proper treatment and observation.
The company responded, stating that the accident occurred due to a cooling water pump malfunction, which led to the molten steel splashing onto the operators. SA Steel Mills also stressed that this wasn't the first incident at their facility. Numsa responded by accusing the company of lacking humanity and refusing to give workers time off to deal with trauma, especially after a previous incident that resulted in a worker's death.
Numsa has openly criticized SA Steel Mills for not prioritizing worker safety. The Union has urged the Department of Employment and Labour to take serious action against the company, warning that further negligence could lead to more fatalities.
SA Steel Mills' CFO, Kenny Mokoka, defended the company by stating that they have allocated extensive resources to occupational health and safety. He acknowledged the hazardous nature of their operations but assured that all necessary steps were taken post-accident, including a detailed investigation currently underway.
However, despite the company's reassurances, questions remain about the effectiveness of their safety measures, especially given the past incidents. It puts both the company and the Department of Employment and Labour under scrutiny, as worker safety becomes a critical issue that cannot be ignored.
The recent incident at SA Steel Mills has intensified the focus on worker safety within the industry. While the company claims to have adequate safety measures in place, the allegations from Numsa highlight a need for stricter oversight. Only time will tell if SA Steel Mills will be held accountable for these incidents and if the call for more stringent regulations will be heeded.