81 INJURED IN MASS CASUALTY – CALL FOR ENHANCED WORKPLACE ROAD SAFETY INTERVENTIONS
The MVA Fund has learned of the unfortunate road crashes that resulted in mass casualties which left 81 people injured.
The first incident took place on Thursday, 17 February on the Sam Nujoma drive close to Daan Viljoen, at 18h26. The driver of a highly overloaded tipper truck carrying 56 employees from Vista Construction Company is believed to have lost control, hitting the highway barrier and causing the truck to overturn. The second crash involved a taxi, a sedan and a pick-up bakkie with a combined number of 25 people. It is alleged that one of the drivers skipped a red traffic light on John Meinert Street in Windhoek, causing a snowball of crashes involving the three vehicles.
As a result of these two crashes, a total 81 injuries with 12 serious injuries were reported. The serious injuries include mild head injuries, spinal cord injuries and lower back injuries. The injured persons are currently receiving treatment at various hospitals in Windhoek.
Workplace road safety intervention
In light of these two crashes, the Fund would like to call on employers to take extra caution when transporting their employees. This situation presents an occupational safety challenge when employees travelling to and from their workplaces are transported in inappropriate vehicles with no vehicle occupant protection in the form of seatbelts.
In order to prevent further injuries and loss of lives, the Fund hereby calls for urgent intervention on workplace road safety with specific emphasis on the protection of employees using company fleet during office hours. To be fully effective, a culture of road safety awareness needs to become second-nature in the workplace. Not simply as a management directive, but a cooperative effort that extends beyond the office doors to involve all employees, their families and the wider community in a concerted effort to preserve life and property, and drive the urgency of shared responsibility towards road safety.
Additionally, it is also imperative that employees and passengers alike assume responsibility for their own safety. By allowing themselves to be transported in inappropriate vehicles, they are inadvertently putting themselves at risk in case of a crash. It is equally important to note that in the event that persons are injured while being transported in a truck or pick-up bakkie, the Fund’s scope of assistance only extends to medical assistance, where after no other benefits may be claimed for, as per the MVA Fund Act 10 of 2007.
While taking cognizant of the economic situation in the country in that not all employers are in the position to afford mini-buses as the mode of transport for their employees, it is pivotal that they look into alternative means of transport which is safe and does not put the lives of passengers at risk.
Mass Casualty Media Conference