The Role of the Media in South African Construction Health and Safety (H&S)

John Smallwood
Danie Venter


A large number of fatalities and injuries occur in the South African construction industry. Traditionally, the print media have dedicated editorial, published news, articles and letters, and have exposed abusive or non-conforming conditions and practices in terms of H&S. Literature also indicates that the print media can influence and has an impact on H&S.Given the level of fatalities and injuries and the potential role of the print media, a postal survey was conducted among editors of construction and related magazines. Findings indicate that: the print media do contribute to and play a role in construction H&S; industry has the capacity and needs to promote H&S on a wider basis; there is a need to improve construction H&S; to a degree, editors are aware of what constitutes unsafe acts and unsafe conditions, and the print media can play an increased role through the review of articles, advertisements, advertorial, editorial and phototgraphs to prevent the depiction of unhealthy and unsafe practices and conditions

Full Text:



Centre to Protect Workers' Rights (CPWR). Building a Safety Culture-Report on the Second National Conference on Ergonomics, Safety and Health in Construction. CPWR, Washington, D.C. 1995.

Compensation Commissioner. Report on the 1995 Statistics., 2000 null

4 Construction World. And now we waitâ Construction World, August, 3, 1998."

Department of Labour (DOL). Annual Report 1998. Pretoria, 1999.

Eastern Province Herald. Asbestos ban supported. 23 September, 2, 2000.

D Grossman. Construction industry builds a safe work place. Safety and Health, April, 48-51, 1991.

JW Hinze. Indirect costs are a major portion of job site injury costs. Concrete Construction, March, 229, 1992.

JW Hinze. Construction Safety. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 1997.

D Kotelchuck. Asbestos: The Funeral Dress of Kings" â and Others. In D Rosner & G Markowitz. Dying for Work. Indian University Press, Indianapolis, 1989."

RE Levitt and NM Samelson. Construction Safety Management . 2nd Edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1993.

JJ Smallwood. A study of the relationship between occupational health and safety, labour productivity and quality in the South African Construction industry. Unpublished PhD (Construction Management), Thesis, University of Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth, 2000.

The Business Roundtable. Improving construction safety performance Report A3. The Business Roundtable, New York, 1995.

The Civil Engineering and Building Contractor. SAACE's offer to government. The Civil Engineering and Building Contractor, April, 8, 9, 11 and 13, 1999.

J Vivian. The Media of Mass Communication. 4th Edition. Allyn and Bacon, Massachusetts, 1997.

GSJ Wilde. Target Risk. PDE Publications, Toronto, 1994.