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Form-Scaff expert witness rejects bias jibe in the Department of Labour inquiry

 

An expert witness representing Form-Scaff dismissed suggestions that he was biased in favour of the company.

 

Gary Farrow, a mechanical engineer from Australia, told the Commission that, although he had limited access to contracts between Form-Scaff and Murray & Roberts, his analysis of the fatal site disproves insinuations that he was biased in favour of his “employer”.

 

Farrow told the inquiry that he had spent nine days on the site of the collapsed temporary structure at the M1/Grayston Drive bridge to gather information. He further told the commission that while he had never worked on/with temporary structures he had been involved in other large projects. He said in addition to visiting the site on numerous occasions, he also relied on information obtained from Form-Scaff and on interactions with the company’s personnel.  

 

He said he was supplied with a lot of information, however, he prioritised critical information which, he said, carried value to his work. Farrow said his receiving of information from Form-Scaff was intended to expedite his analysis.

 

“My mandate was configuration of the temporary structure and ascertain the causes of collapse,” Farrow also told the Commission that he approached his modelling with open mind and sound judgement, “I did not prejudge evidence in view of evidence on site”.

 

Asked on the whereabouts of his notes proving his interactions with Form-Scaff personnel, Farrow said although he did not have a copy of notes, these were entailed in a report (survey) submitted to the Commission, of which he is a principal assistant. He dismissed suggestions that he was a tentative witness intent on speculation.

 

Form-Scaff, provides an array of products and services to a range of construction and civil engineering industries. It was the supplier of scaffolding material in the temporary structure construction in the M1/Grayston Drive project.

 

The M1/Grayston Drive Pedestrian and cyclist structural bridge Inquiry was appointed by the Department of Labour. The inquiry is presided by Lennie Samuel, assisted by Lesibe Raphela. It was set-up to investigate the collapse of the temporary bridge structure on the M1/Grayston Drive that led to the death of two people and injury to 19 others. The Section 32 investigation is being held in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.

 

The inquiry takes a recess tomorrow (August 3) and will resume on Thursday at 09:30am in Pretoria (Tshwane).

 

Issued by Department of Labour Communication Directorate

Mokgadi Pela

Acting Departmental Spokesman  

 

 

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