“I do not remember what happened. I just woke up in hospital,” Collins Mohale said.
He was being questioned by the department’s senior specialist on health and safety in construction, Phumudzo Maphaha, who is chairing the inquiry.
“Were you below the slab when it fell? What did you do when the slab collapsed?” Maphaha asked.
Mohale said he was under the huge slab, but near the edge.
Testifying through an interpreter, Mohale said at the time of the collapse some workers wore protective clothing like boots, overalls, and helmets, and others did not.
It had been supplied, but there was no instruction about wearing it.
The inquiry is probing the collapse of part of a luxury house in the Meyersdal Eco Estate, near Alberton on the East Rand, in which seven people were killed on August 18. Nine workers were injured.
The department established the commission of inquiry under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
“The section 32 hearing is appointed to investigate acts of negligence that resulted in occupational injuries and death of workers,” the department said in a statement on Monday.
Principal inspector of the department Christo du Preez and specialist inspector Lesibe Raphela were serving as commissioners in the probe.
Those expected to testify before the inquiry include the owner of the house, workers, the foreman, insurer(s), designer, the Engineering Council of SA, the National Home Builders Registration Council, and the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications.