In South Africa and abroad, the OHS statistics in the construction industry is dismal. Worldwide, statistics that are alarming, include the following:

  • 60 000 fatal accidents – one every ten minutes;
  • One in every six work-related fatal accidents occurs on a construction site;
  • In industrialised countries, more than 25% to 40% of work-related deaths occur on construction sites despite the sector only employing between 6% to 10% of total employment;

 It is our desire to help and advise participants in the construction industry to achieve greater and higher standards of health and safety than the worldwide statistics mentioned. Ultimately, the loss of even one life while in the process of constructing a building, is higher than one should be willing to pay. Bricks and mortar are far less valuable than a human life.

 In South Africa there are many OHS regulations that have been put into place to safeguard the lives of all participants in the construction sector. Unfortunately not all participants are as informed as one would wish them to be. However, in the legislative arena, ignorance is not a valid excuse.

 It is every participant’s own responsibility to familiarise themselves with the legal requirements for the construction industry. Ignorance, misinterpretation and misuse of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993, is serious business and lives of real flesh and blood people are at stake.

 It is important that role players in the construction industry work together to comply with the various regulations and requirements that have been put into place for the sole purpose of promoting health and safety in the workplace.  These regulations include the following:

 

  1. Letter of Good Standing

One of the most important construction-specific requirements is the Letter of Good Standing in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, Act No. 130 of 1999 (COIDA). The purpose of the Letter of Good Standing is to ensure that a business has the ability to meet the requirements set out in COIDA.

 

  1. SACPCMP Registration

The SACPCMP was established to regulate and promote specific Built Environment Management Professions and is a juristic person established by the Project and Construction Management Professions Act (Act No.48 of 2000) “to provide for the registration of professionals, candidates and specified categories in the project and construction management professions; to provide for the regulation of the relationship between the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions and the Council for the Built Environment; and to provide for matters connected therewith”.

 Registration with SACPCMP is compulsory.  Read more at: www.sacpcmp.org.za

 

  1. Fitness & Competency

It is imperative that everyone involved in the construction industry is fit and competent to perform the work that they are responsible for. This goes without saying, but still, corners are cut and unskilled labour is used. This is unacceptable and dangerous.

 Contractors need to ensure that First Aid Officers, Safety Representatives and Fire Fighters are the first in line for training. In addition to training, it is a legal requirement that ALL employees submit to a medical assessment in order to receive a “fit for work” medical certificate (clean bill of health) in the form of an Annexure 3 (refer to the Construction Regulations 2014).  

 Cutting corners will have dire consequences for all involved.

 

  1. Obligatory Agreements

According to the OHSA there are certain mandatory agreements that have to be entered into by the client and construction company. It is imperative that these agreements are in line with legislation. This is for the protection of all parties involved.

 Make sure that you know and understand the ins and outs of these agreements and the requirements therein. The Mandatory Agreement between the client and contractor ensures that both parties involved accept responsibility and liability for health and safety compliance on site.

 

  1. Health and Safety Documentation

The OHS file includes, as a minimum requirement,

  • the Health and Safety Plan,
  • Safe Operating Procedures,
  • Letter of Good Standing,
  • Employee Details,
  • Fall Protection Plan,
  • Emergency Plan and
  • Risk Assessments.

 

 Most of these documents can only be compiled by a trained and competent OHS practitioner.

 Key legislation to familiarise yourself with includes the OHSA, Construction Regulations 2014, General Safety Regulations and General Administrative Regulations.

 If lives matter (and they DO!) one would hope that every role player in the construction industry would jump at the opportunity to be informed and comply to the safety standards that are required.  At LiveOHS, we are geared and ready to help you in that regard.