Construction Regulation 2014
The Department of Labour (DoL) on Monday 10 February 2014 promulgated the Construction Regulations 2014 providing a legislative platform to address health and safety in the South African construction industry.
The 2014 regulations amended the first South African construction regulations promulgated in 2003. The process to amend the original regulations had started in 2006, after which the revised regulations were published for comment in 2010.
Speaking at the launch of the regulations, Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant said for the country’s economy to grow, proper infrastructure, which included cities and towns, was needed and the only industry that could make this possible was the construction industry.
“However, even though this industry is the heart and soul of our economy, it continues to be bedevilled by poor health and safety management,” she said, adding that while some efforts were made to improve health and safety, the industry was still not up to standard.
“The safety of employees must be an absolute priority. It is unacceptable that on average two South African construction workers die every week,” Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi said, also speaking at the promulgation.
He added that, according to extensive research by the Council for the Built Environment a deficiency of regulation in the area of construction health and safety was one of the fundamental reasons for the current poor standards of health and safety management in the delivery of construction projects.
“We are satisfied that with these regulations we have addressed concerns raised by a number of stakeholders, including the Construction Industry Development Board, with regard to the need to have regulations amended to promote optimum health and safety throughout all phases of a project, particularly in the conception, initiation and detailed design phases,” Oliphant stated.
She further noted that the new regulations, aside from providing a legislative platform for addressing health and safety, also sought to harness the power of the different competitive forces to work together for the good of projects, identifying and also placing certain legal responsibilities on different key stakeholders.
“All stakeholders, including workers, bear responsibility for creating and maintaining safe construction workplaces, with clients holding the greatest potential leverage, which is the authority to influence the behaviour of others,” Oliphant explained.
The Minister further said, importantly, the Construction Regulations 2014 introduced the concept of a construction work-permit system that would require an application to be lodged with the DoL 30 days before construction work was undertaken.
“Being granted a construction work permit will not be automatic. Each application will properly be scrutinised to ensure that it meets the requirement for granting such a permit,” she said.
Another important aspect introduced in the regulations was the registration of construction professionals in three categories, namely construction health and safety agent, construction health and safety manager, and construction health and safety officer.
This registration would have to be done through the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions, and professionals would be subject to a process, including an interview or exam to test their competence.
“Some of the more tangible benefits that are expected from the regulation of construction health and safety professionals were, among others, the improvement of health and safety management on all construction projects, increased employee and public confidence in employer construction health and safety projects, and enhanced quality of life,” Nxesi stated.
Oliphant further announced that she had instructed the health and safety chief inspector to establish a construction health and safety technical committee, which would consist of various industry stakeholders.
“The primary role of this committee will be to advise the chief inspector on construction-related codes, standards and training requirements, and to designate persons in writing to examine safety systems and records of companies which have high incident rates and provide recommendations to the chief inspector of occupational health and safety on the findings,” Oliphant explained.
Meanwhile, Nxesi pointed out that the Department of Public Works (DPW) also had the role of regulating the construction sector, adding that it strived to improve the industry’s health and safety compliance levels.
“This will be achieved by among other measures including occupational health and safety requirements in the grading system for contractors,” he said.
The department would also enforce necessary measures to ensure compliance by those involved in early project planning and design stages, as well as to ensure that bills of quantities by bidders or contractors encompassed a site-specific health and safety plan.
Nxesi added that the DPW was also currently conducting scheduled inspections on all construction sites to ensure that all contractors provided protective clothing and equipment to their workers.
Letter of good standing: (Government Gazette, 5 March 2009)
This letter can be obtained once the employer has complied with the requirements of the Act:
- Submitting the latest return of earnings.
- Assessment has been paid or installments have been arranged.
- Application should be made in good time, 5 working days before it is required, preferably on a letterhead, in writing. If arrangements made for installments attached copy of receipt.
- Please quote the registration number, as well as telephone and fax numbers with dialing code.
- Applications on behalf of the employer by Consultants or Agents should be in writing and accompanied by a Power of Attorney.
Faxed requests are acceptable. Use only fax number (012) 3571817
SHE Committee Meetings
SHE Committee Meetings are required by law if the Client or Contractors have two or more SHE Representatives on Site or in their employ. SHE Committee Meetings are essential in the SHE process to assist companies in their efforts to get the Safety First Message across to employees and also to find amicable to solutions to the risks and hazards faced by employees on a daily basis and also to bring newly identified risks and hazards to Management’s attention.
SHEQ Audits are conducted at pre-determined intervals and
times on a monthly basis with the Client and Contractors. The Audit Report
will be available within half an hour of the Audit being completed. The SHE
Audit measures the compliance of the Contractor to the Client’s SHEQ
Specification, the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and
Using the correct procedures for Confined Space work gas
monitoring, entry and exit procedures, life line actions, venting and
Fall Protection Plans
A Fall Protection Plan is required by law under CR8
and the Fall Protection Plan is to be developed by a suitably qualified person,
appointed in writing detailing the mitigating controls and systems to be
implemented to make the height work as safe as possible. This includes the use
of Fall Protection systems and Fall Arrest systems.
Method Statements are drawn up from the risks and
hazards identified in the Risk Assessments. Method Statements are therefore
in essence Safe Work Procedures detailing the step by step method to be
followed to safely complete a task with minimal risk of injury or loss to
workers, the environment and equipment.
SHEQ Files are the pivotal part of the SHEQ System, drafted to the client’s needs including Legal Appointment Letters, Base Line Risk Assessments, Method Statements, She Plans, Fall Protection
Risk Assessments are to be developed by a suitably qualified person appointed in writing and all hazards and risks are to be identified, mitigating controls are to be implemented and these are to be communicated to all workers involved. Various forms of Risk Assessments are available e.g.
- The Base Line Risk Assessment is conducted from the original Site visit and the Risks and Hazards identified.
- Task Based Risk Assessments are conducted taking the various tasks to be performed and the equipment used on the Site into consideration.
- Risk Assessments which take all the risks and hazards of various job types face into consideration can also be conducted, e.g. the Risks and Hazards faced by a Boilermaker, Plumber, Electrician etc. during the various tasks they perform.