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Safety on project sites requires collaboration

10 April 2019

Safety on project sites is paramount, yet it is often overlooked, which increases the likelihood of fatal accidents. Contractors and employers alike should have a detailed knowledge of the guidelines, acts and regulations governing health and safety. Non-compliance or a breach of these rules (whether knowingly or unknowingly taking place) can bring project sites to a complete halt.

A collaborative approach between project stakeholders is required to promote a safer working environment. The Occupation Health and Safety Act (OH&S), together with the prescribed general safety regulations, provide clear guidelines, including the rights and duties of each project stakeholder involved in projects and working on site. A general overview of the duties of obligations is outlined below.

Employer
It is the duty of the employer to ensure that periodic H&S audits and document verification are conducted at intervals mutually agreed with the contractor, for example, once every 30 days.

An employer must provide a safe workplace, create policy statements regarding accident prevention, provide medical and first aid systems and provide budgets for safety related objectives. The same would be expected of a contractor employer in relation to its own employees.

An activity posing a threat to the health and safety of persons which is not in accordance with the relevant prescribed health and safety specifications, must be halted to prevent any further harm or threat.

An employer is expected to make sufficient health and safety information and appropriate resources available to the contractor to execute work safely if any changes were made to the design or construction works during the duration of the project.

Contractor
No person must be allowed to enter any site, unless that person has undergone health and safety induction training pertaining to the hazards prevalent on the site at the time of entry. The same will apply to visitors to the construction site. All personnel, including visitors to site, must be issued with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).

All employees of the contractor employees must have a valid medical certificate of fitness, specific to the construction work to be performed, which is issued by an occupational health practitioner in the prescribed form.

To assist in proper protection of others, the contractor must appoint a competent full-time person with the responsibility of ensuring that occupational health and safety is complied with on site.

All parties
The project stakeholders must consult to discuss and establish the size of the project, identify the degree of danger likely to be encountered or the accumulation of hazards or risks on the particular site.

Prior to commencement of works on site, all employees must be properly informed, instructed and trained regarding the identified hazards, related work procedures and / or considered control measures.

*The outline provides a selection of issues for consideration and is not comprehensive. It is important that stakeholders are sufficiently knowledgeable about their respective duties and obligations and we recommend that all stakeholders familiarise themselves with the details contained in the various rules, acts and regulations.

Author: Barry Herholdt, Senior Associate