Health and Safety

Fanie de Swart

The Construction Regulations, 2003 (R.1010 of 18/07/2003) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993) create minimum standard legislation that needs to be complied with. The Construction Regulations (CR) basically applies to any persons involved in construction work. CR 4(2) stipulates that the client shall be responsible to discuss and negotiate with the principal contractor the contents of the health and safety plan and thereafter finally approve the health and safety plan for implementation.


According to definition a "health and safety plan" means a documented plan which addresses hazards identified and includes safe work procedures to mitigate, reduce or control the hazards identified. "Hazard identification" means the identification and documenting of existing or expected hazards to the health and safety of persons, which are normally associated with the type of construction work being executed or to be executed.


When we look at the development of the plan, CR 4(1)(a) stipulates that it must be developed according to the ‘‘health and safety specifications’’ provided by the client. The plan must include the documented specification of all health and safety requirements pertaining to the associated work(s) on a construction site, so as to ensure the health and safety of persons.


In practice, a health and safety plan could thus be described as a documented summary of the legal requirements to be implemented on the construction site/work place in order to ensure a safe and healthy work environment. It describes the potential hazards of the work site, along with all company policies, controls and work practices selected to minimize those hazards.


The principal contractor is responsible for the development of the plan. This is the person who performs construction work (an employer) and is appointed by the client to be in overall control and management of a part of or the whole of a construction site. CR 5(1) stipulates that the principal contractor must provide and demonstrate to the client a suitable and sufficiently documented health and safety plan, based on the client's documented health and safety specifications.


The principle contractor on the other hand will require a specific plan for the task at hand from the contractor. CR 5(4) stipulates that a contractor shall provide and demonstrate to the principal contractor a suitable and sufficiently documented health and safety plan, based on the relevant sections of the principal contractor's health and safety specification.


In the case where a subcontractor will be used, the contractor will require a similar plan from the subcontractor for the specific task the sub-contractor will perform. It is clear that these regulations require both principal contractors and contractors (including sub-contractors) to have a documented health and safety plan on site


Next we need to have a look at the content of a health and safety plan. The following information is merely provided as an example. Keep in mind that it must be site specific in accordance to the health and safety specifications provided by the client.


Generally content:

  • Notification of construction
  • Legal appointments to be made
  • Registers of training and induction courses
  • Assessment records
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) and inspection records and registers
  • Plant and equipment used for construction registers
  • Records of inspections for plant and equipment
  • Registers and copies of audits conducted on site
  • Registers and copies of safety reports conducted on site
  • Registers and copies of risk assessments conducted on site
  • Registers and copies of incidents, first aid and reportable injuries on the site
  • Registers and copies of approved operators and there certificates of training
  • Letters of good standing with the compensation fund


Method statements in terms of the following:

  • Construction work
  • Risk assessment
  • Fall protection plan
  • Excavations and backfilling
  • Pipe, duct or caballing
  • Testing of pressure pipelines
  • Electrical work
  • Structural concrete
  • Paving
  • Welfare
  • First aide
  • Form and support work
  • Demolitions
  • Scaffolding
  • Suspended scaffold
  • Housekeeping


Register of warnings:

  • Warnings issued for unsafe working practices (Not complying with Personal Protective Equipment prescriptions, negligence, drunkenness, etc)


Public and environmental issues in connection with the workplace:

  • Traffic management plan
  • Emergency plan
  • Pedestrian and vehicle traffic accommodation plan
  • Environmental scoping document for construction
  • Environmental impact assessment records for construction
  • Environmental management plan for construction
  • Protocols to minimise dust nuisance
  • Protocols to minimise noise nuisance
  • Records of decisions for construction work
  • Records of decisions for storage of diesel on site
  • Records of decisions for storage of chemicals on-site
  • Records copies of incident investigation reports conducted on the construction site
  • Copies of reports to the provincial director for reportable injuries occurring on the construction site


The above mentioned information of the ‘’Health and Safety Plan’’ must be documented and kept in the ‘’Safety File’’. According to definition it means a file, or other record in permanent form, containing the information required as contemplated in the Construction Regulations. The safety file generally contains all the notifications, records, appointments, registers and copies including the content of the safety plan.


The safety plan and safety file must be kept on site at all times, from the date of commencement of and for the duration of the construction work. These documents should be used daily to ensure that the health and safety requirements are met and maintained on site is in accordance with the risk assessment.


I trust that you find the content of our newsletter useful and a good point of reference for future use.

For more information contact Fanie de Swardt or Tinus Boshoff


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