I was so happy to see the positive response to our blog on the updated OHS Act and the new fine structure. Organisations are engaging with SRM on how our Mango SHEQ Software can help them become compliant.
I have noticed lately that it seems as if the Minister of Labour and the Chief Inspector are working feverishly on updating legislation that is either outdated or the practical implementation thereof if proving difficult.
We can also expect some changes to the General Machinery Regulations later this year and hopefully our first set of Ergonomics Regulations. I was flying back from Gauteng on Friday last week and noticed a scathing report by the new Chief Inspector Tibor Szana in regards to the level of Compliance within the Construction Industry with their incident statistics being second behind the metal processing & fabrication industries.
I’m sure many of us celebrated the update of the 2003 Construction Regulations with the newly promulgated Construction Regulations – R84 of 2014. There have subsequently to that been some government notices as the practical implementation of some of the Construction Regulations 2014 was proving challenging.
Since the Regulator has been having problems with the issuing of Construction Permits within a reasonable time period they are now to be deferred as per the below levels i.e.:
- Projects over R 130 Million must have a Construction Permit – from NOW until 2017 (one would assume that this will continue)
- Project over R 45 Million only need to start applying for permits from 7 August 2017
- Project over 365 days or 30 Million must start applying for Construction Permits from 7 August 2018
Professional Registration of Health & Safety Agents etc – Due to over 4000 applications to the SACPCMP, rumour has it that the Department of Labour have now said that people are allowed to proceed as Professional OHS Agents etc only if they have applied before 7 Aug 2015 and will be allowed to operate at that level until the approvals board proves otherwise.
Other areas of the Construction Regulations 2014 that have been proving difficult to implement:
Regulations 8 – Management & Supervision of Construction Work
- Requires the appointment of a Full time Construction Manager per site. Now I understand the intention behind the regulation i.e. to ensure competent supervision of Construction Work and this person in responsible for OHS Compliance on site. However what we see is majority of the SMME Construction Companies have Construction Managers that manage multiple sites in order to manage costs. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that the practical implementation of the Regulation for the smaller companies is proving challenging.
Regulation 10 – Fall Protection
- Now here is an area where interpretation of the Regulation is causing a very expensive challenge. Regulation 10(a) Requires that a competent person (read in conjunction with the definition of of competent person from the CR 2014) should be designated to prepare the fall protection plan (FPP). Fine, that part is straightforward , due to the fact that SAQA unit standards exist for the preparation of FPP’s then that shall be deemed to be the level of competency required.
- However what we see next seems to be a questionable exercise driven by some professionals. Some are now driving the fact that all persons working in a fall risk position should attend accredited Fall Risk training.
- A training program shall be devised for the training of persons in a fall risk position.
- I agree that all persons need to be competent to perform a task but there is a difference between the general dictionary definition of competent (able , skillful , proper & properly qualified) or if I read S 13 of the OHS Act, (Conversant with the hazards and risks associated with the task) and the definition of competency (where required) provided for in the Regulation.
- Now my personal position is that the Fall Protection Plan developer must be competent as per the definition. I am however not of the opinion that all persons working in a Fall Risk Position (except Roof Erectors, who are required to be competent) must receive SAQA unit standard based training.
I would firmly recommend that if you have not already done so that you register with one of the OHS professional body’s such as SAIOSH or IOSM.
SRM has offices in Durban, Gauteng and Cape Town. We operate in various roles under the Construction Regulations, either as the Clients Professional Health & Safety Agents or by providing Safety Officers and Health & Safety Files to many Construction Companies. Contact us to see how we can make your compliance needs easier, less painful and more efficient.
* The above points are not to be misconstrued as legal advice, rather the outcome of many professional discussions and healthy debate.
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