The health and safety topic have been raised throughout the ages in a diverse form of conversations and mostly instinctively, e.g. a mother telling her child to look right and left and again right prior crossing a street or an employer giving seasoned advice to an employee to move out of the way prior to a boat being raised out of the water. Health and safety of our well-being has been imprinted in our minds and has been passed on from generation to generation since the stone age
However, many still take shortcuts due to lack of supervision and commitment of management which resulted in 1.5 to 2.5 of fatalities per week – statistics provided in the previous financial year of 2016 – 2017 in South Africa.
The health and safety standards and regulations improve and changes mere daily. Therefor health and safety officers need to be on top of there game to constantly know where and which standard or regulation has been revised and what is the implementation dates in order to integrate the new changes. To ensure they give the most accurate and sound advice and cost-effective solutions to their employers.
Employers are responsible for ensuring health and safety is implemented by all his delegates. By implementing this for example; the employer delegates issuing of personal protective equipment, but still instructs a record to be kept, where every employee signed to ensure every employee received the required items, covering both entities. The employer does not delegate responsibility and accountability but authority over a section of his responsibility and documenting it for future references.
All this will have to be backed by a health and safety management system to ensure all relevant legislative requirements are met. It is still the employer’s responsibility to ensure this system is effective and runs effectively and gets reviewed and monitored when change occurs in management, process, task, machinery and injuries. The health and safety management system is to record findings, instructions, methods, processes and incidents. This system would hold fatal information and is used in investigations to determine causes of incidents
Incidents / accidents is the main reason Health and Safety Management systems are implemented to prevent / control any loss to the company as well as have proof if question in the court of law. This Health and Safety system has to be implemented by a delegate of the employer. This would be your Health and Safety Officer whose duties is defined with in Construction Regulations 8 (5) & (6).
“ (5) A contractor must, after consultation with the client and having considered the size of the project, the degree of danger likely to be encountered or the accumulation of hazards or risks on the site, appoint a full-time or part-time construction health and safety officer in writing to assist in the control of all health and safety related aspects on the site: Provided that, where the question arises as to whether a construction health and safety officer is necessary, the decision of an inspector is decisive.
(6) No contractor may appoint a construction health and safety officer to assist in the control of health and safety related aspects on the site unless he or she is reasonably satisfied that the construction health and safety officer that he or she intends to appoint is registered with a statutory body approved by the Chief Inspector and has necessary competencies and resources to assist the contractor.”
As per Construction Regulation 8 (5) the appointed Safety Officer can be appointed full time by the company or part time – a part time safety officer will normally be outsourced for example: a consultant. Consultants are highly recommended now a days due to the recessions, they part time and only on site if needed or as per the client’s specifications on frequency.
As per Construction Regulation 8 (6) the said Health and Safety Officer has to be registered by a Statutory body approved by the Chief Inspector, this statutory body is South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP). Every registered safety officer is added to their database, which any one has access to, to search for registered Safety Officers.
However, consultants only develop health and safety management systems and implement these systems. It is still the duty of the employees to adhere to these systems and instructions due to the delegate being an extension of the employer as per Occupational Health and Safety Act 8 and 14. Therefor commitment from both sides is required to ensure an effective system is implemented.
“Commit to health and safety of your employees’ families” – Unknown
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