The Department of Labour’s 2014 construction regulations, as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, No 85 of 1993, came into effect on April 4 this year. These new regu- lations repeal the 2003 construction regulations entirely, says business law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr projects and infrastructure sector head director Jurg van Dyk.
He explains that the regulations describe the requirements and obligations that must be complied with when embarking on construction work to ensure that it is performed in a safe manner.
The new regulations apply to all persons involved in construction work, with the exception of Regula- tions 3 and 5(7), which do not apply to clients building single-storey dwellings for residential purposes, he notes.
The new regulations impose duties on the client (or his/ her duly appointed agent), the designer, the principal contractor and other contractors.
It is the duty of the client to create a health and safety specification, which will be used by the appointed principal contractor to compile a health and safety plan and must be implemented and complied with during construction, says Van Dyk.
The designer must ensure that the applicable safety standards are complied with in the design and the plan must be kept in a health and safety file, which must be kept on site at all times and made avail- able to the relevant persons upon request.
Each contractor must compile a risk assessment, which will form part of the health and safety file and must inform the client of potential dangers and hazards in writing, he says.
All personnel must be trained in accordance with the plan before they are allowed on site and all necessary care must be taken by the relevant competent persons when working with heavy or dangerous machinery, or with flammable or hazardous materials on site.
Adequate supervision and moni- toring of contractors must take place at all times on site.
Three dates are relevant to the application and enforceability of the new regulations for current construction projects. In the interim, the old regulations will apply, highlights Van Dyk.
Where physical construction started on or before February 7, 2014, parties are exempt from complying with the new regulations until August 6, 2015, he explains.
Where physical construction started after February 7, 2014, parties are exempt from complying with the 2014 Regulations until August 7, 2014.
Parties are exempt from compliance with regulations 3 (application for a construction work permit) and 5(7)(b) (appointment of an agent) of the new regulations until August 7, 2015, 18 months after the commencement of the new regulations.
“The new regulations make noncompliance an offence sanctioned by either a fine or imprisonment,” he concludes.