The new Construction Regulations was launched by the Minister of Labour, Mildred Oliphant on 7 February 2014.The process of amending the regulations was a long one starting in 2006, amending the first Construction Regulations promulgated in 2003 forming part of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.
The Construction Industry is a major role player in the South African economy. For an economy to grow and develop there has to be infrastructure. The Construction Industry assists in providing such infrastructure in the development of cities and towns, as well as industry as a whole.
Important Construction Regulations changes
Some important changes have been brought about by the new Construction Regulations, which were highlighted by the Minister. These include theregistration of construction professionals in three categories, namely construction health and safety agent, construction health and safety manager, and construction health and safety officer.
This registration would have to be done through the South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), and professionals would be subject to a process, including an interview or exam to test their competence. This in an effort to ensure that the professionals are educated, knowledgeable and proficient in what they do and the legislative requirements with respect to Health and Safety.
Construction Work Permit
Furthermore the new regulations has introduced a construction work permit systems in terms of which an requirement is set that an application must be lodged by the client with the Department of Labour 30 days prior to construction work commencing.
The matter is dealt with under Regulation 3: “Application for construction work permit – 3 (1) A client who intends to have construction work carried out, must at least 30 days before that work is to be carried out apply to the provincial director in writing for a construction work permit to perform construction work if the intended construction work will-
(a) Exceed 180 days;
(b) Will involve more than 1800 person days of construction work, or
(c) The works contract is of a value equal to or exceeding thirteen million rand or Construction Industry Development Board (CIBD) grading level 6”.
Construction Health and Safety Technical Committee
Minister Oliphant also announced that she had instructed the Health and Safety Chief Inspector to establish a Construction Health and Safety technical committee, which would consist of various industry stakeholders.
She explained “The primary role of this committee will be to advise the chief inspector on construction-related codes, standards and training requirements, and to designate persons in writing to examine safety systems and records of companies which have high incident rates and provide recommendations to the chief inspector of occupational health and safety on the findings.”
Health and Safety Legal Registers
The introduction of the new Construction Regulations emphasizes the need to have a legal register, the need for that register to be updated and more importantly the need for an employer to have their employees trained in legislative changes in ensuring ongoing compliance and continuous improvement.
Were you aware of the new Construction Regulations, is your legal register updated and is your staff trained on the changes?