Health & Safety

Global Health & Safety Performance in Construction

Construction health and safety (H&S) has long been the focus of attention in South Africa, and while it is acknowledged that stakholders have made significant efforts to improve H&S within the construction industry, overall construction H&S is not improving. Construction continues to contribute a disproportionate number of fatalities and injuries relative to other industrial sectors, and there continues to be high levels of non-compliance with H&S legislation generally, and specifically the construction and other H&S Regulations in South Africa.
 

  • enhancing the impact of the Construction Regulations;
  • using public sector procurement to achieve improvements in construction H&S;
  • enhancing the understanding of the status of construction H&S in South Africa through the timeous provision of H&S information and statistics;
  • establishing minimum competence standards and accreditation client appointed H&S agents in terms of the Construction Regulations;
  • establishing of a 'H&S Agency' as a focus point for the promotion, awareness, information, advice and promotion of research on construction H&S;
  • building H&S capacity within relevant unions and facilitating closer working relationships between employers and union members to enhance construction H&S;
  • ensuring that tertiary education addresses construction H&S and related issues;
  • facilitating a developmental approach to support small and emerging contractors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

South Africa is not lacking in terms of H&S legislation. However, while the Construction Regulations have had an impact, the Construction Regulations need to be amended to promote optimum H&S throughout all phases of a project, in particular the concept, initiation and detailed design phases. Enforcement of the Construction Regulations is inadequate and the OH&S Inspectorate is understaffed and lacks the requisite construction expertise.

Furthermore, there is a lack of comprehensive construction H&S statistics and the most recent statistics, available from the Compensation Commissioner, are for the year 1999 - and the Compensation Fund is perceived to be "dysfunctional".

At the organisational and site level, poor construction H&S performance is attributable to a lack of management commitment, inadequate supervision and inadequate or a lack of H&S training. A lack of worker involvement, personal risk appreciation and work pressures also contribute to poor performance.

Specific attention needs to be given to small and emerging contractors, who typically have limited resources to provide for H&S and whose H&S processes will typically be less structured and based rather on prior contract experience. A developmental approach is needed to support this sub-sector of the industry. The recommendations contained in a recent Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) report are:

H&S management is one of the four important construction extensions to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) as defined by the Project Management Institute. The other three are: Claims management, Financial management and Environmental management.

The PMBOK and the construction extensions are covered in ProjectPro’s popular 3-day Engineering and Construction Project Management workshop which is to be held on 23-25 June 2010 in Midrand, Gauteng. The workshop is validated for 3 CPD credits by ECSA. Visit www.projectpro.co.za to register or call 012-346 6674 for more information.

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