Posted on: January 17, 2012 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

Five construction companies are forming Buildsafe South Africa (BSA) in January 2012, after a UAE model “to improve construction health, safety and welfare”.

Founding employers include Sasol Technology, Aveng Grinaker-LTA, Murray & Roberts, Fluor, and Foster Wheeler. The non-profit organisation will organise sharing of information and incident reports among construction organisations.

The construction sector is already served by 10 statutory bodies and four membership bodies (see ‘Construction who’s who’ list below). BSA follows an attempt to resolve construcitdon safety training and qualifications fragmentation among UAE emirates.

Buildsafe SA aims at “better awareness at all personnel levels” and “an incident free and injury free workplace,” citing that “this initiative was successfully implemented in the UAE, and following that model, leading representatives envisage that SA can follow suit in its desired outcomes and key objectives.”

David Bass was appointed Buildsafe SA administrator. He asked the construction industry to “actively participate in the initiative, designed to get information to the majority of the 55 000 construction contractors and associated stakeholders”.

The launch of Buildsafe SA is on January 19, 2012, at Emperor’s Palace casino in Kempton Park.

Five employers form Buildsafe SA

Mark Flower, Fluor MD, said Buildsafe SA is “aimed at influencing the construction industry’s attitude and disposition towards health, safety and welfare for workers through improving overall awareness and understanding”.

Shane van der Nest, Fluor health, safety, and environmental director, is among the founding members.

Flip de Wet, Sasol Technology MD, said; “The construction industry is lagging behind the mining sector in its overall health and safety performance. Being a part of this initiative is going to work towards closing that gap”.

Dawid Heymans, Sasol Technology executive manager of people management, is among the fonder members of Buildsafe SA.

Nigel Harvey, operations executive at Murray & Roberts, said his company was “proud to be a founding member of Buildsafe Dubai, so it was only natural to help it to launch in SA”.

Grahame McCaig, MD of Aveng Grinaker-LTA, said Buildsafe advocates “the proven principle that investment in safety will deliver a positive return, leading to an improvement on the bottom line of overall performance.”

Steve Scott, MD of Foster Wheeler, said construction “has to adopt an attitude of being open to recording incidents. In managing construction projects, this will create awareness and ensure that accidents are prevented and minimised”.

Construction response to Buildsafe SA

SAFCEC health and safety specialist Rudolf Murray comments; “As an employer organisation with a vested interest in occupational health and safety matters, we would normally support all and any initiatives that aim to improve construction health, safety and welfare, however we are concerned that various bodies and institutions are already involved, and proliferation of entities dilute the efforts made.

“We do not wish to see confusion among construction bodies and authorities, as to whom to talk to. SAFCEC and Master Builders SA structures already have mechanisms to deal with health and safety problems and issues at hand. We strive for closer co-operation between existing organisations.”

SA Department of Labour Construction and Major Hazard Installations occupational health and safety director, Tibor Szana, comments; “DOL fully supports any initiative that seeks to improve work environments. The fact that business is organising itself around this initiative is great. Prof Smallwood had reported that culture is determined at the top. Leading companies participating in this initiative would release inspectors to some degree, to focus on assisting and monitoring SMME and informal employers.

“Self regulation, as one of the cornerstones of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, was never really fully realised to the extent that it should be. This initiative moves in that direction. Construction has been fragmented and such initiatives did not always get the support required.

“I believe that the idea is to get all big and medium sized companies involved. It would be great if these companies then managed contractors and sub-contractors to take them along, imparting health and safety knowledge, experience and discipline. This could put to bed the Section 37(2) [appointee] mindset.

“DOL will support and be involved in this Buildsafe initiative, and welcome organised business and organised labour getting involved. This could be a decade of difference and teamwork in the construction sector.

“We invite readers to report unsafe and unhealthy workplaces, and we will ensure that construction employers comply with applicable legislation.”

ACHASM chairman Anton Krause comments; “We welcome such iniatives in the South African construction industry. With the right backing and buy-in, this could have a major positive impact on construction project delivery. We will follow the BSA initiative with interest and offer our support when requested.”

Construction safety who’s who

Department of Labour (DOL) Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Safety, ACOHS, includes several construction related members, among members nominated by DOL, business, and labour unions, including BUSA nominee and Master Builders Association Gauteng employee Doug Michell; BUSA nominee and Master Builders Association KZN employee Neels Nortje (see SAIOSH); BUSA nominee George Kleinsmit (see SAFSEC); Ceppwawu nominee Pelelo Magane; Fedusa nominee J Sehlabaka ,and specialist nominee Prof Theo Haupt of CPUT (see ACHASM).

ACOHS had proposed a statutory body to be named OHSTEC, or OHS Technical Committee, in the now postponed Construction Regulations Amendment draft of 2010, section 29, to be self-funded, to investigate employers, and to advise the Labour Minister.

If this proposal is promulgated in the renewed Construction Regulations amendment of 2012, this body could play a significant role in construction practice. The plan was criticized during public comment last year for proposing a semi-autonomous body to execute state functions, at potentially great cost to industry.

SACPCMP, SA Council for Project and Construction Management Professions, is a DOL statutory body, since 2002 mandated to ‘create specified categories of registration for construction H&S’, to guide construction HS and other functions. It also sets categories, under sec 18(1)(c ), for construction H&S officers, Client appointed H&S Agents, and Construction Supervisors.

SACPCMP is a statutory body under section 2 of the Project and Construction Management Act, 48 of 2000, that provides for professional certification, registration and regulation of project and construction management professions, by way of dual registration.

SACPCMP operates under seven construction related Acts regulating the professions of Architect, Landscape Architect, Engineer, Property Valuer, Quantity Surveyor, Construction Project Manager, Construction Manager.

SACPCMP is mandated to register safety professionals on three rolls; HS Agent, HS Supervisor, HS Officer.

SACPCMP had asked ACHASM to list minimum qualifications, competencies, and scope of services. SACPCMP registrar is Thoko Machimane.

ACHASM, Association of Construction Health and Safety Management, was formed in 2005 by Anton Krause, Marius Eppenberger, Claire Deacon and Prof John Smallwood, who make up the board, and Prof Theo Haupt, Dirk Botha, and the late Tjaart van Staden. Non director board members include Neil Wells, Rose Matete, Kristine Miller and Jaco van Dam.

ACHASM aims to develop and maintain construction health and safety best practice, and build information platforms among other built environment professions, to ensure sharing of information and assist in integration of construction health and safety project management principles in built environment disciplines and processes.

ECSA, Engineering Council of SA, statutory body, registers engineers in nine disciplines. Specialised practice depends on a code of conduct and CESA rules. Four categories of registration are provided for in the Engineering Profession Act, 46 of 2000, each with accredited qualifications.

Engineers have a BSc Eng or B Eng degree. Engineering Technologists have a BTech Eng degree and six years experience. Engineering Technicians have a three year National Diploma Eng and eight years experience. Certificated Engineers have a relevant Government Certificate of Competency (GCC), one of the other qualifications, and be responsible for a plant.
Engineering Technicans with N1 or N6 require 10 years experience, two in positions of responsibility, and technician level work. Engineers with BTech /National Diploma, need 10 years experience, with 40% of third and fourth year university subjects.

Engineering Technologists with a National Higher Diploma, need six years experience, with four in a position of responsibility including design work, or a National Diploma with eight years experience, of which five in a position of responsibility, and CPD up to date. Complaints are investigated in the interest of public safety.

CESA, Consulting Engineers of SA, registers consulting engineering companies on a voluntary basis, against criteria, including specialisms, and more than 50% must be registered engineers with ECSA.

CIDB, Construction Industry Development Board, is a statutory body to reform the construction sector, keep a register of contractors, and with PPC and NURCHA, publish contractor management guidelines for small and medium size contractors.

SAFCEC, SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors, is an employer organisation. George Kleinsmith represents BUSA on ACOHS. The SAFCEC safety committee for several years included IoSM founder Ray Strydom. SAFCEC planned to run a safety practitioner registration scheme.

AIAs, Approved Inspection Authorities, are registered consultants, whose services could be enforced by a Construction Regulations amendment draft to oversee risk assessments, and ‘assist the Department of Labour in enforcing legislation’.

CBE, Council for the Built Environment, is a statutory body established in terms of the Council for the Built Environment Act, 43 of 2000, appointed 2002. It represents Engineering Council of SA, Council for Architectural Profession, Council for Quantity Surveying Profession, Council for Property Valuers Profession, Council for Landscape Architectural Profession, Council for Project and Construction Management Professions, government, and public.

CBE is an umbrella body controlling the six construction professional councils. Registration criteria include a recognised four year degree or equivalent in built environment, or recognition for prior experience, if supported by recognised education, and three years appropriate experience as a single person responsible, or as a Candidate working under the guidance of a registered or registerable person.

CBE roles include being champion of governance, appropriate health standards, safety, environmental protection, and training standards.

CESA, Consulting Engineers SA, has representatives on the construction H&S technical committee.

PROCSA, Professional Consultants Services Agreement Committee, recommends terms of engagement between construction clients and consultants. It claims participation and ratification from all major professional associations and SAPOA, as well as ratification by professional indemnity insurers and various construction councils.

PROCSA and ACHASM have drafted an HS Agent scope of services and deliverables across six phases of construction, integrated with other professional functions.

NIOH, National Institute of Occupational Health, and NHLS, National Health Laboratory Services, are state bodies researching occupational health exposures and impacts.

CETA, Construction Seta, supports construction training and skills development within the National Qualifications Framework (NQF). CETA is accredited for Education and Training Quality Assurance (ETQA) by SAQA, and authorised to accredit and monitor accredited training providers. CETA does not offer training itself, but offers assessment for recognition of prior learning (RPL).

SAIOH, Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene, represents and registers OH and occupational hygiene practitioners in the sub-continent.

MBSA, Master Builders SA, is a voluntary membership body.

Other organisations with limited roles in construction sheq include ESSA, Ergonomics Society, and SARPS, Radiation Protection Society.

IoSM, Institute of Safety Management, a voluntary body with statutory aspirations via various councils and boards like OSPC, OHSAP and NOSHBO, was formed in 1952 and run by Ray Strydom up to 2009. Its Coastal branch broke away to form SAIOSH in 2010 under former IoSM president Neels Nortje.

SAIOSH, SA Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, formed by IoSM Coastal branch in 2010, is also recruiting construction health and safety practitioners, competing with Achasm and IoSM.

Environmental bodies in SA include SAIEH, SA Institute of Environmental Health, SAIEA, Southern African Institute for Environmental Assessment

Statutory SA construction insurer, FEM, records construction incident losses, and reports these figures on a general and anonymous percentage basis. Buildsafe SA did not specify whether they would circulate incident information on a generic, anonymous basis, or name the organisations and sites involved.

UAE construction safety training model

Buildsafe SA administrator David Bass brings his idea from the UAE, where he had called for a national UAE organisation to “provide standardised health and safety training and qualifications.”

Bass is health and safety manager at Al Naboodah Contracting, who lamented the problem of training fragmentation among Arabian emirates.

“You can have your staff fully trained up, but if you present that to another client, they won’t accept it.” IOSH Middle East had lobbied the UAE for forming one authority as educational body.

PHOTO; Nigel Harvey, operations executive at Murray & Roberts, is a founding member of Buildsafe Dubai, and now of Buildsafe SA.

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