Posted on: June 8, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

A Department of Labour plan to enforce construction safety practitioner registration, calls for comment before 11 July 2010.

The Construction Regulations draft amendment (government notice 391 of 2010, in Government Gazette 33176, May 11 2010) is proposed by the Labour minister’s Advisory Council on Occupational Health and Safety, ACOHS.

In the Construction Regulations amendment draft, an ‘occupational safety practitioner’ would mean “a person competent in occupational safety, AND certified as such by an institution accredited by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS), having the knowledge, training, experience and qualifications specific to occupational safety aspects of work or task being performed, provided that where appropriate qualifications and training are registered in terms of the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 58 of 1995, those qualifications and training shall be must be regarded the required qualifications and training.”

The draft initially proposed by ACOHS had the word “or” instead or “and”, implying that a practitioner required either relevant qualifications, skills, or registration with an accredited body. The draft now proposes to enforce both requirements.

Safety supervision enforced

The Construction Regulations amendment requires contractors to appoint a construction health and safety practitioner, based on the scope of work, or at the discretion of an inspector. Employers have to be “reasonably satisfied” that the practitioner has “necessary competencies and resources to assist the contractor.”

Technical committee proposed

Section 29 (1) 1 would require the chief inspector of occupational health and safety to establish a Construction Health and Safety Technical Committee, representing the Department of Labour (2), Department of Public Works Built Environmental Council, DPW Construction Industry Development Board, higher education in construction studies, SA Property Owners Association, civils employers, building employers, trade unions (2), consultants, a chairperson, and co-opted knowledgeable persons.
This committee would, among other sweeping functions, advise the chief inspector on construction related codes, standards and training requirements, provided that any accredited or approved training shall be in accordance with SAQA standards;
Designate people to examine safety systems and safety records of companies who have high incident rates and provide recommendations;
Make recommendations regarding any relevant matter;
Refer appeals against decisions of the committee to the chief inspector. Affected persons may appeal against a committee decision to the chief inspector within 30 days.

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