Posted on: January 29, 2011 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 1

What authority does a construction safety officer have to enter an area demarcated by black and yellow tape for rigging and crane lifting, asks Brian Irlam.

The purpose of entry to this demarcated area should be to inspect and observe operations of his colleagues and of crane operator staff.

Is the safety officer, taking reasonable precautions and observations, permitted to enter the crane area?

Would an employee or team leader of the operation in progress, have the right to refuse entry to a construction safety officer into a crane rigging area? Does he have to get permission from that team leader to enter the area?
If a DOL inspector wanted to enter such and area, would he be able to do so without the having to request permission?

Does a safety officer have carte blanche to enter any area on a construction site under his jurisdiction?

System problem editor SHEQafrica comments; Irrespective of legislation, authority is usually earned, not given.

Your site seems to be surffering from a systemic and functional disconnection between the principal, and contractors.

Ideally, contractors would integrate their health and safet system with the principal before coming on site.

Procedures, including H&S procedures, should be included in the contract, integrated into the mangement system, and discussed in advance of contract work.

Work at height is a specialised component within construction, and there may well be an udnerstanding that a crane contractor would take H&S responsibility within his demarcated area.

There can not ber a law, regulation, contract or agreement for everything, and that is what toolbox talks are for.

Issues of health and safety co-operation should be escalated to middle management, and should not be a bother to either party, but an opportunity to rectify management system integration.

For the benefif of our other constructdion readers, please report back on how this contract safety assurance issue was resolved.


1 people reacted on this

  1. Construction safety Officer Authority Query.

    Thank you Christel and all the team at Sheqafrica.The matter was resolved as a result of your reply and advice given and suggestions offered,which were followed.The safety officer now with due regard for his own safety has carte blanche entry to any are on site for the purposes of job observations and inspections checks and tests of all OHS related issues at any time.Provided he report to the team leader or operator and announce his presence to him and as matter of courtesy request his permission and approval or assistance where required.
    Thanks once again Sheqafrica for such awesome assistance and great forum.
    Brian Irlam

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