Posted on: August 26, 2010 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 1

Department of Labour Chief Inspector Thobile Lamati answers construction draft legislation queries in an interview with SHEQafric.com editor SHEQafrica.

SHEQafrica.com; What are the current status and aims of the Construction Regulations amendment draft, in August 2010?

DOL CI; “Construction Regulations are under review, and was sent to state law advisers for their opinion. The draft was subsequently published for public comment. All comments will be considered, including points raised by Sheafrica.com. Amendments seek to provide an environment to engage major stakeholders, Clients, Designers, Contractors and Health and Safety Officers, from the design stage, through the lifespan of construction projects.”

Construction versus industry

SHEQafrica.com; Would the DOL legislator enforce the services of registrars in other business sectors, for example, in manufacturing, retail, transport, mining construction?

DOL CI; “The issue of registration has been raised in construction regulation only. However, we may explore the idea with a view to cover all sectors.”

SHEQafrica.com; Is the draft provision for a construction safety registrar, in line with QCTO /NQF Act 2008?

DOL CI; “Your query is noted. We will respond after a decision is made on the matter by the Advisory Council.”

Accreditation via SANAS or SAQA /QCTO

SHEQarica.com; SANAS is legally recognised as ‘National Accreditation Body for Laboratories, Certification Bodies, Inspection Bodies, Proficiency Testing Scheme Providers, and Good Laboratory Practice Test Facilities, to carry out specific tasks’. Safety practitioners do not fall into these categories. Is SANAS accreditation appropriate to a safety practitioner registration scheme? Should the proposed registrar be registered with SAQA /QCTO /NQF Act 67 of 2008?

DOL CI; “We await finalisation of the public comment phase to determine the way forward, based on the consultation phase. Consultation has commenced with SANAS, but is not complete.

SANAS has registered bodies in relation to auditors. SANAS has also accredited organisations such as the former SAQCCs, some of which fulfill a similar role to that proposed, like SAATCA and SAIW.

SANAS mandate is broader than that you note, it had increased. SANAS had noted that they would expand their services.
A DOL decision will be made on the matter during public comment consolidation phase. The Advisory Council ACOHS will decide on the matter prior to advice to the Minister.

SHEQafrica.com; SAATCA accredits OHS auditors. Should SAATCA be the safety registrar?

DOL CI; “A decision will be made after comments have been considered during the public comment phase. SAATCA’s role in construction will be evaluated, as with similar bodies. SAATCA’s readiness will be evaluated should they show interest, and considered should the DOL consider moving in the direction noted by the legislation, and should they apply to do so. Whether or not they would comply with the requirements is a separate issue.

Construction safety registrars

SHEQafrica.com; Most tertiary qualified safety practitioners are registered with international professional bodies, based on
extensive, elaborate, and stringent training, skills, quality and experience assurance processes. Could OHSAP, SAFSEC, or ACHASM, compare with these registration processes?

DOL CI; “If there were no institutions to fit the bill of what DOL requires, the Chief Inspector would not consider any institution as adequate. No organisation has yet been approved to fulfill the required function. A decision in this regard, based on comments received, would determine the way forward during the consolidation phase.

“Another intervention is currently underway that may supersede the proposed legislation. This will be considered during the public comment consolidation phase. The current process seeks to raise the H&S bar.
The legislator, when it produces the final legislation to the ACOHS, will seek to raise the level of OHS awareness o workers and reduce or eliminate workplace fatalities and injuries.

“The legislation will address key weaknesses to ensure optimal occupational safety management.
Construction industry has been given sufficient opportunity to comply with OHS legislation, but has not succeeded, hence this intervention is required.

SHEQafrica.com; IoSM /OHSAP had already appropriated the term ‘Registrar of Safety’, ROS, as used in their ‘gradings’ Is use of this title unregulated? Is it fair, or misleading marketing by a private service, or monopolistic? How did IoSM /OHSAP, and SAFSEC, and ACHASM, anticipate legislation of a registrar?

DOL CI; “We would not comment on organisations outside the DOL. The legislation has been under review for a while, with various parties involved in its development on the technical committee.”

Construction safety training

Would IoSM /OHSAP /SAIOSH, and SAATCA, and ACHASM, be allowed to offer training aligned with registration? Would this constitute a conflict of interest, or unfair competition?

DOL CI; “Any conflict of interest would be appropriately addressed by the final approving authority, who would provide guidance on the matter. The public comment phase would first be allowed to runs its full course.

Legislative consultation

SHEQafrica.com; Was the safety profession consulted by IoSM, OHSAP, ACOHS, or DOL?

DOL CI; “Safety professionals are represented on the Advisory Council, with various construction constituencies, to make input into the legislation.”

SHEQafrica.com; If the majority of safety practitioners do not accept OHSAP registration, or if it is found to not conform to the NQF Act or QCTO, what are the options to the legislator?

DOL CI; “We will respond to this after public comments have been considered and consolidated, and the final draft delivered to the Advisory Council. Construction safety professionals have had an opportunity to comment. The public comment phase is a consultative phase. The legislator will ensure that the final legislation is fair, and aligned with other legislation.”

Labour legislative process

SHEQafrica.com; Some participants at a Gauteng construction workshop, noted in the gazetted draft; ‘errors, contradictions, omissions, hidden agendas, incorrect reference, grammar, vague definitions, definitions for some terms not used, no definitions for some terms used.’

DOL CI; “We will review comments, opinions and proposals for change. Note that the building and construction industry fully participated in technical committees that worked on the Construction Regulations amendment draft. I would not comment on ‘hidden agendas’ since I have not been privy to such comments made.
The legislation is still under review. The purpose of a public comment is to gather the opinions of various interested parties and consider each.”

SHEQafrica.com; Was the draft concluded in haste?

DOL CI; “There was no haste at all. We had a clear understanding of issues to be amended, and did so in consultation with all the stakeholders. It took a year to produce the draft. I thank ACOHS members for their dedication and commitment.”

SHEQafrica.com; If there is extensive revision, and strong opposition to some provisions, would the Minister allow a second public comment period?

DOL CI; “Comments received will be considered, especially where solid reasons are provided for proposed exclusions or inclusions. The draft will then be presented to the ACOHS for ratification prior to being sent to the Minister. ACOHS includes business, organised labour and specialist constituencies.”

SHEQafrica.com; Which OHS Act sections are under review?

DOL PI; “Definitions, and sections 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 23; 27; 28; 29; 30; 34; 37; 38; 39; 43; 48; 49; 50.”

PHOTO; Labour Department chief inspector Thobile Lamati.

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  1. Do we have any indication when all these construction regulation deliberations will be concluded? It would seem that the draft was hastily concluded, seeing the amount of comments, and the time it is taking DOL to conclude the amendment.

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