Construction contractors at risk in registration bungle

Construction contractors may not appoint a health and safety Agent, Manager, or Officer, unless SACPCMP registered, with required competencies and resources.

[[UPDATE 5 AUGUST; See the DOL notice of postponement by way of an exemption, circulated a few days after this post]] From 8 August 2014 [[postponed to August 2015]], construction contractors are in breach of the Construction Regulations unless their construction safety Officers and Managers are registered with the SACPCMP, and considered competent.

Should a fatality occur, it would be investigated accordingly. Breach of statutory duty is sufficient grounds for civil claims where there was fault on the part of the employer, regardless of the effect of damage or injury.

It is thus important that the logical exemption be provided by the DOL. If not, we advise companies to apply for exemption on their own accord, and keep record of such application, said consultants’ body NIOCCSA.

Problems of interpretation and practicalities with the Construction Regulations run deeper than a matter of twelve months.

According to Anthony Forgey of the SACPCMP, they “receive many incomplete applications, some of which are not sufficiently documented for processing, or are unpaid. This represents a staggering 75% of applications.”

On a request from NIOCCSA for clarity on the requirements of Construction Regulation 34(2), which exempts compliance with Permits and Construction HS Agent registration for 18 months from the date of commencement, Anthony Forgey responded;

“I have discussed the matter with DoL (Phumi Maphaha) and we have agreed that while it was not intended, it was a bit of an oversight in not specifying that the Officer and Manager categories deadline is also August 2015.”

The DOL had said that they will be issuing an exemption notice to clarify this, but with less than a week before the new regulations takes effect on projects started after 7 February 2014, no clarification had been issued.

NIOCCSA urges members to register

Forgey also informed the consultants; “Certainly one of the most valuable assistance at this point would be to alert applicants to the requirements, and the importance of the completeness of documentation.”

NIOCCSA chairperson Rudy Maritz said, “We cannot allow consultants to operate as Agents if they are not registered, as it goes against our code of ethics and conduct. It is thus important that there is a formal exemption from the DOL to allow more time for officers and managers to register.

“For a consultant to approve construction contractors’ health and safety plan, where the safety Officer is not registered, would be sufficient reason to lodge a formal complaint and institute disciplinary action. It would however be unfair, since Officers and Managers are not doing their part to register,” said Maritz.

Neither the DOL nor SACPCMP is to blame for this state of affairs, as the message was not conveyed properly to practitioners. Public perception that the deadline for all is only in 2015, is incorrect.

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Edmond Furter

Editor at Sheqafrica.com
Edmond Furter is the editor of Sheqafrica.com. He is a freelance technical journalist, and has won six journalism awards. He specialises in industrial, business, and cultural content in web, journal, and book formats.

21 thoughts on “Construction contractors at risk in registration bungle

  1. This comes from the news24 facebook page
    Lindsay Kluyts Construction regulations 2014 clearly state we have to register with the sacpcmp. Just go onto their website and get the shock of your life. Its going to cost you R27000.00 to register and then a few thousand a year to stay registered. I am already registeted but was under the impression that cut off has been postponed to august 2015?

  2. I was in a public workshop / meeting hosted by SASOL where Anthony Forgey stated that the deadline has been postponed to August 2015, now it seems that its incorrect?
    Is it not the duty of the DOL and SACPCMP to convey these messages properly to practitioners, or am I not understanding this whole situation correctly and who is to blame if its not their duty?

    I know of safety officers, consultants and managers that are active in the construction and manufacturing industry and are now withdrawing from the construction industry simply because they have had enough of this situation.
    Why are there so many SHEQ personnel working outside the borders of South Africa? It’s not just because of the better pay! Is this another “brain drain” happening? Lets rather send our skills outside of the borders. Is that whats going to happen? Look at the statistics of expats working on international projects.

    I don’t disagree with why they are doing it or the standards that they are implementing BUT I am not agreeing in the way its done. The competitions board breaking their own legislation to appoint a singular governing body?

    They might want to have a look at the constitutional laws while they are busy enforcing their own. A personal friend and lawyer has already pointed it out to me that the way it is done is against the constitution of this country. People are very quick to jump on the constitution bandwagon for other reasons but not this one, maybe its easier to simply change direction and continue with something else or somewhere else.

    ==== Editor notes; The competition issue relates to work reservation for certain individuals, not to bodies. The SAQA policy on professional bodies requires single bodies for singular practices, for reasons including general support and viability. SAQA breached its own policy by recognising three OHS bodies (Saiosh, Saioh, Iosm), soon to be four (SACPCMP), and perhaps more Sheq (enviro, quality, consulting) bodies in Sheq practice. That is about three institutes too many.
    Forthcmoning rationalisation of construction bodies, with the removal of the Council for the Built Environment (CBE), indicates that board-building is endemic in the construction industry, where there are also too many bodies per person.

    1. Raymond, I think you are right about the whole Competition thing. The DOL may not enforce a law that prevents people from working, unless they have exemption from the work rules. In this regard it makes the entire process null and void and not enforceable.
      As far as the Constitution goes, it does provide for “rules” to be applied in legislation pertaining to a specific profession or type of work.

  3. What a debacle, I have worked as a safety officer and manager in SA and overseas for over 20 years. I have managed safety on construction projects exceeding 5 Billion USD employing up to 15 000 laborers but cannot be appointed as a safety manager in South Africa because I am not registered and therefore not considered competent. I think I will stay overseas.

  4. So I am a SHEQ officer or manager registration is unbelievable I have been on construction more than 4 year. With this registration of the SHEQ professionls minimum of two years experience on construction what this means when we that are currently SHEQ professional on construction die out there will be no persons to fill up in this position due to the registrations. With in 10 years no SHEQ professionals will be on construction in South Africa. Construction in SA will come to a hold no construction due to non complainse

  5. Can anyone please tell me what this means for expanding FMCG companies that primarily makes use of their own personnel to perform construction work? Does project managers and safety officers/managers for those companies also have to register with SACPCMP?

      1. Except there is nothing in the Construction regulations that says project managers and construction managers CR8(1) has to be registered. Only CHS people.

  6. I am also looking for clarity on the exemption period of the amended construction regs. I am a SHE officer for production facility, but we have a large construction project starting in a few weeks. Sci-Vest are the consultant engineers , and we are client . What exactly must be complied with by who? I would assume the awarded contractor must ensure the compliance of the regs and we would check and audit them accordingly.

  7. The SAPCMP has to assist the prossess of registration and minimumize registration procedures in order to accomplish their intended objective. It does not help to tighten registration procedures whilst they are failling the process, the 95% of Safety Practitioners in SA have got less than 10 years experience with SAMTRAC qualifications, and for God sake they are the ones who are implementing the SHEQ management system with quality in the industries toreduce possible injuries. SACPMP MUST REVIEW THEIR REGISTRATION PROCEDURES, then the process will begin to unfold smoothly. currently they seating with 75% pending applicatiom for the past 12 months, that simply means that in the next 12 months they might battle to reduce the backlog. This kind of setup discourages young people to race for this particular career and even thiose who are in the career right now

  8. Thusfar both the SACPCMP and DOL is quiet on the matter.
    Does that imply they are not going to put their words in writing?
    If the registration deadline for all categories has been been moved to 2015, how would we be able to prove it, other than to quote statements made in a public forum?
    Regulation 8(6) prohibits the appointment of an unregistered person, but where do we get registered ones if there are none available due to a back-log?

  9. The exemption notice was issued by the DDG today. I find it strange that so many people complain about the registration process, the qualifications required for Officer and Manager are noting more than a couple of short course and the experience required is also nothing, 4-5 years. As for Pr. CHS Agent, if you are not a graduate and do not have a minimum of 6 years pure construction OHS experience then you don’t qualify, it is as simple as that. I don’t see Pr. Eng’s being registered without higher education qualifications.

    1. Mark, you are so right about them not having reason to complain. It has been communicated since last year and debated ad infinitum. The number of complaints in other forums tells me only one thing – these whiners are not even keeping up to date with SHEQ gossip and news, how will they maintain their CPD????
      There is however one thing I disagree with, and that is the requirements for Pr.CHSA. A National Diploma + 6 years experience would suffice. You need not be a graduate.
      Nevertheless, Even that is already good enough.

  10. If Peter is correct then,So who of you have R27000.00 to register and then a few thousand a year to stay registered.

  11. Nairb, I quoted someone from news24’s facebook page. If you look on the SACPCMP website for fee structure, you would see it is not really that high. Officers can start of with R190 application fee, then exam fee, then registration fee, then annual fee, CBE levy and admin fee – I did some rough somme and it comes down to around R5000. The problem comes in with the Cash Production Department – CPD – you need 10,4 points per annum to get to the required 52 points over a 5 year cycle. A one day workshop in Johburg will earn you 1 point at around R3000, then your flight and accommodation and travel costs brings it to around R7000 if you not based in Johburg. So earning your 10,4 points per annum comes to around R40 000.
    And who gets it? the profession? the R&D of H&S? the previously disadvantaged H&S officer? Hell no!! The event organisers. CPD – lets print some money. Don’t bother being a professional body – be an accredited training provider – it’s your license to CPD.

    1. SACPCMP should follow the SAIOSH /IOSHSA CPD model whereby annual H&S practice earns you the most CPD points. They also host free CPD seminars and workshops for their members. I have a staff members that is registered with SAIOSH and from what I can see is this SAQA professional body is really making a difference in the H&S field, reasonable membership fees and lots of benefits.

      1. Mark
        I am not sure I agree with you on that one. Having one year more experience in doing things wrong, does not make a person more competent. However, experience should carry more weight on the initial assessment.
        I recently received a copy of the CPD annual report to claim points. I spent the last year training people on contractor management & the construction regulations. I cannot claim anything for it. Or I do not see where I need to put it on the forms.
        And I would love to attend one of my own workshops and learn something new.
        🙂

      2. Rudy I cannot agree with you. If a person graduate and qualify as an engineer there is no better way for him/her to develop continuously and professionally on an annual basis than to practice in the engineering field that he/she chose. Practicing within a profession should therefore count for at least 1/3 of annual CPD points. It goes without say that the practice / work experience must be able to be verified. I have been following some of you posts and although most of them are informative and constructive you do have the tendency to be negative towards other’s viewpoints, if it is not your way it seems to be the wrong way. Case in point, your assumption that all registered professionals will do things wrong for the next year and therefore practicing should not earn CPD points. Not so, contrary to your believe, there are true professionals in South Africa even in H&S.

      3. Mark, then I guess we agree to disagree.
        However 1/3 of the CPD points you mentioned is not quite what I responded to in your original post which stated “annual H&S practice earns you the most CPD points”.
        I guess I am doing maths the wrong way.

  12. The CR 2014 states on this that “after consultation with client…appoint a …H&S officer” when an inspector deems it necessary, it has to happen. I work for a manufacturing company and get contractors in from time to time to do for instance electrical work. CR applies even when working on a cable, so now a local, (SMME) electrical co has to appoint a dedicated manager, supervisor and whatever interpretation of the first sentence a H&S officer along with all the other paperwork.
    Point is, how practical is this for small SMMEs to comply? This new regulation is simply unrealistic and impractical.
    Furthermore, our Maintenance dept. works on cables regularly. A recent training session on this topic advised us we have to appoint project-specific manager etc every time! Can we get anything manufactured these days?

    1. Willem
      I understand your position. There are many companies in SA who performs construction work but not are not necessarily construction companies. The regulations have been debated, designed and implemented in a somewhat negligent disregard for these businesses. It is flawed with compliance issues and definitely due for redraft.
      The issue of the Construction manager is only one example.
      Firstly, there is no requirement that he/she has to be registered with the SACPCMP.
      Secondly, 95% of Construction managers (the competent ones) run two or more projects at a time.
      Thirdly, the duty to appoint this person, lies with the Principal contractor, and not with the contractors. There is no need for each contractor on site to appoint this person. If it does happen, it defeats the purpose of the appointment.
      Fourthly, CR8(7) puts the duty to appoint a supervisor (Old 6.1) on the construction manager but not the PC or contractor. This is the first ever H&S regulation that puts strict liability on an individual and relieves the CEO from making such appointment. (big mistake).
      The “big idea” behind this appointment is to make ONE ONLY person responsible for managing (Planning, leading, coordinating, controlling and resourcing) of the project and the health & safety on site. This person can be compared to the 16(2) appointee in terms of authority on site.
      As regards to the “Cable”, it is a term that appears in the definition of “Structures” which does not fit with the general characteristics of the other terms within that definition. Nor does it specify the type of cable – electrical, optic, steel, etc. It does not belong there. However, “cable way” or “aerial cable way” would have made more sense. It appears that the person involved in the draft, has very little construction experience, but more H&S experience and this can be seen from the list of “Stakeholders” engaged in the process.
      My advice to you is to apply for an exemption from the “single site” restriction of CR8(1) and CR 8(4).
      But when the Development Agency for Safety & Health saw these errors in October 2013 and requested amendments, the CR stakeholders objected and the DOL first agreed and then withdrew us the opportunity to suggest alternatives.

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