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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