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How to get a Construction Regulations exemption

Construction employers, contractors and maintenance contractors, may ask for Construction Regulations exemption.

The general threshold for obtaining a Construction Work Permit is for work involving R13m, or 180 days, or 1800 man-days, or a CIDB grading of Level 6. Applications have to state the registration numbers and cellphone numbers of Health and Safety Agents.

About 400 concurrent construction sites in South Africa require Work Permits. Inspectors are currently in training on enforcing the Construction Regulations, and will be using a new data system.

DOL told Sasol and its contractors at a conference in Midrand that employers may ask for exemption from the CR by a submission to the relevant DOL provincial office, motivating how workers and the public are protected on their site.

Provincial inspectors would visit the site and add their recommendation to the submission that is sent to DOL head office in Pretoria.

Consulting body NIOCCSA advise certain categories of employers to apply for Construction Regulations exemption from some of the requirements of registration, and from the appointment of a Construction Manager for each single site.

Labour inspectors may not stop work

Labour inspectors may stop work only if they find life-threatening conditions or operations, or the risk of serious health impacts on workers or the public.

The power to issue a prohibition notice is limited to actual life-threatening activities or operations. They do not have the power to stop an entire site or factory if only one process is high risk.

A site was recently brought to a halt when an inspector issued a Prohibition Notice on finding five workers not wearing hearing protection. Inspectors may stop work in noise zones if hearing protection was not provided, to resume as soon as workers in the noise zones (above 85dB) are issued with PPE.

DOL said Labour inspectors first issue a Prohibition Notice, and have to approach the Chief Inspector, Thobile Lamati. They may also issue a Contravention Notice that the employer has to follow to rectify exposure to specific hazards or risks.

The time of a follow-up inspection is stated in Contravention Notices. Employers, inspectors and the court have to follow the principle of reasonable practicality that is enshrined in the law.

The legal period to comply is 60 days, but some inspectors give notice of a period of 30 days. Employers also have 60 days to appeal to the Chief Inspector in writing, by stating grounds for appeal.

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