The SACPCMP, registrar for project managers and construction health and safety professionals, clarified construction health and safety liability.
Head of Stakeholder Relations at the South African Council for Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP), Yuven Gounden, responded on questions about construction health and safety liability, OHS professionalisation, and its new transformation committee, to Sheqafrica.com editor Edmond Furter.
Q: What is the SACPCMP strategy for protecting CHS professionals against liability and/or responsibility, for CHS tasks that should be discharged by engineers, managers, and project managers, and for the effects of loss incidents?
A: Liability insurance cover is in existence, and being developed by several service providers, specifically directed at the health and safety industry.
The SACPCMP takes cognisance and supports these initiatives, but it is regarded as an individual’s concern, with specific requirements to be addressed by those service providers operating in the market.
Liability cover specifically applies at Professional CHS Agent (PrCHSA) level, where accountability is much more prominent, due to the specific professional status of the registration and appointment.
Liability cover may however also be applied at CHS Manager and CHS Officer level, especially to consultants, and where services are rendered in a personal capacity.
It is currently expected that H&S employees are covered by the employer’s or contractor’s liability insurance. This should also apply to employees of a construction health and safety consultant.
Liability is also subject to specific products or services. One can expect that these will be developed to specific conditions by service providers.
Q: The SACPCMP noted among its goals to increase the use of registered construction health and safety professionals. How would this be achieved?
A: Industry players and potential new entrants were exposed at the SACPCMP conference, to massive opportunities in state infrastructure development expected over the next five to fifteen years. These projects will contribute to development and transformation of the built environment.
There will also be short and medium term infrastructure developments by the private sector. We have to facilitate information sharing, capacity building, knowledge and skills transfer in the sector.
The conference contributed to improvement of standards, and benefits to registered persons. It was a platform for government to engage industry on key infrastructure projects and PPPs in the SADC region of Africa, and the continent.
It was also a platform for construction stakeholders to discuss ways and means to roll out a seamless mentorship programme in support of new entrants in the industry.
Q: The SACPCMP noted the goal of transformation; how would this be achieved in the context of construction health and safety?
A: A Transformation Committee has been established to examine all aspects of transforming the built environment, one of them being health and safety. The committee will:
- Determine a transformation framework
- Determine transformation imperatives in areas outside the SACPCMP mandate, but within its operational and functional influence
- Ensure that transformation permeates the SACPCMP strategy
- Set transformation milestones and measurements across all spheres, structures and programmes of the SACPCMP
- Determine remedies for areas that lack success with regards to transformation and monitor implementation thereof
- Ensure compliance with transformation imperatives in relevant laws and regulations.
Q: What are the current numbers of registered construction health and safety Agents, Managers, and Officers?
A: Registered persons include these designations;
40 Construction HS Agents; and 55 Candidates
243 Construction HS Managers; and 17 Candidates
711 Construction HS Officers; and 288 Candidates.
Q: What is the SACPCMP strategy for raising the general construction practice of employing, and registering people with a few one-week courses? Is the CPD model sufficient for raising CHS skills?
A: Short courses are paramount to the development of critical skills in the industry, but preferred to support a formal qualification in health and safety management.
SAQA /SETA accreditation of numerous health and safety short courses remains a challenge. Standardisation and alignment with the scope of services on the different levels of CHS practise, must now be addressed.
The CPD model is sufficient for raising CHS skills, but must be developed, especially on CHS Officer level, to improve access, and to provide in the requirements of the construction industry. The involvement of training institution is of critical importance.
Q: Are engineers who practice as de facto CHS Agents, required to register with the SACPCMP, in addition to ECSA or SAFCEC?
A: In terms of Construction Regulations 2014, 5(6) and 8(6), it is compulsory to be registered with the statutory body appointed by the Chief Inspector of Labour. The SACPCMP is the only body appointed to register construction health and safety professionals. Dual registration is allowed.
Q: From your assessment of CHS training providers, is there any tertiary OHS alternative to the Unisa Nadsam /BCom with OHS; or the NMMU degree in construction management with OHS modules?
A: Alternatives to the existing tertiary qualifications are very limited, although several tertiary institutions have shown increased interest to expand CHS modules in their built environment courses; as well as health and safety tertiary qualifications being developed.
The picture on post-graduate level has however shown considerable improvement. Several universities are involved in such programmes.
- Sources: SACPCMP head of Stakeholder Relations, Yuven Gounden, in response to questions on health and safety liability from Sheqafrica.com editor Edmond Furter, after the SACPCMP conference in October 2016 in Sandton.
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