The DOL accepts SACPCMP applications as construction health and safety registration exemptions. Construction permit exemptions are based on project cost.
Current SACPCMP registration applicants will receive interim construction health and safety registration exemption verification letters on 3 August, to exempt their employers for a year, up to 31 July 2016, provided that the required fees were paid, and requried documents were submitted.
Projects of more then R130-m now require construction permits. Only about 300 projects are expected to require permits for the rest of the year, and then the level will be lowered, reports Edmond Furter from a DOL /SACPCMP seminar at Emperors Palace on 9 July 2015.
 Permits for projects above R130-m, or CIDB level 9, are required now, from 7 August 2015.
 Permits for projects above R40-m, or CIDB level 8, would be required from 7 February 2017.
 Permits for projects above R13-m, or 365 days, or 3600 person days, would be required from 7 August 2018.
The earlier requirement as promulgated, would have stopped work on many sites, for lack of DOL capacity to process the permit applications required in the Construction Regulations Amendment, and for lack of the newly required registered CHS Agents and Officers.
The permit exemptions, and registration verification letter exemptions, will be officially published in July 2015. Other health and safety laws apply as usual.
DOL construction safety head Phumi Maphaha told Sheqafrica.com that construction health and safety practitioners must already be competent, in terms of the SAQA unit standards, based on training, skills, and experience.
CHS practitioners should also have already registered by 2014, strictly speaking, however the DOL inspect and prosecute based on competence, as defined by the Construction Regulations and the SACPCMP (see another post on differences between the scopes of service, on Sheqafrica.com).
There are several registration enforcement points for CHS Agents and CHS Officers, not just the permit phases, said Maphaha.
Some employers have already been prosecuted for lacking competent construction health and safety appointees. These are based “on the merits of each case”.
The SACPCMP said it has only one registration assessor, and uses some voluntary assessors via voluntary associations.
More assessors are welcome, even if they are not yet registered. Assessors are trained by SACPCMP contractors.
The DOL and SACPCMP have already conducted 24 workshops or seminars on how to apply for construction health and safety registration.
Construction health and safety Agents have applied in “sufficient numbers”, however at a slow pace. There are said to be 3856 applications, however another official said there were 2500 applications. Twelve applicants are eligible for writing registration exams, the rest are “in process”.
Most applications lack payment of some of the relevant fees; or lack proof of experience; or have submitted poor or plagiarised experience reports; or await SACPCMP capacity.
SACPCMP hints at health and safety training
The SACPCMP has identified some skills gaps between the scope of services, and popular safety degrees or OHS courses, and will “create training modules” at CHS Manager level.
The resulting “skills interventions”, probably a training course or video-based CPD module, will be announced later.
Any training initiative may place the SACPCM in conflict with the SAQA policy on professional bodies, that prevent registrars from offering training related to the designations they sell.
Some CHS practitioners abuse the law
Some candidate construction health and safety Agents and Officers, or members of group applications, are using their SACPCMP correspondence to pose as CHS Agents or Officers. Some use false names.
Some SACPCMP registration candidates misrepresent the law by falsely implying that they have to be hired for the employer to comply, said the DOL.
[UPDATE FROM THE SACPCMP WEBSITE;] Construction health and safety registration exemptions, labelled registration verification letters, are issued on the SACPCMP website, and are proteced by ae QR code to verify the details on the letter.
“When this QR code is scanned with QR Code scanning software loaded on any smartphone, the ID number as well as the name and surname of the applicant is displayed.
“The details must be an exact match to what appears on the letter. This is an additional security measure to verify the details of the applicant online. When this QR code is scanned the surname of the applicant is displayed.
“A pre-loaded URL in the QR software will direct the inspector to the online search facility. The scanned surname can then be pasted into the online search box and the details of the applicant can be independently verified.” [-END OF UPDATE]
Meanwhile the DOL and SACPCMP are forming a construction health and safety task team to be announced in November 2016. The move could give effect to an earlier plan to form an autonomous safety inspection body as in the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), with wide powers.
Master Builders sell electronic law enforcement
The Master Builders Associations (MBAs) will launch electronic construction law enforcement software in August 2015, named the CoC OHS-IT platform, to be sold at about 0.1% of project value, said MBA official Doug Michell.
The MBs have been developing the law enforcement smartphone application for four years, and will train construction companies how to use it.
The Department of Labour welcomed the CoC OHS-IT self-enforcement initiative as “exciting”, and said that enforcement was a government, business and labour joint initiative.
The system verifies individual SACPCMP construction health and safety registration details, permit details, audit reports, whether auditors were on the audited site according to GPS data, medical certificates, and other compliance checks, on companies and contractors.
Michell said the burden of Construction Regulations Amendment implementation is thus spread to business, by self-regulation, in real time, to support the DOL. The new system enables audits and inspections.
The CoC OHS-IT software is named after the term ‘Certificate of Competence’ as used in some technical crafts.
Some CHS registration exams are written at MBA offices, and volunteer interview panellists are flown to provincial offices.
DOL deputy director of inspection and enforcement, Aggy Moiloa, said construction compliance hovered around 50%. Her speech was read at the conference by another DOL official, who noted that mining seemed to be generally safer.
Judging by compensation claims, only steel workers sustain more injuries than construction workers.
Several presenters mentioned concrete slab collapses and other engineering and procurement issues as pressing reasons for professionalising construction health and safety practice, while critics have pointed out that only CHS Agents may have some insight and influence on these issues, and CHS officers have none.
“Collapses are due to lack of competent health and safety skills in design, construction, and handover, including management and supervision of health and safety,” said DOL construction safety head, Mphumi Maphaha.
Construction health and safety registration BEE plans
Construction health and safety registration applicants are 95% white and 5% black, said the SACPCMP registrar, Nomvula Rakalote. The SACPCMP had started a student registration chapter, as well as a mentoring scheme for black CHS workers.
The DOL and some voluntary associations also have health and safety micro enterprise and BEE programmes to “rectify” the racial data.
A black health and safety institute was announced last year, where the DOL announced the appointment of the SACPCMP as designated CHS registrar.
The Competition Commission (CC) is somehow involved in the racial issue that the SACPCMP raised at the registration conference.
However the CC has also received complaints against the construction health and safety registration scheme, for restricting access to work by raising barriers to health and safety practitioners at small enterprises that cannot afford registration.
Safety registration seminar was ‘consultation’
The DOL /SACPCMP health and safety registration exemption workshop changed into a kind of consultation session when visitors were asked to ‘represent’ their organisations, and to make recommendations.
The DOL also added “resolutions” to the agenda, “to get consensus and buy-in”. These “resolutions” remained unstated, to be circulated later.
Among the recommendations were;
 Combine permits for construction, engineering, and other work.
 Inspectors should register with the SACPCMP.
 Ask the contractors’ body CESA to appoint and recognise construction health and safety Agents as professionals, with suitable powers, to prevent a disconnection between their designations and functions.
 List the names of registered construction health and safety Agents.
 Compensate health and safety practitioners who paid various registration fees in anticipation of the August 2015 deadline.
 Standardise the cost of hiring registered construction health and safety Agents.
 Allow CHS officers to work under registered CHS Agents.
 Allow organisations such as consulting companies to act as CHS Agents, provided one of the consultants is a CHS Agent.
 Construction contracts should cite health and safety costs.
 Present more free DOL workshops with CPD points, of two days duration (the half-day seminar carried only two CPD points).
 Make a guidance video on the registration process.
Recommendations would be considered for possible inclusion in the DOL Construction Regulations 2014 guidelines for implementation. The guidelines are already six months overdue.
Some proposals at the DOL /SACPCMP seminar came from DOL ACOHS members, MBA members, and SACPCMP council members themselves.
Further recommendations on implementation of all the aspects of the Construction Regulations Amendment, and health and safety registration exemption, are welcome by email to the DOL or SACPCMP, where the DOL ACOHS and the SACPCMP health and safety task tem would consider them, or via Sheqafrica.com in the Comment window below.
Construction permit exemptions to 2017, 2018
Construction permit applications require three documents; construction health and safety specification; HS plan with timeframes; and baseline risk assessment, as in Annex 1, 2, and 3.
DOL officials, however, check 17 documents before issuing a construction permit, including registration of the CHS Agent, if applicable.
DOL officials say they check project values against CIDB ratings, to reveal attempts to evade permit applications by dividing costs.
Single storey developments of high value will be added to the projects requiring permits, and the focus will shift to smaller projects later.
Notification of construction work, and construction permit applications should be sent to email@example.com or to the DOL provincial office.
About 200 documents sent to the DOL head office are considered ’lost’ every month.
Permit applications are free, but applicants may be charged a fee later in the implementation process.
* Sources; DOL. SACPCMP. MBA North. MBA KZN. SAFCEC. Sheqafrica.com.
* The DOL is reviewing the General Safety Regulations, and may move some generic work, such as work at height, from the Construction Regulations, and into the GSR.
* The DOL is also reviewing the OHS Act.
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