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5 questions the DoL inspector could ask your employees to ensure you're complying with the Construction Regulations 2014

by , 06 May 2015
You think you're prepared for a safety inspection by the DoL, but the inspector might surprise you with a different opinion afterwards...

You're not the only one in the firing line of questions! Your employees are too!

Read on for the five top questions you need to prepare your employees for when the DoL comes knocking. And the textbook answers to protect your company from fines!

(Note that the inspector will also ask your employees questions to check if you're complying. You have to make sure you're complying with the Construction Regulations so your employees can answer the questions right.)

(Note that the inspector will also ask your employees questions to check if you're complying. You have to make sure you're complying with the Construction Regulations so your employees can answer the questions right.)

Keep in mind that if your construction site doesn't comply with the Construction Regulations 2014, the inspector could give you a contravention notice or even shut your site down!

Here are 5 questions the DoL inspector could ask your employees to ensure you're complying


Question #1: Has your employer applied for a construction permit and where is the unique permit number?

Your employees can only answer this when you've applied for a wrok permit!

You must apply for a work permit (Construction Regulation 3) if:

•  The duration of the construction work is more than 180 days;
•  The construction work involves more than 1800 person days;
•  The value of the construction works contract is equal to, or more than, R 13
million or CIDB grading level 6.

Display the unique permit number at the entrance of the construction site. The permit must also be in your Principal Contractor's safety file.

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Is your construction site compliant with all of the newly amended construction regulations?

When the DoL comes to inspect every last detail of your site, will you be confident that everything from your scaffolding to your Health and Safety file is compliant with ALL  of it's regulations?
Now you can be!

Here's how to ensure the DoL never says you're site isn't compliant!

 ***************************************

Question #2: Has your employer given you personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Answer:
If your employee answers no, the inspector will ask you for the specific task risk assessment and written safe work procedure. Part of your control measures will be ensuring you provide the right PPE for that specific task.  

So make sure this is available and up-to-date so your employee can confidentally answer yes

Example
Your risk assessment covers working at heights. Your PPE will include equipment such as safety harnesses, safety shoes, hard hats etc.  This means you'll give your employees the right PPE for working at heights i.e. the PPE you identify in your risk assessment and your safe work procedure process (as part of the control measures (Section 9, ConstructionRegulations)).

Keep in mind that your employees must also say what you've given them. The inspector will confirm if this is in line with your risk assessment for that activity. If you haven't given your employees the right PPE as per your risk assessment, you're non-compliant and the inspector will stop your work. An inspector will know what obvious forms of PPE an employee requires, e.g. eye protection, so he won't always refer back to the risk assessment/written safe work procedure for that task.

Question #3: Did you pay for any of your PPE?

Answer:
You can't charge employees for PPE if the OHS Act requires them to wear it. Or if it's part of your risk assessment. If it's in the interest of the health and safety of employees, you can't make any deduction from any employee's remuneration. Nor can you ask or permit any employee to make payment to you or any other person (Section 23, OHSA).

Question #4: Did you receive basic health and safety training before you started work?

Answer: Other than risk assessment training, you must give your employees health and safety induction training on the hazards on site at the time of entry i.e. before he starts to work (Regulation 7(5), 7(6) 7(7), Construction Regulations).

Question #5: Do you have sheltered eating areas, showers, lockers and toilets?

Answer:
Depending on the number of workers and duration of the contract (this varies on a contract to contract basis), you must provide (or within reasonable access of) the following clean and maintained facilities at every construction site:

Checklist: Ensure you provide the following facilities
- At least one shower facility for every 15 workers;
- At least one sanitary facility for every 30 workers;
- Separate changing facilities for both women and men;
- Sheltered eating areas; and
- A personal facility (e.g. lockers) for each worker in which they can keep clothes or other personal items safe. These must remain in good condition. (Regulation 30, Construction Regulations and Regulation 3, Facilities Regulations)

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