How to know if they have?
They must show you their letter of good standing from the Compensation Commissioner or from Federated Employers Mutual Assurance, whichever office they pay their assessment rates to.
Also, keep in mind that they must have enough Public Liability Insurance, if needed. They must confirm with their insurers or brokers that the cover is enough to comply with their duties in your contract (both in reaction to the scope of the cover and the limit of indemnity).
Pay attention to the fact that, depending on your contract with the contractors, you're liable for some aspects of insurance coverage, and some may be theirs.
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If your sub-contractors are involved with any activities that may pose a hazard to others, they must give you a written occupational health and safety plan. This plan must outline how they'll do the work and how they will control the potential dangers (Construction Regulation 7(2)(a)). This enables you to advise anyone else who it may affect.
Here's a useful checklist regarding these activities:
- Electricity supplies and location of cables;
- Excavation work;
- Night work;
- Lifting machinery (including lifting gear);
- Working at heights;
- Ladders and ladder work;
- Circular saws and other woodworking machinery;
- Chipping, grinding and similar operations;
- Abrasive tools including operations;
- Electrical tools and lighting appliances;
- Gas bottles (use and storage);
- Fragile roofs and roof work;
- Asbestos (cutting, handling and storage);
- Explosive powered tools;
- Work on, over or near water;
- Demolition work; and
- Explosives (handling and storage).
Sub-contractors must ensure they implement and maintain the health and safety plan throughout their contract/s with you.
Note that anyone who breaks Regulations 3 – 32 of the Construction Regulations is guilty of an offence and, if convicted, can get up to 12 months' jailtime. If it's a continuous offence, you can get a fine of R200 for each day you let the offence continue or an extra day in jail for each day the offence continues up to 90 days.
Sub-contractors must do any statutory tests or inspections of equipment and plant under their control. They must record the results of these tests or inspections (e.g. scaffold inspections, etc.).