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If you're involved in construction, you'll need to have the following in your health and safety file

by , 25 March 2013
Drive around South Africa or open the newspaper and you'll see the evidence of how much construction is taking place in the country right now. New shopping centres are going up... Roads are being upgraded... And massive construction projects like the SKA in the Cape are being undertaken. That's great news for the economy. But it's a paperwork headache for companies that'll need to ensure their health and safety files for every project is fully updated. If you're in the construction industry, here's what your health and safety file must include to keep your project on the right side of the law.

'The average contractor views the Health and Safety file as a one to five page document,' says Christel Fouche, a passionate health and safety advocate, on her website. But nothing could be further from the truth.

In fact, if you're a contractor or have started a new construction project in your company, your health and safety file must contain 21 appointment letters and 20 forms, advises Hayleth Gunter in the Health and Safety Advisor.

If it doesn't your project could be shut down and you could face a hefty fine or even time in jail.

Here's a look at twelve of the appointment letters you need to have on file.

Don't start a construction project unless you have these appointment letters on file

In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), your health and safety file must include:

  1. Letter of appointment of Principal Contractor for the construction project.
  2. Copy of appointment of Site Manager (Employer) by the CEO (where applicable).
  3. Appointment of Site Construction Supervisor.
  4. Appointment of Assistant Site Construction Supervisors (where applicable).
  5. Copy of appointment of Health and Safety Auditor (usually in the form of a letter) and copies of the audit reports.
  6. Appointment of full-time or part-time Health and Safety Officer where applicable. 'The letter of appointment serves as a job description and will vary from site to site,' warns the Gunter. You'll also need to ensure proof of competency is on file. To do this, do reference checks, look at employment history and conduct knowledge and skills tests.
  7. Appointment of Risk Assessor. Note, according to the advisor, this person can also be your health and safety officer.
  8. Appointment of a Fall Protection Competent person who will be responsible for preparing a fall protection plan
  9. A copy of the letter of appointment for your Excavation Supervisor.
  10. Appointment of competent person to supervise and control all demolition work on site. 'This person must keep (on file) records of all checks and inspections updated daily,' explains Gunter. .
  11. Scaffolding, formwork and support work must all be supervised by a competent person appointed in writing In addition, Scaffolding Inspectors, Erectors and Team Leaders must be appointed in writing.
  12. Material hoists must be inspected daily by a competent person and results of checks kept on file. This must be done in the form of a letter setting out which Sub-Sections of Construction Regulation 17 apply.

As you can see from the list above, keeping an up to date health and safety file your construction projects involves a lot of hard work. And it's vital to keep it up date to ensure you're always on the right side of the law.

Don't ignore your health and safety obligations! Take the time to update your health and safety file – or else.

If you don't have a health and safety system in place, click here to get 106 ready to use health and safety templates to kick start your health and safety system now. 

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