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Construction Regulations and the principle contractor. What are the clients' responsibilities?

by , 20 February 2015
First of all, let us recall that on 11 May 2010 the new ''Draft Amendment to the Construction Regulations, 2003'' was published through the Government Gazette (Notice 391 of 2010).

One of the key principles embodied in the draft regulations is that the ''client'' will primarily be responsible for Occupational Health and Safety.

     
Morevore, in what follows, we draw attention on that fact that according to definition a "client" is any person for whom construction work is performed. Various persons like property owners, landlords, body corporate(s), most business owners etc could thus be classified as clients.


The client should ensure the following concerning the principle contractor:

    that potential principal contractor to be appointed has the necessary competencies and resources to carry out the construction work safely.

    ensure prior to work commencing on site that every principal contractor is registered and in good standing with the compensation fund or with a licensed compensation insurer prior to work commencing on site as contemplated in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (Act No. 130 of 1993);

    ensure prior to work commencing on site that every principal contractor is registered and in good standing with the Unemployment Insurance Fund, as contemplated in the Unemployment Insurance Act (Act No. 63 OF 2001);


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    appoint each principal contractor in writing for the project or part thereof on a construction site;

    discuss and negotiate with the principal contractor the content of the principal contractor's health and safety plan and must thereafter finally approve that plan for implementation. Health and safety plan means a documented plan which addresses identified hazards and includes safe work procedures and other measures to mitigate, reduce or control the identified hazards (addressed in regulation 5(1) of the draft regulations);

    ensure that no construction work commences until the principal contractor's health and safety plan has been approved;

    ensure that a copy of the principal contractors' health and safety plan is available on request of an employee, inspector or contractor;

    ensure that the principal contractor's health and safety plan is implemented and maintained on the construction site;

    the steps taken must include periodic health and safety audits at intervals mutually agreed upon between the client and principal contractor, but at least every 14 days;

    ensure that a copy of the audit report (contemplated in regulation 29(3)(d)) is provided to the principal contractor within seven days after the audit;

    stop any contractor from executing construction work which is not in accordance with the clients health and safety specifications and the principal contractors health and safety plan for the site or which poses a threat to the health and safety of persons;

    ensure that where changes are brought about to the design or construction, sufficient health and safety information and appropriate resources are made available to the principal contractor to execute the work safely; and

    ensure that the health and safety is kept as maintained by the principal contractor (contemplated in regulation 5(1)(b)).


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