A Contractor’s Health and Safety Responsibilities in South Africa – Part 4


Each person in an organisation plays a vital part in ensuring a healthy and safe working environment, even if it is the responsibility of the employer to provide such, the maintenance thereof is imperative for continuous OHS compliance.

A contractor’s OHS responsibilities in South Africa are clear and concise, and it is also necessary to explore the rights that the client has along with the specific safety provisions and safety performance.

The Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHS Act) Book and many other great Health and Safety Solutions are available on our E-commerce platform My Safety Shop.

My Safety Shop


As a value-added service to our existing clients and potential clients who have downloaded any of our free products using a download link, we are now offering Free Virtual Consultations with one of our friendly Consultants.

To make use of this service, MAKROSAFE clients should contact their practitioners to discuss the matter at hand. SafetyWallet clients should request a consultation from the website as well, or on the chat and any new clients should visit MAKROSAFE or SafetyWallet sites and fill in a contact us form to request assistance.

My Safety Shop - SHE Rep Inspection Checklist

Client’s Rights

Inspections / Investigations

The client or their representing agent may, in any reasonable manner, observe as well as inspect the safety and accident prevention plan of the contractor for all activities and personnel. This may include, but is not limited to, the right to attend all safety meetings.

Upon request, the client / client agent shall receive copies of any safety inspection reports which were completed by the contractor or anyone performing work for, on behalf of, or under the contractor.

The client / client agent may, in any reasonable manner, observe or participate in any accident investigation which is conducted by the contractor or anyone performing work for, on behalf of, or under the contractor. In addition, the client / client agent may, at its sole discretion, and in any reasonable manner, undertake its own investigation.

Corrective Actions / Stop-work

The client, or their representing agent, reserves the right to direct the contractor in correcting unsafe working conditions. This includes taking necessary corrective actions when unsafe work conditions are observed.

The client / client agent also reserves the right to require the removal, from the project, any person, property, or equipment, which is deemed unsafe in the opinion of the client / client agent.

The client / client agent reserves the right to instruct the contractor to immediately cease any action and/or to stop work where there are conditions that constitute an imminent danger or could result in serious harm.

The client / client agent reserves the right for the suspension of work pending the completion of an accident/incident investigation, whether it is conducted by the client / client agent, the contractor, or any other interested parties.

Where there are penalties, costs, expenses, or any obligations paid or incurred as a result of either a contractor or subcontractor’s negligence or non-compliance with OHS regulations, the contractor will be held liable.

Action / Inaction of the client and relief of the contractor

Nothing that the client / client agent does, or fails to do, where safety in the performing of the work is concerned, will relieve the contractor of their responsibility with the relevant contracts and OHS requirements.

Specific Safety Provisions

In addition to regulations that pertain to operations as well as safety, contractors must adhere to certain mandated safety requirements, including but not limited to the following:


The contractor must ensure that they coordinate with the client to ensure that a survey for asbestos is conducted before work is commenced should the client’s buildings or sites contain asbestos. All personnel must receive the necessary awareness, training, and protective equipment for working under such conditions.

Confined Space

The contractor must provide the client with a copy of the confined space entry program, policies, and safe work procedures as part of the site-specific accident prevention plan. 

The contractor must ensure that work does not start until the required submittals are made and the proper OHS precautions have been taken. Personnel working in confined spaces are trained in accordance with OHSA regulations.

Mechanical spaces

The contractor must ensure that the appropriate PPE is worn such as head, eye, and hearing protection.


The contractor must ensure that the approved ladders are used and that they are frequently inspected.

Electrical – Safe Clearance Procedures

The contractor must ensure that where entry into High Voltage Areas is concerned, that the identification of such areas is done, that there is a restricted entry, and that the client is notified where and when entry is needed.

The contractor must ensure that that employee exposure and damage to electrical systems is prevented and that live electrical parts is de-energized in accordance with lock-out/tag-out requirements. That workaround energized components is done with the correct PPE.

Fire Prevention

The contractor must ensure that:

  • Fire prevention measures on-site are in accordance with OHSA, the relevant policies, and any National fire protection standards.
  • Approved safety cans must be used for flammable and combustible liquids.
  • Fire Extinguishers must be provided where required and must have frequent documented inspections.
  • Open flame devices – unapproved fuel-burning types must be prohibited.
  • Hot Work Permit – must be used where open flame welding and spark-producing equipment are used.

Excavating and Trenching

Excavations, as well as trenches, must be evaluated for confined spaces before entry is allowed. There must be a competent person who inspects the excavation or trench before work begins and as needed during the shift.

Should the competent person find evidence of hazards or a hazardous condition, employees who are exposed must be removed from such areas until the necessary actions have been taken to ensure their safety.

All excavations must be barricaded or covered regardless of their depth. If barricades are used and they are left overnight, they must have appropriate lights, reflectors, and/or reflective signage to warn of their presence.

Walkways must be provided where employees or equipment are required/permitted to cross over such excavations. When and where there are walkways, they must be accompanied by an effective guardrail system.

Hazardous Materials

Should there be activities that pose a substantial risk of exposure to hazardous material during remediation, these must be supervised by personnel who have the necessary certification, which must be available upon request.

Such individuals must be able to identify the potential need for upgrades on the level of OHS protection.

Personnel who work in direct contact with hazardous materials must have the necessary qualifications and medical monitoring, for which the contractor is responsible.

Cranes and Hoisting Operations

There must be a written plan submitted for all crane operations. The written plan must, as a minimum, include the following:

  • The make as well as the model of the crane.
  • The name and documentation of training of the operator as well as the competent person who will execute the lift plan.
  • A copy of the most recent certificate of the crane and its annual inspection.
  • A copy of the maximum loads of the crane at various boom angles and radii.
  • Information on using the crane boom angle and radius, and the identification of all loads which may exceed 75% of the crane’s capacity.
  • Identification of whether two or more cranes are required.
  • Provision of a sketch or drawing of the anticipated boom angle, radius, center of gravity, and crane placement.

In addition, a sketch, or a drawing of the anticipated rigging methods, must include the following:

  • Number of slings.
  • Type of configuration.
  • Size as well as the length of slings.
  • Rated capacity of slings.
  • Sling angle.
  • The size, number, and rated capacity of shackles.

The contractor must also identify the number of ground handlers as well as the location of ground handlers. The communication method between ground handlers and the crane operator(s) must be clearly indicated along with the location of material staging, and lastly, the method of managing vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

Working at Heights

Chemical Exposure Plan

The contractor must submit a chemical exposure plan for any products that contain the following:

  • Isocyanates
  • Methylene Chloride
  • Lead
  • Silica
  • Hydrofluoric Acid

The contractor must also include processes that involve:

  • Floor sealers
  • Traffic coatings
  • Terrazzo sealers
  • Specialty paints, or any other chemicals that can produce nuisance odours.

The plan of the contractor must include control methods for employee exposures as well as isolation methods to prevent the spread of chemicals and odours. This must ensure that it is not spread to outside the work area and safeguard other employees and the public.

There must be a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) that must be maintained on-site and available upon request.

Public Protection

The contractor must also provide a plan for the protection of the public on or adjacent to construction and demolition operations.

Safety Performance

Should the contractor experience repeated OHS violations, or fail to abate violations in a manner that is timely, the contractor may face any of the following actions:

  • Removal or replacement of management personnel.
  • Submission of a written safety recovery plan – which must indicate changes to be made to the safety program along with a timeline as to when these changes will take effect.
  • Hiring an independent OHS consultant to audit the contractor’s procedures as well as operations. The consultant will then compile a plan detailing changes to be implemented, with the report being submitted to the client.
  • Conducting a ‘Safety Stand-Down’ which is the suspension of work or any action thereof.
  • Issuing a cure notice to notify the contractor of failing to comply with a specific requirement thereof and directing them to ‘cure’ the deficiency within a given timeframe.

How can SafetyWallet help Employers and Contractors’ Health and Safety Compliance?

SafetyWallet works to ensure that its subscribers are supported and assisted in all matters relating to health and safety, and through a partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, subscribers can ensure that they are a part of creating a safer, healthier, and more compliant working environment. 

If you have any questions about the Health and Safety Solutions we have to offer, please feel free to Contact Us.



Posted date: 6th May 2022
Blogs - Latest Blogs