Employer’s (Client’s) guide to compiling a health and safety site file


Introduction to a Site File

A safety file may be either an employer’s worst enemy, which is a general misconception, or an employer’s best friend in some of the worst situations. Proof of evidence is one of the most crucial parts of a business’ Occupational Health and Safety Management System. It is also the best defence where liability and vicarious liability is concerned.

A health and safety file are, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a book, record, or other documents which must be kept. This can either be done by keeping paper records, such as a safety file, or even OHS Management software.

If an employer makes use of the former, it is necessary to consult the following employer’s (client’s) guide to compiling a health and safety file, to ensure that it is done correctly, and that all requirement documentation has been placed in the file.


Contents of the Health and Safety File

Site Specific Health and Safety File

The safety file and all the documents that it contains must be site specific as well as task specific.

Firstly, the file must have an index which clearly states the content of the health and safety file. This makes it so much easier for anyone looking for specific documents to find what they need.

There are three crucial things to remember:

  • The health and safety file is a legal document.
  • The health and safety file is a public document, and
  • Auditors favour an index as it makes it easy to find the correct document.


Client Safety Specification

The client must issue their contractor with a safety specification which will be according to their business and scope of work. This specific document will determine what the contractor’s health and safety file will consist of and the safety specification must be the foundation of the file.

In addition, with this document, the client may request more from their contractor than that required by law as it is seen as best practice.


Scope of Work

This document must contain the scope of work which must be task or job specific.


Letter of Good Standing

Contractors must ensure that they have a Letter of Good Standing with the Workman’s Compensation Commission. This can be considered insurance if an injury on duty occurs.


Risk Assessment

This is another document on which the entire OHS system is built on. This must always be easily available for any person to read. There must also be proof that it has been communicated with all employees.


Legal Appointments

All employees have responsibilities towards Occupational Health and Safety and legal appointments are those appointments which are required by law. They ensure that commitment towards compliance is made in writing.



All items needed for a specific task must be on a register. This way, track can be kept on tools, knowing what hazardous substances are on site and how they are controlled, and more. Such registers can even prevent incidents when faulty equipment is identified and repaired or removed from the work area before an incident occurs.


Proof of Competency

Proof of competency of all staff on site must be kept in the file. This can include but is not limited to training certificates for First Aid, firefighting, SHE representatives, scaffold erectors, and others. These may also be needed where competency-based legal appointments are concerned.


IOD Documents

The file must contain the ID documents and W.Cl.2 forms for all employees. These documents are imperative if an injury on duty occurs. Having these two documents ready can even assist in the process in getting staff medical attention faster.


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

In a world which is constantly changing, with new and stricter regulations, it is becoming increasingly difficult to always ensure full compliance. SafetyWallet helps and supports its subscribers despite the industry in which they operate or the number of employees and contractors under their responsibility.

With SafetyWallet and its partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, subscribers can ensure that they are a part in creating a safer, healthier, and more compliant working environment. To further find out how you can ensure employers’ and contractor Health and Safety, feel free to  Contact Us.


Posted date: 13th Mar 2021