What is a Health and Safety File in South Africa?

A Health and Safety File in South Africa is also known as a Site Safety File. This is a record of information that focuses on health and safety management on various sites, including construction sites, where both contractors and sub-contractors are concerned.

The Safety File’s main purpose is to protect the employer from any criminal liability in addition to proving compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and Regulations.

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What does OHSA require in terms of a Safety File?

Each contractor as well as a subcontractor is legally required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and the Construction Regulations 2014 to possess a Health and Safety File. The Health and Safety file must be kept where it can be easily accessed at any given time.

According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as the Construction Regulations, the following applies to the Health and Safety file:

  • Construction Regulation 3(6) – the client must ensure that the principal contractor is in possession of a copy of the construction work permit which is contemplated in sub-regulation (1) in the Health and Safety File. This must be available for inspection by any inspector, the client, the client’s authorized agent, or any employee.
  • Construction Regulation 5(1)(s) – the client is responsible to ensure that the Health and Safety file, which is contemplated in regulation 7(1)(b), is kept as well as maintained by the principal contractor.
  • Construction Regulation 7(1)(b) – the principal contractor is tasked with the duty of compiling and keeping a Health and Safety file. The file must include all documentation that is required by the Act as well as the Regulations. The Health and Safety file must be available upon request to any inspector, the client, the client’s agent, or a contractor. In addition, the Health and Safety file must be maintained by onsite safety personnel and it must be audited by a competent person.

What is a health and safety site file in South Africa

Document Requirements of the Health and Safety File

Each Health and Safety file will be compiled according to site specifications, as each site is different. It will therefore be compiled according to the safety specifications of the client. However, there is overall information that must be included in the file, with site-specific documents added as well.

When the Health and Safety file is compiled, the principal contractor is responsible to ensure that the following documentation is included:

  • The appointment letter of the contractor which relates to Construction Regulation 5(5)(k) or 7(1)(v) 37(2) Agreement between the client and the contractor.
  • The notification of construction work must be submitted to the Department of Employment and Labour.
  • A copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations.
  • The Construction Work Permit.
  • The Occupational Health and Safety Policy of the company.
  • The Letter of Good Standing as well as Public Liability Insurance, Tax Clearance, and other relevant documentation.
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for any hazardous materials used, only if required.
  • Risk Assessments – both the Baseline Risk Assessment and task-specific risk assessments.
  • Safe Work Procedures which must be site-specific.
  • The Fall Protection Plan is compiled by an IWH registered person.
  • Legal appointments along with the proof of training. All of which must be relevant to the scope of work.
  • Incident reporting as well as investigation procedures and all related documents.
  • Incident reports as per General Administrative Regulation 9(3) – Annexure 1.
  • Documents for Emergency Preparedness.
  • First Aid Documents including dressing records and relevant registers.
  • Induction Records which must include the company induction and that of the client.
  • Medical surveillance records as per Annexure 3 – Medicals.
  • Safety communication such as Toolbox Talks.
  • Health and Safety Plan, which must be task and site-specific.
  • Company Policies and Procedures such as HIV Policies, Substance Abuse, and others.
  • Registers which must be task and site-specific such as confined spaces, issuing of PPE, hand tools, and others.
  • Inspection registers.

what is a helath and safey file in South Africa

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Posted date: 13th Apr 2022
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