Construction companies in countries are responsible for national development. Construction work is the most tedious and dangerous especially when the work is land-based. Examples of construction sites are roads, storey building, broke bridges, rivers, seas, etc.
Contractors are in one way or the other exposed to various hazards like height excavation, noise, dust, heavy tools and equipment. Most of them might get electrocuted, fall from a tree or hit by a heavy object. And with the rapid increase of construction work in developing countries, there is a need for a contractor to have a safety file.
Definition of Construction Safety File
Construction Safety File is an accurate record of information which concentrates on managing contractor’s health and safety of a part project. The Construction Safety File serves as proof that a construction company have aligned with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations.
Safety policy is statements developed as a general strategy and commitment together with the arrangements put in place to make all who are at risk aware of the health hazards associated with their work and the role individual persons have to play in maintaining a safe and healthy safety at work .
The policy must therefore be prepared in an understandable manner for the employees, which must be signed by the employers. It is worthy of note that, it is cost-effective to prevent an accident than to cure it occurrences once it has happened.
Aims and objectives of the Construction Safety File
Construction accident has been on the increase in developing countries despite the level of awareness in promoting safety practices in the construction site. These increment has resulted in regulatory standards and control system for construction projects. The objective of establishing the health and safety policy as contained in the Builders document is as follows:
(i) ‘providing health and safety in relation to workplaces and hazards, activities and things at workplaces’;
(ii) ‘providing for the safe operation of major hazard facilities and mines in order to reduce the likelihood of a serious incident occurring’;
(iii) ‘providing for the registration of certain people engaged in construction work at workplaces’;
(iv) ‘providing for the licensing of certain people engaged in high-risk work at workplaces’;
(v) ‘providing procedures for the resolution of health and safety issues at workplaces’
Content of the Construction Safety File
According to Operational Health Safety, the construction safety file contains
- Safety First Aid, Safety Training,
- Emergency response plan,
- Template for Investigating Accident,
- Site Accommodation and Welfare Facilities,
- Safety Wears/ Personal Protective Equipment,
- Permit to work,
- Erection and Inspection of Scaffold,
- Safety Signs and Colour Control of hazardous substances.
- Contractor appointment letter. (Construction Regulation 5(3)(f) of the OHS A) 37(2) Agreement between client and contractor,
- Notification of Construction Work,
- Copy of the OHS Act,
- Occupational Health and Safety Management Plan, Company Occupational Health and Safety Policy,
- Letter of Good Standing,
- Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous materials used (if required),
- Tax clearance certificate, Risk Assessments, Safe work procedures (Site Specific),
- Fall Protection plan (if required),
- Legal appointment with proof of training (Ex. Chief Executive Officer, Risk Assessor, First Aider, etc.),
- Incident reporting procedures,
- Incident reports (General Administrative Regulation 9 (3) – Annexure 1),
- Incident registers,
- Reports of accidents,
- Emergency preparedness documents,
- First aid documents,
- Induction records,
- Medical surveillance records,
- Safety communication (e.g. Toolbox talks),
- Minutes of safety meetings,
- Inspection registers
Construction Safety File Example
A perfect example of a construction safety file is that which the South African Law says.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and Construction Regulations 2014 state the following:
- Construction Regulation 3(6)– A client must ensure that the principle contractor keeps a copy of the construction work permit contemplated in sub-regulation (1) in the occupational health and safety file for inspection by an inspector,
- the client,
- the client’s authorized agent, or an employee;
- Construction Regulation 5(1)(s) –The client must ensure that health and safety file contemplated in regulation 7(1)(b) is kept and maintained by the principal contractor;
- Construction Regulation 7(1)(b) –A principal contractor must open and keep on-site a health and safety file which must include all documentation required in terms of the Act and these Regulations, which must be made available on request to an inspector, the client, the client’s agent or a contractor.