The Minister of Labour has under section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993), after consultation with the Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety, made the regulations in the Schedule.

On this course it is virtually impossible to discuss all the regulations in detail as promulgated in the OHSACT.  Health and Safety Practitioners should in their own time endeavour to bring themselves up to date with the detail of current regulations. We will however briefly touch on some of the following factors:


The Construction Regulations (CRs) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OH&SA) Number 85 of 1993 were promulgated on 18 July 2003 to regulate a particularly hazardous industry. In terms of the Regulation, employers are obliged to ensure that employees, in certain occupations, are in possession of medical certificates of fitness for their occupations, namely:

  • Employees on supported or suspended platforms (12)(a);
  • Crane operators (20)(g), and
  • Operators of all construction vehicles and mobile plant (21)(1)(d)(i) (RSA, 2003).


Employees on supported or suspended platforms bring a wide list of potential candidates into the target group, some who may be required to perform maintenance work on tower cranes and which may be forgotten, such as:

  • maintenance workers and service artisans.
  • mechanics, electricians, general servicemen, etc.

The medical tests required to determine levels of fitness should therefore take the key risks identified in the HIRA (Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment) into consideration.


Medical surveillance is defined as an ongoing systematic;

  • collection,
  • analysis and
  • interpretation of health and exposure data.

Medical surveillance, or assessing the physical state of workers, is performed at various intervals in general industry, namely:

  • pre-placement, or pre-employment;
  • periodic intervals;
  • transfers to new positions;
  • on return from absence due to significant injury or illness, and
  • when leaving the company (exit medical).


On completion of the medical surveillance, a certificate of fitness is provided that:

  • provides information relative to the employee’s medical ability or limitations of employment,
  • indicates his medical capability or capacity to perform the required work, and
  • indicates the presence or absence of symptoms of occupational disease for work-related conditions.

2.2 REGULATION 6 Supervision of construction work.

A contractor shall upon having considered the;

  • size of the project, the
  • degree of dangers likely to be encountered or the
  • accumulation of hazards or risks on the site,

appoint a full-time or part-time construction safety officer in writing to assist in the

control of all safety related aspects on the site. 

No contractor shall appoint a construction safety officer to assist in the control of safety related aspects on the site unless he or she is reasonably satisfied that the construction safety officer he or she intends to appoint, has the :

  • necessary competencies and
  • resources to assist the contractor.

2.3 REGULATION 7 Risk assessment.

Every contractor performing construction work shall before the commencement of any construction work and during construction work, cause a risk assessment to be performed by a competent person.

A copy of the risk assessment must be made available on site for inspection by all concerned and all employees and sub-contractors must be informed accordingly.

Every contractor shall consult with the health and safety committee or, if no health and safety committee exists, with a representative group of employees, on the development, monitoring and review of the risk assessment.

Point 9 of regulation 7 refers;  Every employee on site shall—

(a) be in possession of proof of the health and safety induction training as determined in sub-regulation (7), issued by a competent person prior to the commencement of construction work; and

(b) carry the proof contemplated in paragraph (a) for the duration of that project or for the period that the employee will be on the construction site.

2.4 REGULATION 8. Fall protection.

A contractor shall ensure that the construction supervisor appointed in terms of regulation 6 (1), is in possession of the most recently updated version of the fall protection plan and that it is implemented, amended where and when necessary and maintained as required;

2.5 REGULATION 9. Structures.

A contractor shall ensure that all reasonably practicable steps are taken to prevent the uncontrolled collapse of any new or existing structure or any part thereof.

2.6 REGULATION 10. Formwork and support work.

A contractor shall ensure that all formwork and support work operations are carried out under the supervision of a competent person who has been appointed in writing for that purpose.

2.7 REGULATION 11 Excavation work   

A contractor shall ensure that all excavation work is carried out under the supervision of a competent person who has been appointed in writing.

2.8 REGULATION 13. Tunneling.     

(1) Any contractor performing tunneling activities shall comply with the Tunneling Regulations as published under the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act No. 29 of 1996), as amended.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subregulation (1), no person shall enter a tunnel, which has a height dimension of less than 800 mm.

2.9 REGULATION 14. Scaffolding. 

(1) Every contractor using access scaffolding, shall ensure that such scaffolding, when used, complies with the safety standards incorporated for this purpose into these Regulations under section 44 of the Act.

(2) A contractor shall ensure that all scaffolding work operations are carried out under the supervision of a competent person who has been appointed in writing and that all scaffold erectors, team leaders and inspectors are competent to carry out their work.

2.10 REGULATION 21. Construction vehicles and mobile plant.   

(1) A contractor shall ensure that all construction vehicles and mobile plants—

(a) are of an acceptable design and construction;

(b) are maintained in a good working order;

(c) are used in accordance with their design and the intention for which they where designed, having due regard to safety and health;

(d) are operated by workers who—

(i) have received appropriate training and been certified competent and been authorised to operate such machinery; and

(ii) are physically and psychologically fit to operate such construction vehicles and mobile plant by being in possession of a medical certificate of fitness;

(e) have safe and suitable means of access;

( f ) are properly organised and controlled in any work situation by providing adequate signalling or other control arrangements to guard against the dangers relating to the movement of vehicles and plant, in order to ensure their continued safe operation;

(g) are prevented from falling into excavations, water or any other area lower than the working surface by installing adequate edge protection, which may include guardrails and crash barriers;

(h) where appropriate, are fitted with structures designed to protect the operator from falling material or from being crushed should the vehicle or mobile plant overturn;

(i) are equipped with an electrically operated acoustic signalling device and a reversing alarm; and

( j) are on a daily basis inspected prior to use, by a competent person who has been appointed in writing and the findings of such inspection is recorded in a register.

(2) A contractor shall furthermore ensure that—

(a) no person rides or be required or permitted to ride on any construction vehicle or mobile plant otherwise than in a safe place provided thereon for that purpose;

(b) every construction site is organised in such a way that, as far as is reasonably practicable, pedestrians and vehicles can move safely and without risks to health;

(c) the traffic routes are suitable for the persons using them, sufficient in number, in suitable positions and of sufficient size;

(d) every traffic route is, where necessary indicated by suitable signs for reasons of health or safety;

(e) all construction vehicles and mobile plant left unattended at night, adjacent to a freeway in normal use or adjacent to construction areas where work is in progress, shall have appropriate lights or reflectors, or barricades equipped with appropriate lights or reflectors, in order to identify the location of the vehicles or plant;

( f ) bulldozers, scrapers, loaders, and other similar mobile plants are, when being repaired or when not in use, fully lowered or blocked with controls in a neutral position, motors stopped and brakes set;

(g) whenever visibility conditions warrant additional lighting, all mobile plants are equipped with at least two headlights and two taillights when in operation;

(h) tools and material are secured in order to prevent movement when transported in the same compartment with employees;

(i) vehicles used to transport employees have seats firmly secured and adequate for the number of employees to be carried; and

( j) when workers are working on or adjacent to public roads, reflective indicators are provided and worn by the workers.

2.11 REGULATION 22  Electrical installations and machinery on construction sites.

Notwithstanding the provisions contained in the Electrical Installation Regulations promulgated by Government Notice No. R.2920 of 23 October 1992 and the Electrical Machinery Regulations promulgated by Government Notice No. R.1953 of 12 August 1988, respectively, as amended, a contractor shall ensure that—

(a) before construction commences and during the progress thereof, adequate steps are taken to ascertain the presence of and guard against danger to workers from any electrical cable or apparatus which is under, over or on the site;

(b) all parts of electrical installations and machinery are of adequate strength to withstand the working conditions on construction sites;

(c) in working areas where the exact location of underground electric power lines is unknown, employees using jackhammers, shovels or other hand tools which may make contact with a power line, are provided with insulated protective gloves or otherwise that the handle of the tool being used is insulated;

(d) all temporary electrical installations are inspected at least once a week and electrical machinery on a daily basis before use on a construction site by competent persons and the records of these inspections are recorded in a register to be kept on site; and

(e) the control of all temporary electrical installations on the construction site is designated to a competent person who has been appointed in writing.

2.12 REGULATION 23. Use and temporary storage of flammable liquids on construction sites.

Notwithstanding the provisions for the use and storage of flammable liquids as determined in the General Safety Regulations promulgated by Government Notice No. R.1031 dated 30 May 1986, as amended, a contractor shall ensure that—

(a) where flammable liquids are being used, applied or stored at the workplace concerned, this is done in such a manner which would cause no fire or explosion hazard, and that the workplace is effectively ventilated: Provided that where the workplace cannot effectively be ventilated—

(i) every employee involved is provided with a respirator, mask or breathing apparatus of a type approved by the chief inspector, and

(ii) steps are taken to ensure that every such employee, while using or applying flammable liquid, uses the apparatus supplied to him or her;

(b) no person smokes in any place in which flammable liquid is used or stored, and such contractor shall affix a suitable and conspicuous notice at all entrances to any such areas prohibiting such smoking;

(c) flammable liquids on a construction site is stored in a well-ventilated reasonably fire resistant container, cage or room and kept locked with proper access control measures in place;

(d) an adequate amount of efficient fire-fighting equipment is installed in suitable locations around the flammable liquids store with the recognized symbolic signs;

(e) only the quantity of flammable liquid needed for work on one day is to be taken out of the store for use;

( f ) all containers holding flammable liquids are kept tightly closed when not in actual use and, after their contents have been used up, to be removed from the construction site and safely disposed of;

(g) where flammable liquids are decanted, the metal containers are bonded or earthed; and

(h) no flammable material such as cotton waste, paper, cleaning rags or similar material is stored together with flammable liquids.

2.13 REGULATION 24. Water environments.

(1) A contractor shall ensure that where construction work is done over or in close proximity to water, provision is made for—

(a) preventing workers from falling into water; and

(b) the rescuing of workers in danger of drowning.

(2) A contractor shall ensure that where a worker is exposed to the risk of drowning by falling into the water, a lifejacket is provided to and worn by the worker.

2.14 REGULATION 25. Housekeeping on construction sites.

Notwithstanding the provisions of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces promulgated by Government Notice No. R.2281 dated 16 October 1987, as amended, a contractor shall ensure that—

(a) suitable housekeeping is continuously implemented on each construction site, including provisions for the—

(i) proper storage of materials and equipment, and

(ii) removal of scrap, waste and debris at appropriate intervals;

(b) loose materials required for use, are not placed or allowed to accumulate on the site so as to obstruct means of access to and egress from workplaces and passageways;

(c) waste and debris are not disposed of from a high place with a chute, unless the chute complies with the requirements set out regulation 12 (6);

(d) construction sites in built-up areas, adjacent to a public way, are suitably and sufficiently fenced off and provided with controlled access points to prevent the entry of unauthorized persons;

(e) a catch platform or net is erected above an entrance or passageway or above a place where persons work or pass under, or fence off the danger area if work is being performed above such entrance, passageway, or place so as to ensure that all persons are kept safe in the case of danger or possibility of persons being struck by falling objects.

2.15 REGULATION 26. Stacking and storage on construction sites.

Notwithstanding the provisions for the stacking of articles contained in the General Safety Regulations promulgated by Government Notice No. R.1031 dated 30 May 1986, as amended, a contractor shall ensure that—

(a) a competent person is appointed in writing with the duty of supervising all stacking and storage on a construction site;

(b) adequate storage areas are provided;

(c) there are demarcated storage areas; and

(d) storage areas are kept neat and under control.

2.16 REGULATION 27. Fire precautions on construction sites. 

Subject to the provisions of the Environmental Regulations for Workplaces promulgated by Government Notice No. R.2281 of 16 October 1987, as amended, every contractor shall ensure that—

(a) all appropriate measures are taken to avoid the risk of fire;

(b) sufficient and suitable storage is provided for flammable liquids, solids and gases;

(c) smoking is prohibited and notices in this regard are prominently displayed in all places containing readily combustible or flammable materials;

(d) in confined spaces and other places in which flammable gases, vapours or dust can cause danger—

(i) only suitably protected electrical installations and equipment, including portable lights, are used;

(ii) there are no flames or similar means of ignition;

(iii) there are conspicuous notices prohibiting smoking;

(iv) oily rags, waste and other substances liable to ignite are without delay removed to a safe place; and

(v) adequate ventilation is provided;

(e) combustible materials do not accumulate on the construction site;

( f ) welding, flame cutting and other hot work are done only after the appropriate precautions as required have been taken to reduce the risk of fire;

(g) suitable and sufficient fire-extinguishing equipment is placed at strategic locations or as may be recommended by the Fire Chief or local authority concerned, and that such equipment is maintained in a good working order;

(h) the fire equipment contemplated in paragraph (g) is inspected by a competent person, who has been appointed in writing, in the manner indicated by the manufacturer thereof;

(i) a sufficient number of workers are trained in the use of fire- extinguishing equipment;

( j) where appropriate, suitable visual signs are provided to clearly indicate the escape routes in the case of a fire;

(k) the means of escape is kept clear at all times;

(l) there is an effective evacuation plan providing for all—

(i) persons to be evacuated speedily without panic;

(ii) persons to be accounted for; and

(iii) plant and processes to be shut down; and

(m) a siren is installed and sounded in the event of a fire.

2.17 REGULATION 28. Construction welfare facilities.

(1) Notwithstanding the construction site provisions contained in the Facilities Regulations promulgated by Government Notice No. R.1593 of 12 August 1988, as amended, a contractor shall, depending on the number of workers and the duration of the work, provide at or within reasonable access of every construction site, the following clean and maintained facilities:

(a) at least one shower facility for every 15 workers;

(b) at least one sanitary facility for every 30 workers;

(c) changing facilities for each sex; and

(d) sheltered eating areas.

(2) A contractor shall provide reasonable and suitable living accommodation for the workers at construction sites which are remote from their homes and where adequate transportation between the site and their homes, or other suitable living accommodation, is not available.

2,18 REGULATION 30. Offences and penalties.

Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any of the provisions of regulations 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 and 28, shall be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a maximum of 12 months and, in the case of a continuous offence, to an additional fine of R200 for each day on which the offence continues or additional imprisonment of one day for each day on which the offence continues: Provided that the period of such additional imprisonment shall not exceed 90 days.


A requirement of the OHSACT is that all Safety Files must be in place when commencing with a new project. The following quotation indicates the seriousness of the Government as far as safety is concerned

Released by Department of Labour on 03 August 2007

QuoteLabour Inspectors shut down safety-flouting North West contractor

A Gauteng-based company was this week stopped from continuing with construction operations for flouting safety and construction regulations at its Taung Tribal site in the North West province.

Labour inspectors halted the Capstone 1242 & Constance Joint Venture operations after finding that general safety as well as the Construction Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act were being contravened.

The company, which currently employs 46 workers at the site, had previously been given 30 days to comply with the various regulations but failed to do so. On their latest visit, inspectors found that besides working without protective equipment and not having a health and safety representative at their workplace, all the 46 employees had not even undergone health and safety training as required by the Act.

Labour spokesperson Zolisa Sigabi yesterday warned that the department had adopted a no-tolerance attitude towards anyone disregarding the safety of their employees. Unquote.

While on a ladder, never step back to admire your work.
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