Safety Agent

Safe Working Practice  acts as Safety Agent on sites throughout South Africa,  conducting  more than 650 audits per month.  Recent changes to the Construction Regulations have completely changed the way we manage health and safety on construction sites.  The most important changes as a result of the new regulations  are the inclusion of health and safety in the pre-construction phases, the professional registration with SACPCMP of OHS practitioners and the introduction of a construction work permit for certain categories of construction projects.

The Construction stages are:

STAGE 1 – Project Initiation and Briefing
STAGE 2 – Concept and Feasibility
STAGE 3 – Design Development
STAGE 4 – Tender Documentation and Procurement
STAGE 5 – Construction Documentation and Management
STAGE 6 – Project Close-out

The duties of the Client (Client means any person for whom construction work is being performed) is set out in Section 5 of the Construction Regulations.  A Client may appoint a competent  Client Agent to act on his behalf, but where a site requires a construction work permit, a Client Agent MUST be appointed.

Here is a short summary of the duties of a Client:

5(1)(a) – prepare a baseline risk assessment
5(1)(b) – prepare a coherent site specific health and safety specification
5(1)(c) – provide the health and safety specification to the designer
5(1)(d) – ensure that the designer takes the health and safety specification into consideration during the design stage
5(1)(e) – ensure that the designer carries out all responsibilities contemplated in regulation 6
5(1)(f) – ensure that the health and safety specification is included in the tender documents
5(1)(g) – ensure that potential principal contractors submitting tenders have made adequate provision for the cost of health and safety measures
5(1)(h) – ensure that the principal contractor to be appointed has the necessary competencies and resources to carry out the construction work safely
5(1)(i) – ensure co-operation between contractors appointed by the client to enable each of those contractors to comply with the Construction Regulations 2014
5(1)(j) – ensure before any work commences on a site that every principal contractor is registered and in good standing with the compensation fund or with a licensed compensation commissioner

5(1)(k) – ensure that the municipality has appointed every principal contractor in writing for the project or part thereof on the construction site
5(1)(l) – discuss and negotiate with the principal contractor the contents of the principal contractor’s health and safety plan and must thereafter finally approve the plan for implementation
5(1)(m) – ensure that a copy of the principal contractor’s health and safety plan is available on site
5(1)(n) – ensure that each contractor’s health and safety plan is implemented and maintained
5(1)(o) – ensure that periodic health and safety audits and document verification are conducted at least once every 30 days
5(1)(p) – ensure that a copy of the health and safety audit report is provided to the principal contractor within 7 days after the audit
5(1)(q) – stop any contractor from executing a construction activity which poses a threat to the health and safety of persons which is not in accordance with the client’s health and safety specification and the principal contractor’s health and safety plan for the site.
5(1)(r) – where changes are brought about to the design or construction work, make sufficient health and safety information available to the principal contractor to execute the work safely
5(1)(s) – ensure that the health and safety file is kept and maintained by the principal contractor


This section determines that a Client must apply for a work permit from the Department of Labour(DOL) at least 30 days before construction is due to start on site. No construction may start before a permit has been issued by DOL. The following categories of projects will be affected:

Projects that:

a) exceed 180 days;
b) will involve more than 1800 person days of construction work; or
c) the works contract is of a value equal to or exceeding R40 million (will change to R13 million from the 7th of August 2018) or Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) grading level 8.

What documentation needs to accompany the application?

•          Baseline risk assessment
•          Health and Safety Specification
•          Health Safety Plan
•          Proof in writing that an agent has been appointed
•          Proof in writing of letter of good standing with Workmen’s Compensation of Principal Contractor
•          Proof that designer has received specification
•          Proof that designer has complied with all the duties in Regulation 6
•          Proof that designer took specification in consideration for design
•          Proof that the Principal Contractor made adequate provision for health & safety
•          Proof Principal Contractor is competent and has the necessary resources

All these documents are part of the pre-construction phase. A Safety Agent should be involved in the planning phase with all new projects, and not only be appointed once the project  reaches the construction phase.