Health And Safety On A Construction Site Construction Essay

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The purpose of this report is to identify the risks that are taken on a construction site if proper Health and Safety is not displayed. Companies have to comply with rules and regulations of both government legislation and construction regulations in order to apply the proper risk management on site.

This document defines the Quality, Safety and Equipment that is implemented by construction companies or the management of Health and Safety which includes ensuring subcontractor compliance with the same standards.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) consists of safety boots, hard hats, reflective waistcoats, safety gloves and safety harnesses etc. These items need to be given to every employee working on site for their own health and safety and as well as the companies.

CIDB investigations show that there is a high rate of fatalities and injuries that occur every year, due to failure in following the right procedures on site. Government legislation regarding Occupational Health and Safety is put into place but some companies do not comply with these regulations and try to cut costs resulting in injury or death. In this report it is clearly noted that more attention needs to be given to small and emerging contractors, who are considered to have limited resources to provide H&S processes, therefore being less structured as to lager recognized companies with more experience.

CIOB states that at an organizational or site level, health and safety performances are very poor due to a lack of management commitment, inadequate supervision and a lack of knowledge and H&S training.

A research methodology consisted of questionnaires and literature reviews of this topic we take a look at government legislation and construction regulations methods which are put into place and how these methods can be changed to improve or better Health and Safety on a construction site.

The report concludes with recommendations of improving Health and Safety on a construction site concentrating on the following key areas:

� Ensuring that tertiary education addresses H&S issues.

� A developmental approach to help facilitate and support small and emerging contractors.

� Using governmental legislation procurement to improve construction H&S.



Literature Review


Health and safety issues are very important in every industry; therefore the right procedures have to be followed to ensure the safety of the employees as well as the companies in the work place. Companies have to comply with rules and regulations of both government legislation and construction regulations in order to apply the proper risk management on site. (CREATE 2004:15)The primary objective of any H&S legislation is the prevention of accidents with their consequences in terms of injury, disablement and fatality, and ill health within the work environment. The achievement of this objective depends on good legislation supported by effective, sensible and accountable enforcement.

Government legislation

Occupational health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 states is to provide health and safety for workers in the work place, as well as safe working conditions and when using plant and machinery.

(Act No. 85 0f 1993)This act states that companies must provide Health and Safety for persons at work, as well as the Health and Safety of persons who are in connection with plant and machinery. The protection of employees against hazards to Health arising when in connection with activities of persons at work.

Literature Review

The reason for this study is to analysis and evaluates Health and Safety issues on a construction site. The main reasons for this paper is identifying the problems have on construction site and how these problems can be avoided to reduce injures on site.

Objectives and targets companies should have on a project

Companies must accept its moral responsibility to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all employees to work in, including other persons who may be exposed to work being executed such as civilians walking. All employees and visitors are required to adhere to the Health and Safety Plan on a construction site.

The Management and staff should be committed and abide by the policy objectives as defined hereunder:


� All accidents are avoidable and precautions should be taken.

� Everyone is responsible for organizing accident prevention at his or her own level on the project even employees should take the proper measures to protect themselves.

� Health and Safety training is essential for all employees

� Prevention is an integral part of the quality approach.

� Working safely is ensuring your job and ensuring the completion of the project on time.

� Accident prevention is a worthwhile investment for any company which increases their reputation in the industry as well.

� All monthly audits should reach 90% compliance.

� Compliance with the legal requirements set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, (OHSA) and Regulations.

� Compliance with the Client�s Safety Specification.

� To minimize the risk on a construction site is the main key factor.

What is PPE?

PPE is defined in the Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing All equipment (including clothing for the protection against the weather) which is intended to be worn or held by a employee or visitor at a construction site which protects them against one or more risks to their health and safety.PPE includes equipment such as safety footwear, hard hats, high visibility waistcoats, goggles, life jackets, respirators and safety harnesses.

Legal obglition and duties around PPE

The Personal Protective Equipment at Work Regulations 1992 and Health and Safety Act of 1993.

These act regulations seek to ensure that where the risks cannot be controlled and monitored by other means, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is correctly selected and used.

Steps a company can take to implement a Health and Safety Plan

Planning and Procedures

The purpose of the Planning and Procedures is to ensure that objectives and targets are met. The Quality Assurance Management System is best described as follows:

? Administration (Health and Safety file must be up to date)

? Appointments(Every sub-contractor should have an appointment letter)

? Legal and other Requirements (All insurances should be in place)

? Risk Assessment ( Must be done on a regular basis)

? Safety Training and Induction ( So that employees are aware of the procedures on site)

? Incident Management ( Should an incident occur proper execution of handling the situation should be in place)

? Mechanical and Electrical contractors should work in a safe environment


Construction sites still have a lot to learn about Health and Safety issues, and some companies ignore these issues until a serious situation occurs on site. The main reason for this study is to establish where companies are failing to implement H&S issues and what can be changed to implement these issues to protect employees. There seem to be a big problem regarding the language barrier especially in rural areas, where local employees do not understand the risks of Health and Safety and trying to make them understand is difficult.



A Safety Management Plan is directed at identifying all planned and un-planned risks and activities with a view to identifying, eliminating and mitigating incidents and injuries on the project or construction site. The scope also addresses legal compliance, hazard identification and risk control, promoting a health and safety culture amongst employees and engaged on the contract and those individuals who may be directly or indirectly affected by the activities taking place.



Safety Management plan makes sure that certain clauses are applicable in the construction industry or any other industry for that matter. The key to a successful health and safety plan is the assurance that the contractors will comply with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85, of 1993 and regulations over and above compliance with the company�s own Quality Assurance Management System, including the client�s requirements.

Definitions of Construction Work

Construction work can be defined as the following:

a) Construction work can be defined as the erection, maintenance, alterations, renovation, repair, demolitions or dismantling an addition to a building or any similar structure;

b) Plant can be also classified as construction work, where the installation, erection, dismantling or maintenance of a fixed plant where such work includes the risk of a person falling and getting seriously injured, such as erection of scaffolding or the erection of a crane on site.

c) The removal of land fill, clearing of land or making of an excavation or work on any similar type of work.

Construction work can be defined as many aspects as listed above, each class of work must have a Health and Safety plan and procedures in place as well the correct PPE for employees, no matter the size of the work executed, Safety of persons is vital.

Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment and Risk Control (HRA)

Not all projects have Hazard Identification such as chemicals, asbestos etc, but should a contractor come into contact with this situation during their scope of works, necessary measures need to be taken by means of documented plan, which identifies hazards, assesses the risks and detailing the control measures and safe working procedures, which are to be used to identify, access and control the occurrence of hazards and risks during construction or operation phases.


The main contractor is responsible for the area under construction which he is in possession of. The site should be properly demarcated and cordoned off so the civilians walking by don�t enter the site unnecessary, before any persons are to enter the site they should fill in a register stating their reason for being on site.

Contractor�s Responsible Person(s)

Every site should have a Health and Safety representative on site to monitor employees, and see if they are following the right procedures, this means any person appointed in writing by the Contractor to supervise construction or building work, shall be responsible for the Health and Safety of that specific site.

Who should pay for PPE

If items of Personal Protective Equipment are required they must be provided free of charge by the employer/contractor. Most employees don�t know their rights regarding PPE especially in rural areas; therefore contractors take advantage of this situation make employees pay for their own PPE rather than the company providing it for them.

When to use PPE

PPE must always be regarded as a last resort to protect against risks to safety and health. If proper planning and control is in place then before the commencement of any project, this can reduce cost as well as injury on site.

Types of accidents on site

� Minor accidents (These accidents are less severe injuries)

� Major accidents (These accidents results in fracture or amputations)

� Fatalities (These accidents result in death)

Research Methodology

A survey was constructed for construction companies regarding Health and Safety issues. Contractors filled in the survey according to their General Building Grading (GB); a contractor is graded by the CIOB according to the quality and value of work. The GB grading where split into 3 groups generally 1-3, 4-6 and 7-9. A questionnaire was sent out and these are some of the questions hat where asked.


1. Is your company registered with the FEMA?

2. Does your company have a Health and Safety Plan or do you�ll get consultants to do your Health and Safety file?

3. How do you protect your employees from injuries?

4. Do you think students should learn about H&S during their years of study? If Yes motivate your answer?

5. Do you think employees should go for training seminar to have an understanding of H&S policy and procedures?


During the course of any project, the contractor will have to nominate sub-contractors for specialized work, therefore an agreement must be made between contractors regarding health and safety, a mandatory agreement must be signed between both parties, which states that the sub-contractor is liable for the health and safety of his employees on a construction site, by signing this agreement the main contractor is not liable for any injury on a sub-contractor employee unless the injury is caused by the main contractor. (Annexure 1) refers to a JBCC contract which can be used as an agreement between contractors


All employees who form part of a company are important. They are important to the company and to their families. Every worker has the right to a safe and healthy working place and the right to return home every day, healthy and without injury. All companies should all strive to maintain a safe and healthy workplace, as well as employees should be responsible for carrying out his work in a safe and healthy manner for himself and for his fellow workers.

During the course of construction work, accidents are bound to happen, contractors should follow the right procedures and paperwork to make sure that incidents are reported and noted. Annexure 2 refers to an investigation report that can be used when assessing and accidents.


Research has shown that larger companies seem to have more of an understanding to Health and Safety issues compared to small companies which have little or no understanding.

Smaller companies tend to only worry about Safety issues when a problem arises of when the Department of Labour visits the site, which leads to shutting down of the site only then precautionary measures are taken to re-open the site.

In my opinion the Department should visit construction site on regular basis ensuring Health and Safety measures are been taken all the time especially in rural and outlaying areas.

Healthy and Safety consultants need to be stricter with contractors on construction site, to reduce the amount of injures. Also having an H&S representative at all times making sure that employees are wearing the right attire before entering a construction site.