Alva Group Occupational Health and Safety Services

Why Does My Business Need a Safety File?

A safety file is a repository for data pertaining to health and safety administration at different construction sites. It is specifically directed at the site’s assigned contractors and subcontractors. The main goal of safety files is to ensure compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations as well as to give employees training and information.

According to the Construction Regulations and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (85 of 1993), each contractor and subcontractor is required to maintain an accessible safety file (2014).

According to both the Occupational Health and Safety Act as well as the Construction Regulations, the following is applicable:

  • Construction Regulation 3(6) – The client (employer) is responsible for ensuring that the principal contractor maintains a copy of the construction work permit mentioned in sub-regulation (1) in the Occupational Health and Safety file for inspection by an inspector, the client, a client-authorized agent, or an employee.
  • Construction Regulation 5(1)(s) – The client (employer) is responsible for ensuring that the principal contractor maintains the health and safety file in accordance with Regulation 7(1)(b).
  • 7(1)(b) of the Construction Regulation – In accordance with the Act and these regulations, the principal contractor is required to establish and maintain an on-site health and safety file. This file must contain all necessary documentation and must be made available to an inspector, the client, the client’s agent, or another contractor upon request.
  • Additionally, the health and safety file needs to be kept up to date by on-site safety staff and audited by a qualified individual.

What Should Be in a Safety File?

It is important to remember that there isn’t a standard format for safety files; instead, each site must determine its own. The required documentation for a safety file will be determined by the client and the health and safety specification, ensuring that only the pertinent documentation is included. The material or paperwork must also cover some general needs in addition to site-specific requirements. Here is an illustration of some of the paperwork that might be in a safety file.

  1. Letter of Good Standing
  2. Site Rules & Policies
  3. Management Plans
  4. Emergency Evacuation Plan
  5. Organogram & Appointments with Competencies
  6. Mandatary Agreement & Contractor Appointment
  7. Client Spec / Baseline Risk Assessment, Notification of Construction & Construction Work Permit
  8. Method Statement, Risk Assessment Review Plan, Risk Assessment with Safe Work Procedures
  9. Daily Safety Task Instructions & Planned Task Observation
  10. Audit Reports
  11. Record of Safety Meetings
  12. Lock-Out
  13. Toolbox Talk Register & Checklist
  14. Inductions, Next of Kin, Id’s & Medicals
  15. Disciplinary Action & Warnings
  16. Copy of the Act and Applicable Regulations

If an event occurs on-site, for instance, the safety officer, the principal contractor, or any other staff members must have access to the essential information from the safety file. The necessary information on how to handle the incident situation in terms of the incident reporting procedure will be available in the safety file.

Need help putting together a safety file for your business? Contact Alva Group today for a FREE 60-minute consultation to find out how we can help you.

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