The importance of OHS on building sites

Construction sites are recognised as one of the most dangerous workplaces, and it is essential to have proper OHS (occupational health and safety) measures in place to ensure the safety of workers.

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) claims that, on average, 20 people per 100,000 die each year on construction sites in South Africa – suggesting that lack of health and safety training may be partly to blame.

CIDB also claims that 18% of site supervisors and a third of construction site workers have not received adequate health and safety training. The top five construction site risks and hazards in South Africa are:

  1. Inadequate health & and safety training.
  2. Working around moving vehicles and equipment.
  3.  Noise.
  4. Collapsing trenches.
  5. Working at elevated heights.

In light of the above information, here are some key points to consider:

  • Equipment: Workers should be provided with appropriate equipment such as helmets, gloves, and safety boots to protect them from hazards.
  • Clothing: Workers should wear high-visibility clothing to ensure they are visible to other workers and vehicles on the site.
  • Training: Workers should receive proper training on how to use equipment and machinery safely, as well as how to identify and avoid hazards.
  • Workman’s compensation: In case of accidents, it is important to have Workman’s compensation so staff can apply for Injury on Duty.

In closing, vital takeaway facts are that OHS:

Reduces the risk of injuries and fatalities on the construction site, which can have devastating impacts on the workers and their families.

Improves the productivity and quality of work, as workers are more motivated and confident when they feel safe and protected.

Enhances the reputation and image of the construction company, as it shows that they care about their workers and the environment.

Saves costs and resources, as it prevents accidents that can cause delays, damages, lawsuits, and compensation claims.

It is therefore important to select a reputable Builder that has their Health and Safety Plan in place, is up to date with Workmen’s Compensation, has a H&S file on site, conducts the necessary staff training, has valid medical clearances, and provides the required PPE. The Department of Labour often arrives on-site to audit compliance with these items. Being compliant with OHS regulations will protect the client from any liability if any accidents occur and protect the Building Contractor from any claims.