The PrCHSA is appointed by the client to ensure that health and safety (H&S) is managed across the project to limit project risk. The PrCHSA works with each of the clients team, and it is therefore imperative that a competent person is able to provide the statutory services expected.
The Construction Regulations (CRs) amended in 2014 enforced the legal status of the newest professional category in the sector, the Professional H&S Agent or Pr CHSA. Any person practicing construction H&S is required to be registered by a statutory body, which is the South African Council for Construction and Project Management Professions (SACPCMP).
What does this mean?
The ‘agent’ who is competent to do construction H&S is qualified, and experienced and registered with the SACPCMP. The guidelines that define the roles are gazetted by the SACPCMP and therefore guide the deliverables for a project. They can be found at the following link:
The late appointment of the Pr CHSA means that design stage and risks that convert into potential losses are missed. Projects of a value greater than R40million require the application for a construction Work Permit from the Department of Labour before any work can commence.
Information that is included with the application include documents such as the geotechnical survey; project specific baseline hazard identification and risk assessments (HIRA); appointments of both Principal Contractor and the Client team, with their professional registrations. Obviously, the design parameters and aspects need to be included, to develop the documents needed.
For example, the selection of the material for a borrow pit could mean high risk exposure and claims for silicosis. How? Sandstone vs decomposed dolorite?
Dolorite would be the lower risk as the level of silica is significantly lower than that of sandstone.
Or, the complexity designs for multi-story buildings debated when considering the life cycle and maintenance aspects.
APPOINTMENT OF THE PrCHSA IS NOT DEPENDENT ON THE APPLICATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION WORK PERMIT!
The hierarchy of controls is used to manage all activities across the life cycle, and the role of the PrCHSA is to limit liability to all parties. Naturally limiting risk is only able to be done when information is available and shared!
Client risk is carried by the Pr CHSA as noted in the CRs (2014) when appointed, so professional indemnity is carried by us. The Pr CHSA would not carry retrospective risk if not involved from early project stages. Vicarious liability is carried by all parties, and the quote by Moliere is very relevant when determining responsibility following an accident on a site.
How much is enough costing for H&S when planning a project?
Our colleague Professor John Smallwood’s research indicates between 0,5 to 3% of project value. When appointed at the correct stage of the project the Pr CHSA is able to determine some of the costs based on the complexity of the design. We have in the past on very small development projects found up to 15% of project value allowed for H&S. The rules are clear, irrespective of size and value, a contractor, as an employer needs to comply with the prevailing legislation. Thus, a greater amount would be deemed acceptable for such projects, and the lower for large projects.