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Building and Construction Sector Occupational Health and Safety Regulations under Review

August 27, 2012

Department of Labour

Health and safety regulations specific to the building and construction sector are under review.

This is according labour department director general Nkosinathi Nhleko, who was addressing stakeholders at the recent signing of a building and construction occupational health and safety accord.

He said that stakeholder collaboration in the building and construction sector had been pivotal to arriving at sector-specific occupational health and safety regulations in 2003, following the signing of a cross-sector accord the previous year.

Low compliance levels nevertheless remained a concern.

Referring to the cyclical nature of employment in the sector, Nhleko pointed to a concomitant lack of commitment to training that could be at the root of consistently large numbers of occupational injuries and fatalities.

In a media statement published on the department of labour website prior to the signing of the accord, reference was made to an action plan being drawn up within six months as the next step towards improving compliance with existing legislation.

According to the statement, signatories to the accord were the departments of labour and public works, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), the National Council of Trade Unions (NACTU), the Black Business Council for the Built Environment (BBCBE), the South African Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors (SAFCEC) and Master Builders South Africa.

The department is also reviewing health and safety legislation affecting other high-risk sectors, including iron and steel, agriculture and manufacturing.