OHSA: Occupational Health And Safety Act11th Feb 2019
Residential estates should familiarise and align themselves with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, and the regulations made thereunder.
The benefits of joining the movement
By creating a culture of legal compliance within an estate, HOAs promote clarity and trust in those who have vested interests in the residential estate. This furthermore enables estate management to demonstrate sound management structures, systems and processes, which strengthens the brand of the estate and increases its value.
By ensuring that an estate complies with the law, HOAs minimise the risk of possible legal liabilities, penalties and fines. By doing so, they inevitably protect the brand of the estate, which many believe is fundamental to a successful residential estate.
Who must do it?
Section 16(1) of the Act declares that the CEO must ensure that the health and safety duties of the residential estate, as contemplated in the Act, are properly discharged.
The act formally introduces the CEO, in relation to a body corporate, as the person who is responsible for the overall management and control of the business of such body corporate
The CEO may then, without absolving him or herself from their responsibilities or liability, assign the duties to any person under their control, more commonly known to us as the manager, and in most cases this duty is bestowed on the general manager.
What should be done?
Every residential estate must have in their possession a health and safety file that includes, but is not limited to, the following minimum requirements:
- The baseline risk assessment document that identifies all hazards and risks attached to every task and activity;
- Documentation must exist to prove that more comprehensive task-based or issue-based risk assessments were completed pertaining to the high-risk factors, which were identified within the baseline risk assessment;
- A documented Health and Safety Policy must be in place;
- Further proof of a comprehensive Health and Safety plan must be in place;
- The certificate of good standing from the compensation fund;
- Various legal appointments;
- Proof of employee training on Health and Safety;
- Proof of safe operating procedures;
- Contractor management plan and mandatary agreements;
- A waste management plan;
- A documented emergency preparedness and response plan.
What about construction sites within the residential estate?
Section 8(2)(g) highlights the following duties of the residential estate:
Residential estate management teams are equipped with the power to guide and restrict the affairs on a building site, such as stopping illegal building activities, enforcing good housekeeping practices, ensuring that sites are barricaded, or even preventing occupation prior to issuing of an occupancy certificate. These are just some of the powers that bind them to the definition of control. The duty of the estate is to exercise the power of control that was bestowed on them, by virtue of their partial responsibility, and to ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, that all sites within the estate also comply with the Act.
“taking all necessary measures to ensure that the requirements of this Act are complied with by every person in his employment or on premises under his control”.
The Health, Safety and Environmental Law Society conducted a survey in 2017, where 437 health and safety professionals voted that it is contra bonos mores (against the good morals of society) if the residential estate does not take steps to ensure that construction sites comply.
It is not a daunting task to ensure that an estate as a whole complies, and the benefits of doing so far outweigh the effort.