Most of us know that an inspector from the Department of Labour (DoL) can knock on the door of your construction site at any time for an inspection. And yet many employers still aren’t adequately prepared for when it happens to them!
One of the areas in which these employers fail to comply with the most is their health and safety files. In other words, they don’t contain all the correct documents, which leads to stringent penalties!
So to avoid this happening to you, you have to make sure that your health and safety file contains all the correct documents. And to help you ensure that, all you have to do is answer the following 11 questions… Answer these 11 questions to ensure your health and safety file is ready for an inspection.
QUESTION#1: Does your file contain your Health and safety specifications?
Even though these specifications can often be located in the bill of quantities or tender documents, it’s wise to keep a copy in your health and safety file.
QUESTION#2: Do you have your health and safety plan?
This plan has to be site-specific and must be signed by you, your client and the principal contractor.
QUESTION#3: What about your current letter of good standing?
This is a letter from the compensation commissioner stating that you are in good standing with them. Ensure that it’s in your health and safety file.
QUESTION#4: Do you also have a notification of construction work (with proof of delivery) present in your file?
Keep proof that you delivered notification of construction work to the Department of Work.
QUESTION#5: Have you included all risk assessments in the file too?
This mustn’t be generic but rather task-specific – addressing any risks that you have identified on the site.
QUESTION#6: Do you have all appointments records in the file?
It is important for you to keep all written appointments on file.
QUESTION#7: What about Inspection registers?
All daily, weekly, monthly etc, inspection registers for the plant, equipment, facilities and conditions must be kept in your health and safety file as well.
QUESTION#8: Have you remembered all your internal and external training records?
Keep a record of all internal training that takes place – like risk-assessment training and work procedure training etc, and remember to keep them in your health and safety file. This includes external training records such as training certificates for first aid, risk assessment training, training for safety officers, fire team members and so on.
QUESTION#9: does your file contain all contractor documents and audits?
You must keep all contractor documentation on site, alongside proof that you are auditing contractors at least once per month, in your health and safety file.
QUESTION#10: Do you have an emergency plan?
And have you included it in your health and safety file? You must display a drawing and an ’emergency action plan’. Also include relevant emergency numbers such as local emergency services and key personnel.
QUESTION#11: Have you remembered to include a copy of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations in the file?
If you have more than five employees, this is a must! *If you can answer YES to all of those questions, then your health and safety is ready for the inspector’s next surprise visit.