What is a safety file?
A safety file is a record of health and safety management information on work sites for contractors and sub-contractors
1 February, 2022 by
Thoba


Safety Files:

The red tape of a safety file can be daunting, so here’s a quick rundown on what you need to know about safety file requirements!

In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and Construction Regulations 2014, organisations should keep a detailed health and safety file with the company’s health and safety information and documentation.

Extracts from the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and Construction Regulations 2014:

Construction Regulation 3(6)

A client must ensure that the principal contractor keeps a copy of the construction work permit contemplated in sub-regulation (1) in the occupational health and safety file for inspection by an inspector, the client, the client’s authorised agent, or an employee.

Construction Regulation 5(1)(s) 

The client must ensure that the health and safety file contemplated in regulation 7(1)(b) is kept and maintained by the principal contractor.

Construction Regulation 7(1)(b)

A principal contractor must open and keep on-site a health and safety file which must include all documentation required in terms of the Act and these Regulations, which must be made available on request to an inspector, the client, the client’s agent or a contractor. The Health and Safety File must be maintained by site safety personnel and be audited by a competent person.

A safety file is essential, so what exactly is a safety file?

A safety file is a record of health and safety management information on work sites for contractors and sub-contractors. This record is also a company’s best defence against criminal liability and proves compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 and Construction Regulations 2014.

What are the safety file requirements?

A generic safety file should consist of occupational health and safety documentation like training records, risk assessments, policies and procedures. The file is used to implement, control and manage the health and safety programme.

A general safety file template is as follows:

a. Health and Safety Policies.                                                                                         b. Emergency contacts details.                                                                                       c. Health and Safety newsletters and communications.
d. Health and Safety appointment letters and certificates
e. Health and Safety committee meeting minutes.
f. Health and Safety risk assessments.
g. Preparedness and evacuation drills.
h. Health and Safety incident records and reports.
i. Quarterly inspections.
j.  Health and Safety contractor management.
k. Additional Health and Safety documentation and information.

In some instances, a company is required to provide a site-specific safety file. This safety file contains details specific to the site or job the company is working on.

A Site-specific safety file template is as follows:

Contractor appointment letter
Notification of work
Copy of the OHS Act and Regulations
Occupational Health and Safety Plan
Company Occupational Health and Safety Policy
Letter of Good Standing
Material Safety Data Sheets for hazardous materials used (if needed)
Tax Clearance Certificate
Risk Assessment
Site-specific safe work procedures
Fall Protection Plan (if required)
Legal appointment with proof of training (e.g. Risk Assessor, First Aider, etc.)
Incident Reporting Procedures
Incident Reports
Incident Registers
Reports of Accidents
Emergency preparedness documents
First Aid documents
Induction Records
Medical surveillance records
Safety communication
Minutes of safety meetings
Inspection registers

This list is extensive and knowing which documentation to use is difficult. Fear not, FTS Safety Group provides stellar and competent Safety File Consulting services that ensure you meet the safety file requirements and safety file software! If you have any questions or need more info, contact [email protected] FTS Safety offers a range of free information and resources for safety professionals with the aim of improving South Africa’s safety culture.