A critical review of the effectiveness of the Department of Labour (DoL) Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) Inspectorate in relation to the construction industry in South Africa

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 8
  • Abstract:

    English: Irrespective of all the efforts made by the Department of Labour (DoL) and other relevant stakeholders to improve construction occupational health and safety (OH&S) performance, there is still a very high level of accidents and fatalities in South Africa. Injuries and accidents to workers help no community in any nation. The construction industry in South Africa is generally known to be one of the most hazardous and has one of the most dismal OH&S records among all industrial segments with an unacceptably high level of injuries and fatalities resulting in considerable human suffering. A doctoral study was recently conducted with the aim of investigating the effectiveness and performance of the DoL OH&S Inspectorate in South Africa. Information was sought and obtained from various respondents including civil and building contractors, OH&S consultants, project managers, DoL inspectors, and designers by means of questionnaires. The research identifies interventions which could contribute to a significant reduction in the number of accidents, which in turn is likely to result in: a reduction in the cost of accidents (CoA); a reduction in the cost of workers’ compensation insurance; alleviation of fatalities, injuries, pain and suffering, and a reduction in the indirect CoA to society and the national health care system. The salient findings of the study are presented and elucidate that the DoL OH&S Inspectorate is not effective in terms of OH&S relative to the construction industry in South Africa. Conclusions and recommendations included reinforce the need for a reviewed OH&S Inspectorate model framework. The structured normative model consists of fundamental elements which guide to improve the effectiveness of the DoL OH&S Inspectorate. The findings of the study with recommendations are included.