This Monday Tech Talk focuses on Construction Health and Safety Agent Duties. There are approximately 4 different categories of safety professionals namely, candidate officer, officer, manager, and agent – each with its own set of responsibilities. In this article, we will focus on the scope of work of a health and safety agent.

What is a Health and Safety Agent?

According to the Regulations, an Agent is required to oversee the health and safety of a construction project for the Client form stage 1 to stage 6 of a construction project. Construction Health and Safety Agents should have in-depth knowledge of health and safety regulations at all levels and be able to develop, organize, implement, and oversee the health and safety requirements of a construction project from start to finish. Additionally, a Construction Health and Safety Agent should be able to mentor, train, and guide Construction Health and Safety Managers and Officers.


A construction project involves numerous risks and hazards that must be identified and managed.   To achieve this, a Baseline Risk Assessment must be developed to determine potential risks and ways to mitigate them. Additionally, a Site-specific Health and Safety Spec needs to be created and provided to designers during the Concept design stage. This spec must be taken into account during the design process, and Designers should carry out their duties as per CR 6. The health and safety spec should also be included in all tenders. When appointing a Principal Contractor, it’s essential to ensure that they have the necessary competencies and resources to carry out the work safely and that adequate costs are provided for health and safety measures.

Co-operation between all Principal Contractors appointed by the Client should be reasonably ensured. Principal Contractors must be registered with the Compensation Fund or a licensed compensation insurer before commencing work on site, and every Principal Contractor must be appointed in writing. The Principal Contractor’s Health and Safety Plan should be assessed, and finally approved, and reasonable steps taken to ensure its implementation and maintained. Audits and document verification should be carried out every 30 days, and work should be stopped where there is a threat to the Health and Safety of persons. In the event of changes in the design or additional work, the necessary H&S info and resources should be made available to the Principal Contractor.

It’s essential that the Principal Contractor’s maintains their Health and Safety file and it is the duty of the agent to report any fatal incidents or permanent disablements to the Department of Labour / DOL, including measures to be taken to ensure a safe site. Where a construction work permit is necessary, an Agent must be appointed, and where notification of construction work is contemplated, the Client may appoint a competent Agent. The Agent (permit and notification jobs) must manage the H&S on the project for the Client and must be registered with the SACPCMP.

Registration and Scope of Works:

In order to practice as a Construction Health and Safety (CHS) Practitioner in South Africa, registration under Section 18(1)(c) of the Project and Construction Management Professions Act, Act 48 of 2000 is mandatory. The South African Council for the Project and Construction Management Professions (SACPCMP) recognizes four candidate categories that an individual can pursue to advance their career in this field. The progression starts with the Candidate Construction Health and Safety Officer, followed by the Health and Safety Officer, Health and Safety Manager, and culminates with the Health and Safety Agent. Each of these categories entails specific duties that the candidate must perform, with increasing levels of responsibility and scope of work as they move up the hierarchy. As a result, the scope of work for each category becomes more detailed and focused.

For more information on the duties:

This Monday Tech Talk on Construction Health and Safety Agent Duties was presented by: Marius Hattingh & Marius Eppenberger

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