A study of construction plant and equipment health and safety (H & S) in the KwaZulu-Natal construction industry.
With the increasing rate of infrastructural development in South Africa the accident and fatality rate continues to increase. It then becomes paramount to ensure adherence to H&S regulations so as to mitigate and prevent accidents and fatalities from occurring. The study of Health and Safety associated with plant and equipment is important because the majority of accidents are plant and equipment related. The study analysed key risks involved in the use of plant and equipment, the nature and severity of accidents and hazards and health risks related to the KwaZulu-Natal road construction industry. Previous studies have focused on the use of an excavator and have not researched particularity the KwaZulu- Natal province road construction industry. This research consisted of an observation study on twelve road construction sites within KwaZulu-Natal. During visits to these, Health and Safety (H&S) aspects related to plant and equipment, site documentation such as plant maintenance log books, plant certifications as well as safe work procedures were examined. Structured interviews were conducted with construction road contractors, professional engineers and qualified persons in charge of H&S aspects in the twelve sites under the study. The research aimed to investigate how the construction road contractors perceive Health and Safety (H&S) risks associated with plant and equipment and how construction worker health can be improved in road construction. The study revealed that H&S procedures with regard to the operation of construction plant and equipment were in most cases not adhered to in road construction in KwaZulu-Natal. Furthermore, it was observed that plant operators were not sufficiently trained in H&S before handling plant and equipment. H&S training is paramount including the implementation of H&S procedures. This would improve project performance and the overall South African construction industry.