What is a Safety File?

A Safety File is a record of information which focuses on issues pertaining to the managing of construction health and safety for a specific project or in view of subcontractors a specific part of the project.  The safety file serves as proof of compliance to safety specifications in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations and protects the employer against any potential liability.

It is of utmost importance that the content of the safety file, are communicated, understood and maintained for the duration of the project. Proof of acknowledgement on the communication and training for each component of the safety file must be kept.

The communication of the content of the safety file and the implementation  and execution of the prescribed safety guidelines ensures the health and safety of persons at work and the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards arising out of or in connection with construction activities.

The information of the safety file, will alert everybody involved with the project, of the significant safety and health risks that needs to be addressed for the duration of the project activities.

Why do I need a safety file?

Each and every developer, first time home builder, principle contractors,  contractors and subcontractors are required by law to have a safety file as proof of adherence to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations. Construction Regulation of 2014,  clearly states:

CR 3(6) A client must ensure that the principle 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 authorized agent, or an employee.

CR 5(1)(s) – The client must ensure that health and safety file contemplated  in regulation 7(1)(b) is kept and maintained by the principle contractor

CR7(1)(b) A principle 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

What information must be included in a safety file?

Each and every safety file is site and construction activity specific and is compiled in accordance with the Client’s safety specification, but the overall index remains similar.

A safety file can include or exclude any of the following documents:

Health and Safety Specifications

OHS Management and Legal Compliance

Risk Management

Possible Appointments with Applicable Proof of Competency (depending of type of activities)


Emergency Preparedness

Incident and Accident Management

Induction and Communication


Possible Registers (depending on the type of activities)

Health and Safety Committees

 Who prepares the Safety File?

A competent person or group of persons with advance knowledge on the application of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and regulations as well as the experience and knowledge of the project activities prepares safety files.

These files are maintained by Safety representatives, supervisors and appointees and are audited by safety officers to ensure continual improvement and compliance to ensure a safe and healthy working environment.