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What should a safety file contain?

When running a business in South Africa, one of the key aspects that companies need to pay attention to is occupational health and safety. The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) mandates the preparation of a Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) file for every project to ensure the welfare of employees and compliance with the law. This is where Griffin Occupational Health and Safety Solutions can step in with our SHE file templates or tailor made safety files, designed to aid businesses with compliance requirements. In the vibrant and evolving landscape of South African business, one constant remains paramount – the obligation to prioritize occupational health and safety.

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So, what exactly should a SHE file contain? This comprehensive guide provides insight.

The key constituents of a detailed SHE file include the following:

  1. Company Supporting Documentation: This serves as the foundation of your SHE file. It should include your organization’s training records, insurance documents, a letter of good standing, and essential health records of employees. These collectively signify your readiness and capability to undertake the tasks at hand.
  2. Risk Assessments: Comprehensive baseline and task-based risk assessments are vital for identifying potential hazards related to various tasks. With a solid communication plan, you ensure that all workers are well aware of these risks.
  3. Health and Safety Plans: This section outlines your company’s approach to managing and mitigating health and safety risks. It includes but is not limited to, the Incident Management Plan, Emergency Management Plan, and more. Each plan needs to be communicated effectively to all workers to ensure a shared understanding and adherence to safety procedures and protocols.
  4. Fall Protection Plan: For businesses that involve work at heights, this plan is crucial. It should clearly outline the measures taken to prevent fall hazards and the usage of appropriate safety equipment.
  5. Health and Safety Policies: A robust SHE file should incorporate various policies such as a smoking policy, waste management policy, drug and alcohol policy, among others. Each of these should be effectively communicated to all employees to ensure compliance and a safe working environment.
  6. Method Statements – Safe Working Procedures: Detailed outlines of how specific tasks should be safely carried out are essential. These methods, once communicated efficiently, ensure everyone is familiar with the recommended procedures and significantly reduce the risk of injury.
  7. Appointment Letters and Organogram: This section should contain appointment letters for various roles in the company’s health and safety structure. An organogram can illustrate the company structure, including the health and safety department, providing clarity on everyone’s responsibilities.
  8. Registers: Your SHE file should maintain various registers, such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) registers, ladder monthly register, and more. These documents record the use, condition, and inspection of safety equipment and facilities, ensuring accountability and safety.
  9. Toolbox Talks and Inductions: These form an essential part of a company’s safety training protocol. They cover site-specific safety rules, general safety points, and include records of attendance, making sure everyone is on the same page regarding safety practices.
  10. Inspections and Checklists: A record of regular inspections and checklists ensures compliance with safety standards and practices, and provides documentation of the condition and use of safety equipment and facilities.
  11. Permits: Housing all relevant permits, this section demonstrates your legal compliance and authorization for various operations and processes.
  12. Scope of Work: A clear outline of the nature of work to be performed provides understanding of the tasks involved, their associated risks, and ensures all parties are aligned in their expectations and preparation.

Additional sections could include detailed First Aid Procedures, Training Records, Incident Reports, Subcontractor Management, and COVID-19 Protocols, among others.

In the face of this seemingly daunting task, remember that Griffin Occupational Health and Safety Solutions is here to assist. Our tailored SHE file or templates are designed to make your compliance journey smoother. For more information or assistance, please contact us at 066 215 4439, email, or visit our website at We’re committed to helping you foster a safer, healthier work environment for everyone.

Unlock Safety Compliance With Our Safety Files! Poster BLOG
Unlock Safety Compliance With Our Safety Files!

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