Universities collaborate to launch important OHS research body

Universities collaborate to launch important OHS research body

In a joint statement issued in October, the Nelson Mandela University, Mangosuthu University of Technology and the Central University of Technology announced the launch of the Association of Researchers in Construction Safety, Health, and Well-Being (ARCOSH).

Prof John Smallwood, Professor of Construction Management at the Nelson Mandela University, South Africa, told South African Builder that, over a period of time it had become apparent that there were several researchers conducting construction safety, health and well-being (SHW) related research on the African continent. This due to, among other aspects, the publication of papers and personal approaches to collaborate.

A common challenge on the African continent is the lack of construction specific health and safety (H&S) legislation, regulations and statistics,” said Prof Smallwood. “Furthermore, there is a lack of collaboration in terms of construction SHW research.”

The ARCOSH initiated research collaboration will contribute to the development of appropriate legislation, regulations and standards, promotion of appropriate construction SHW scholarship and practices, together with appropriate accident, injury, and occupational disease (OD) statistics in Africa.

The four founding members of ARCOSH:

Dr Claire Deacon, Principal, Claire Deacon and Associates / Research Associate, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

Prof Theo Haupt, Research Professor: Engineering, Mangosuthu University of Technology, South Africa

Prof Fidelis Emuze, Professor of Built Environment and Head of Department, Central University of Technology, South Africa

Prof John Smallwood, Professor of Construction Management, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

Establishment and evolution

Prof Smallwood explains: “The first phase will entail the attraction of members, and the recording of their primary contact details and research interests. And the second phase will include the staging of the inaugural ARCOSH conference in Cape Town on 3-4 June 2019.

ARCOSH will also be extending an invitation to members to participate in a British Academy funded research project designed to investigate the state of CH&S legislative and regulatory frameworks in the SADC region.”


ARCOSH membership applications are invited from people conducting construction SHW research on the African continent. Applications should be addressed to Prof John Smallwood: john.smallwood@mandela.ac.za


E-mail, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page will constitute the initial form of communication with members and the public, followed by the establishment of a web site and the use of other social media. In addition, an electronic newsletter will be produced quarterly.

Initially, documents can be accessed via: http://construction.mandela.ac.za/ARCOSH

ARCOSH Vision Statement

To be the preferred association for researchers conducting research relative to construction safety, health, and well-being (SHW) on the African continent.

ARCOSH Mission Statement

To promote research and development relative to construction SHW, and contribute to the achievement of optimum construction SHW on projects by:

Promoting research and development to improve construction legislation, systems, processes, procedures, and practices;

Forming partnerships with research organisations, built environment statutory councils, professional associations, registration boards, tertiary education institutions, and other built environment stakeholders, and

Promoting collaboration and coordination of construction SHW research between countries.


Identify construction SHW issues, and “research gaps” that require attention in terms of research and development;

Promote and facilitate construction SHW research and development;

Compile construction SHW guidelines, and practice notes;

Compile a construction SHW body of knowledge, and

Promote and contribute to the development and promulgation of construction specific legislation and regulations in African countries.


The following values form the basis for the Association’s approach to its activities:



Ethical reasoning;







Transformation, and


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