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Health And Safety

Health and Safety

There are distinct and mutually inclusive duties that employers and employees need to be part of in terms of THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT 85 OF (1993). On their own it look an ominous task but simple attention to detail can make your work environment safe and compliant.

To ensure that these duties are complied with, the employer must:

  • identify potential hazards which may be present while work is being done, something is being produced, processed, used, stored or transported, and any equipment is being used
  • establish the precautionary measures that are necessary to protect his or her workers against the identified hazards and provide the means to implement these precautionary measures
  • provide the necessary information, instructions, training and supervision while keeping the extent of workers' competence in mind. In other words, what they may do and may not do
  • not permit anyone to carry on with any task unless the necessary precautionary measures have been taken
  • take steps to ensure that every person under his or her control complies with the requirements of the Act
  • enforce the necessary control measures in the interest of health and safety
  • see to it that the work being done and the equipment used, is under the general supervision of a worker who has been trained to understand the hazards associated with the work
  • such a worker must ensure that the precautionary measures are implemented and maintained.

The employer must see to it that every worker is informed and clearly understands the health and safety hazards of any work being done, anything being produced, processed, used, stored, handled or transported, and any equipment or machinery being used. The employer must then provide information about precautionary measures against these hazards.

The employer must inform health and safety representatives when an inspector notifies him or her of inspections and investigations, to be conducted at the premises. The employer must also inform health and safety representatives of any application for exemption made, or of any exemption granted to him or her in terms of the Act. Exemption means being exempted from certain provisions of the Act, regulations, notices or instructions issued under the Act.

The employer must, as soon as possible, inform the health and safety representatives of the occurrence of an incident in the workplace. An incident is an event that occurs at the workplace where a person is killed, injured or becomes ill. It is also the spillage of a hazardous chemical substance, for example, when a tank leaks formaldehyde (a chemical product used in industry) due to a faulty valve, or where machinery runs out of control, without killing or injuring anyone

It is the duty of the worker to:

  • take care of his or her own health and safety, as well as that of other persons who may be affected by his or her actions or negligence to act. This includes playing at work. Many people have been injured and even killed owing to horseplay in the workplace, and that is considered a serious
  • where the Act imposes a duty or requirements on the worker to cooperate with the employer
  • give information to an inspector from the Department of Labour if he or she should require it
  • carry out any lawful instruction which the employer or authorised person prescribes with regard to health and safety
  • comply with the rules and procedures that the employer gives him/her
  • wear the prescribed safety clothing or use the prescribed safety equipment where it is required
  • report unsafe or unhealthy conditions to the employer or health and safety representative as soon as possible
  • if he or she is involved in an incident that may influence his or her health or cause an injury, report that incident to the employer, and authorised person or the health and safety representative as soon as possible, but no later than by the end of the shift.

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