Safety in the Workplace

Safety in the Workplace​

Health and Safety in the workplace are regulated in terms of various Acts, regulations, policies, and procedures.

The main acts from a legislative point of view which may affect a workplace or which may require employers to conform to same includes but are not limited to:

  • The Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 as amended by Act 118 of 1993;
  • The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Disease Act, Act 61 of 1997;
  • Various regulations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 as amended by Act 181 of 1993 imposes the following duties on employers in South African Workplaces.

Every employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a   working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his employees.

Without derogating from the generality of an employer’s duties the matters to which those duties refer include in particular-

  • the provision and maintenance of systems of work, plant and machinery that, as far as is reasonably practicable, are safe and without risks to health;
  • taking such steps as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate any hazard or potential hazard to the safety or health of employees, before resorting to personal protective equipment;
  • making arrangements for ensuring, as far as is reasonably practicable, the safety and absence of risks to health in connection with the production, processing, use, handling, storage or transport of articles or substances;
  • establishing, as far as is reasonably practicable, what hazards to the health or safety of persons are attached to any work which is performed, any article or substance which is produced, processed, used, handled, stored or transported and any plant or machinery which is used in his business, and he shall, as far as is reasonably practicable, further establish what precautionary measures should be taken with respect to such work, article, substance, plant or machinery in order to protect the health and safety of persons, and he shall provide the necessary means to apply such precautionary measures;
  • providing such information, instructions, training, and supervision as may be necessary to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees;
  • as far as is reasonably practicable, not permitting any employee to do any work or to produce, process, use, handle, store or transport any article or substance or to operate any plant or machinery, unless the precautionary measures contemplated or any other precautionary measures which may be prescribed have been taken;
  • taking all necessary measures to ensure that tire requirements of the Act are complied with by every person in his employment or on premises under his control where plant or machinery is used;
  • enforcing such measures as may be necessary for the interest of health and safety;
  • ensuring that work is performed and that plant or machinery is used under the general supervision of a person trained to understand the hazards associated with it and who have the authority to ensure that precautionary measures taken by the employer are implemented; and
  • causing all employees to be informed regarding the scope of their authority as contemplated in section 37 (1) (b) of the act.

The Act further requires certain duties from employers and self-employed persons to persons other than their employees namely:

  • Every employer shall conduct his undertaking in such a manner as to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than those in his employment who may be directly affected by his activities are not thereby exposed to hazards to their health or safety;
  • Every self-employed person shall conduct his undertaking in such a manner as to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons who may be directly affected by his activities are not thereby exposed to hazards to their health or safety.

The act further imposes general duties on manufacturers and others regarding articles and substances for use at work namely;

  • Any person who designs, manufactures, imports, sells or supplies any article for use at work shall ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the article is safe and without risks to health when properly used and that it complies with all prescribed requirements;
  • Any person who erects or installs any article for use at work on or in any premises shall ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that nothing about the manner in which it is erected or installed makes it unsafe or creates a risk to health when properly used.
  • Any person who manufactures, imports, sells or supplies any substance for use at work shall-
    • Ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the substance is safe and without risks to health when properly used; and
    •  take such steps as may be necessary to ensure that information is available with regard to the use of the substance at work, the risks to health and safety associated with such substance, the conditions necessary to ensure that the substance will be safe and without risks to health when properly used and the procedures to be followed in the case of an accident involving such substance;
    • Where a person designs, manufactures, imports, sells or supplies an article or substance for or to another person and that other person undertakes in writing to take specified steps sufficient to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the article or substance will comply with all prescribed requirements and will be safe and without risks to health when properly used, the undertaking shall have the effect of relieving the first-mentioned person from the duty imposed upon him by this section to such an extent as may be reasonable having regard to the terms of the undertaking.

The noted legislation imposes a requirement on Employers also to report injuries on duty as well as possible occupational deceases. Failure to report same may result in penalties such as a 3 years jail sentence or an R 100 000.00 fine.

This portion of the Website, therefore, seeks to assist members/users to have access to service providers to assist with health and safety compliance within the workplace, to source health and safety required clothing, tools and related policies and procedures related to the specific industry.