The Occupational Health and Safety Act ensures that all employers provide and maintain a work environment that does not jeopardise the health and safety of the employees as far as reasonable and practical.
According to Section 7 of the Act, once the chief inspector has directed and employer to put in place a health and safety policy, he or she is legally obliged to do so.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act covers all workers including farm, domestic and state workers and excludes those working in mines or on ships.
The purpose of the health and safety policy in a workplace is to provide everyone in the workplace with standard operating procedures that aim to prevent injury.
Workers are responsible for taking the necessary precautions to prevent injury and disease in the workplace.
Furthermore, they are obliged to reporting any circumstance, environment, procedure or actions of employees that can affect their own or the health and safety of colleagues.
It is the employer’s responsibility to create and maintain a work environment which is safe and healthy for all workers. This includes adhering to legal requirements regarding policies, procedures, instructions and warning signs.
It is also expected that employers do not request or allow employees to preform hazardous tasks or activities.
In manufacturing environments, employers must ensure that all products are safe to work with, and if not, the correct personal protection equipment and working in environment are made available to the employee.
Employers in the manufacturing environment are obliged to inform employees that the equipment, materials or substances they are required to work with are dangerous or hazardous.
The purpose of health and safety legislation in South Africa is to ensure that all working environments are safe and free from potential risk to the health and safety of employees.
If you would like more information on health and safety in the workplace, please feel free to contact our attorneys in Cape Town and Johannesburg.
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