It is a legal requirement for employers to abide by the Occupation Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 to ensure the health and safety of all their staff. Health and safety is often viewed as a daunting and confusing exercise with questions like where do I start, I don’t really understand and maybe someone else will implement ohs act compliance. At Absolute Health Services our intention is to make health and safety easier to understand and implement, by attending one of our accredited health and safety courses.
Identifying Hazards in The Working Environment
It is a responsibility of all employers to identify and rectify all potential hazards that could result in harm in the workplace. If all employers and their management teams ensure that regular health and safety risk assessments are conducted in the workplace and that all these highlighted risks are eliminated or mitigated then all their employees would not be injured or involved in incidents and accidents at work. Section 8 of the ohs act is very important and highlights the employer’s responsibility to health and safety
THE OHS ACT SECTION 8 – General duties of employers to their employees
- 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 its employees.
- Without derogating from the generality of an employer’s duties under subsection, the matters to which those duties refer include in particular:
- (a) 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;
- (b) 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;
The highlighted sections above which are extracted straight out of the OHS Act, clearly state that employees may not be exposed to hazards and therefore risk assessments and health and safety management systems that address these risks must be implemented. The Absolute Health Services Risk Assessment course will enable employers to send their staff on this course to thereafter ensure that their workplace hazards are reduced and comply with the ohs act.
In addition, where more Than 20 Employees are employed?
According to Section 17 of the OHS Act, if an employer has more than 20 employees then they need to have a health and safety representative. This representative is generally nominated and then elected by the workforce itself. In order for the employee to fulfil their health and safety duties, they will have to be trained Health and Safety Representative Training as described in Section 18 of the OHS Act.
The Health and Safety Representative acts as a health and safety liaison between Senior management and employees. Some of their responsibilities may include tasks like assisting in investigating incidents that occur in the workplace, as well as listening to any OHS related complaints from employees in order to investigate discuss them at the next health and safety committee meeting them.
Health & Safety Committee
Once an employer has two or more Health and Safety Representatives, then they are required to set up a Health and Safety Committee. The committee must perform their functions, which are detailed in Section 19 of the OHS Act, of which one of the most important is discussing all accidents and incidents which occurred since the last health and safety committee meeting. All members of the health and safety committee must be trained in a health and safety course, as the ohs act clearly states and requires health and safety training and supervision.
Third Parties on Your Property
In Section 9, it is made clear that any third parties that enter your property or building are therefore under your responsibility in terms of keeping them safe. This applies to all external staff and contractors that work in and on the premises, as well as visitors. As a company, you must ensure that every contractor company working for you must have the required health and safety training, equipment and comply with ensuring their staff are safe and prepared.
Other Considerations in The OHS Act
A First Aid Box is required when an employer has 5 or more employees; If there are more than 10 employees, then there needs to be a first aider trained and then thereafter, the ratio is 1 first aider per 50 employees.
The employer must place evacuation plans around their premises highlighting escape routes, assembly areas and where the emergency equipment is located; Contractors must have a health and safety file when they report at your premises, so that your health and safety supervisor can inspect the file and ensure that the contractor is compliant with health and safety requirements or the ohs act.
Contact Absolute Health Services as we can assist with supplying you with all your health and safety equipment requirements.
What Training Can I Get?
H&S1 – H&S Representative
The Health and Safety Representatives training, as mentioned earlier in this article, is meant to express the interests of the employees at health and safety meetings and alongside management – drive health and safety within the company.
H&S2 – H&S Incident Investigation
The Incident Investigator course empowers employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to conduct investigations that happen in the workplace correctly and with confidence.
For the Risk Assessor course, the employee is given the knowledge and skills to fully conduct workplace risk assessments in order to help create a safer workplace for all environments.
This course is ideal for those staff who need to ensure you’re able to understand the OHS Act in more detail. It will offer a better understanding of the ohs act, its regulations and the implications and implementation know how to companies.
The short (2 to 3 hours) H&S 16.2 Workshop briefly covers important sections of the OHS Act so that your company’s management team can be familiar and comfortable with the applicable sections and content of the OHS Act and what the legal implications are to the management team.
The company’s Chief Executive Office and their executive team are often busy running the business and consequently appoint an H&S Supervisor (16.2 or 8.2) to represent their interest in health and safety. This course covers incident investigation, risk assessment and the occupational health and safety OHS Act.
Health and Safety Specialist Officer Course
This highly recommended 10-day course is our top health and safety course and is designed for all staff who wish to take a leading role in health and safety. It covers all the necessary health and safety content from first aid, firefighting, evacuation planning, HIV Aids awareness to all the specific health and safety content. It is a recognized HWSETA skills program and competent delegate results are uploaded onto the National Learner Registration Database against the completed skills program.
Our corporate guide to the OHS Act merely touches the surface of health and safety in the workplace, but we hope it’s provided you with greater insight and an overview of just how important OHS Act compliance is and how we can assist you.
Do you need occupational health and safety services? Why not try out our Speedy Quote tool to get a quick and easy cost estimate delivered to your inbox today!