There are health and safety regulations and requirements that every organisation, employer, and employee needs to adhere to and comply with, as stated in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 85 of 1993. Within the OHS Act, there are different sections and different regulations, that together form the OHS Act which is aimed at creating a healthy and safe workplace.
What are Occupational Health and Safety Requirements?
The main OHS requirement is for all organisations to create a health, safe, and prepared working environment for all their employees within the workplace. This includes occupational safety, occupational health, and occupational welfare, which are all interlinked and tied together in the management systems. There may be a safety management system and a production management system, but ideally, when they are implemented they are compatible and can be integrated together, or able to communicate and operate side by side, or together.
Safety legislation and or a safety standard requires all employers and any working environment, big or small to adhere to their compliance requirements. The health and safety regulations, legislation, and standards provide guidance, but the organisation must understand the requirement and then provide the necessary resources and competencies to implement with continuous improvement the safety management system and OHS requirements, which would include:
- Conducting health and safety risk assessments and hazard identification;
- Controlling risks and effective risk management;
- Establishing structurally sound safety committee’s;
- Incident investigations and implementing corrective action to prevent recurrence;
- Training workers in accredited first aid and developing an effective emergency planning plan;
- Regular monitor and auditing of OHS and compliance to the health and safety regulations;
Health and Safety Regulations
There are different occupational health and safety act regulations, with some regulations related to all industries such as the General Safety Regulation, or some regulations are about specific industries only such as the Construction Regulation. A health and safety regulation lays down how to implement the legal requirements and are quite lengthy in their content as they explain the “in’s and out’s” of the legal requirement. Listed below are some of the health and safety regulations:
- General Administrative Regulation;
- General Safety Regulation;
- Ergonomics Regulation;
- Facilities Regulation;
- Construction Regulation;
- Hazardous Chemical Substances Regulation;
- General Machinery Regulation;
- Electrical Installations Regulation;
- Asbestos Regulation;
- Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulation;
- Driven Machinery Regulation;
What are some of the duties required to ensure the health and safety of your employees?
Employers and organisations have an absolute duty to ensure the health, safety, and wellbeing of all their employees and workforce. A way of ensuring that this happens is to have a Health and Safety Manager or Officer with the correct qualification, certification, skills, and experience, employed or contracted to the organisation. This position is at least at a Supervisors level and together with top management financial and leadership and other support, can assist and perform functions such as:
- Implement safety systems and safety responsibilities;
- Identify safety risks and safety issues and implement effective control measures;
- When conducting workplace inspection, involve the correct worker participants such as the workers in that area being inspected;
- Continuously or regularly review and monitor the existing health and safety system with a view to improvement;
- Investigate all incidents to determine their root cause and implement preventative measures to prevent reoccurrence;
- Many other Health and Safety Regulation compliance requirements.
How are regulations enforced?
Health and safety regulations and laws are enforced by the Department of Labour, which has inspectors in the field visiting workplaces to check if organisations comply with the health and safety regulations. The inspectors check the organisations level of compliance if it is medium, high, or low and depending on that, will either be satisfied or may issue a notice of non-compliance and require the employer to commit to achieving compliance.
If an employer had a poor health management system in place and employees were being exposed and suffering acute and chronic health related illnesses such as noise-induced hearing loss, then the inspector may impose a fine on the organisation. The inspector may even lodge and start a criminal case against the organization. It is best that establish an effective management system that ensures health and safety regulations compliance or even iso 45001 (health and safety) compliance. Currently, the consequence of non-compliance can lead to an R200,000.00 (two hundred thousand) fine, or two years imprisonment, or both!
Health and Safety Officer – The ideal accredited Health and Safety Course
Absolute Health Services offers a 10-day Health and Safety Officer / Specialist skills program which is accredited with the Health and Welfare SETA. This accredited NQF registration skills program course is an excellent course that provides a good holistic overview of health and safety in general. The course empowers delegates with the necessary skills and knowledge to implement and or continuously manage health and safety within the workplace.
Absolute Health Services is client focused, driven by quality, professional at all times, and offers a cost-effective suite of accredited health and safety-related courses. Our Health and Safety Officer course is definitely worth attending and we offer the course at our training centres in Johannesburg, Durban, or Cape Town on preset public course dates. Make a difference, enroll and join the health and safety profession soonest.