The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 85 of 1993 requires employers to ensure that they have adequately trained emergency response personnel in the workplace. The required training includes the following safety topics:
- First Aid Level 1
- Fire Marshall
- Health & Safety Representative
- Evacuation Marshall
The legal requirement for training in these safety topics is when an employee employees more than 10 employees they have to train 1:50 employees in First Aid (1:100 in an office environment). When the employer employs more than 20 employees, they have to train 1:50 in Fire Marshall, Health & Safety Representative and Evacuation Marshall (1:100 in an office environment). Provision has to be made for employees trained in these safety topics to be on duty as per the ratios at all times. Therefore if you are running a 24-hour operation you should have enough candidates trained to represent the amount of people per shift. You also need to take into account annual and sick leave, who will be on duty if your trained personnel are not at work?
These training courses needs to be provided at no cost to the employees during their normal working hours. Employees do not get paid to perform these functions in the workplace and therefore also have to be given sufficient time off during normal working hours to perform their duties in their various roles. These training courses have to be provided by accredited training providers which means accredited with the Department of Labour and a relevant SETA! If you as an employer train employees on these safety topics in-house or through an unaccredited training provider to save on cost you will not only disadvantage your employees with substandard training and inadequate knowledge but you may also be found non-compliant with the OHS Act. In the General Safety Regulations 14 it states that employees who do not use training providers approved by the Chief Inspector will be guilty of an offence and liable of a fine of R200 for each day on which the offence continues or a prison sentence not exceeding 6 months!
Safety Topics in Health & Safety Training
Health and Safety compliance training is often seen as individual training courses however First Aiders, Fire Fighters, Health & Safety Representatives and Evacuation Marshalls forms your company’s Evacuation Team. This information is crucial to safety officer course requirements. Therefore, over and above each individual’s responsibilities in the workplace trained employees should also be aware of their roles during an emergency evacuation procedure.
During their training in the different safety topics employees must also be made aware of the legal requirements and what is expected of them in the workplace. Is your Evacuation Marshall aware that the doors on the main evacuation route must open outwards and may not be locked with a key? Are your Health and Safety Representatives aware that over and above their responsibility to address health and safety topics in the workplace their role changes to sweepers in an evacuation procedure? Is your First Aider aware that they must remove the wall mounted First Aid boxes and carry them to the emergency assembly point during an evacuation?
Training your employees in the various safety topics is crucial to ensure a workplace free from hazards and injury to your employees, but the bigger picture of emergency preparedness is often missed because some training providers lack the experience to adequately relay this message.
Why Absolute Health Services should be your chosen Training Provider
We are a fully accredited Health & Safety training provider against all the Unit Standards offering a wide variety of safety topics to ensure adequate safety officer course requirements. We are accredited with the Department of Labour, Health and Welfare SETA (HWSETA), the South African Institute of Occupational Safety & Health (SAIOSH), the Emergency Care & Safety Institute (ECSI), and the Resuscitation Council of Southern Africa (RCSA). Between our staff we share over a 100 years’ worth of prehospital emergency and safety experience. All of our instructors are qualified paramedics registered with the Health Professions Council of Southern Africa (HPCSA) as well as safety specialists registered as Assessors with HWSETA. We can proudly state that we can offer you a training experience you would not find anywhere else!
Training Requirements to Ensure Safety Officers are compliant
Safety officers wanting to ensure that they get up to date and informative training that would ensure that they are compliant with the OHS Act should do research on their chosen training provider before booking training. A training provider should not be chosen based on price alone and should rather look at the chosen provider’s accreditations, experience in the field and general reputation in the industry. Good safety officer course requirements should include First Aid, Fire Fighting, Evacuations, the OHS Act, the responsibilities of the Health & Safety Representatives, Hazard Identification Risk Assessments, Incident Investigations and Management Systems. No safety officer should leave a safety officer course not understanding their responsibilities as indicated by the OHS Act.
What happens if the incorrect safety topics are discussed?
Inexperienced and non accredited training providers may include safety topics that are irrelevant to safety officer course requirements or present the training in a manner that could give candidates a false understanding of the OHS Act and their responsibilities. When this happens officers will not be able to perform their functions to the best of their abilities which could be detrimental to the health and safety of everyone one working in their department.
Increased incidents, accidents and injuries due to poor quality training will have an extremely negative effect on not only the safety officer but also on the general safety culture of the organization. This in turn will lead to less attention being given to Health & Safety in the workplace which would lead to even more incidents. This could ultimately lead to the organization being fined, closed down or loss of lives due to non-compliance.