IMPORTANT! COVID 19-HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGAL ISSUES
As you are probably aware, 1/3 of your stakeholders or staff can return to work or organizational activities through the implementation of the Level 4 lockdown on 1st May 2020. Some Organizations may think that it will be OK just to issue personal protective equipment to their staff and stakeholders in the form of face masks and gloves then normal business can continue. One of the first legal cases relating to Employers liability in COVID 19 was recently concluded in Illinois, in the US. The Employee had claimed that he had contracted COVID 19 in the workplace and was therefore entitled to compensation. This was challenged by the Employer. The outcome in the case was that the court ruled the burden of proof in terms of precautions taken against COVID 19 in the workplace LAY WITH THE EMPLOYER (or Organization). In this case the Employer had failed to implement proper precautions fully and then went on further reinforce their guilt by implementing proper Health and Safety protocol after the "horse had bolted". Since our Occupational Health and Safety Act in South Africa has a similar structure to the US equivalent, the outcome of future cases in South Africa is likely to be much the same.
You will have heard the State President, Cyril Ramaphosa, last night speaking of the proper implementation of workplace risks analysis and the associated Heath and Safety Protocol. It is NOT sufficient to just issue personal protective equipment, Organizations need to go much further than that, by example, just to quote a few:
There have already been guidelines issue by the Department of Labour and the National Institute for Occupational Health, most of them compulsory and important to implement properly. Not only can this keep your stakeholders safe but also to keep your organization going!
Please contact us if we can help guide you through this process.
When the COVID 19 lockdown in South Africa is done (whenever that might be) we will all have to return to the normal working environment. The end of the lockdown does not mean that we are no longer at risk of infection from the virus. Some organizations providing essential services are already working through the crisis period.
Everyone from the top, to the bottom of any Organization will remain at risk, and as employers, we are compelled (under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993) to ensure that these risks are minimized in the workplace. This will include the following, to mention a few:
Unfortunately, just providing employees with face masks and gloves and hoping for the best is not enough, it just scratches the surface what needs to be done and as required by the legislated requirements.
The World Health Organization has identified that Health and Safety Practitioners are front line responders to this crisis in the workplace. In light of this we have prepared training material and other resources to assist your organization, which we can either present through a Webinar, or on site training and risk assessments services (observing the correct distance protocols). The material we have is based upon information provided by the National Institute for Occupational Health in South Africa and the World Health Organization and is kept up-to-date on a regular basis.
If we can help you with this, please contact us for further information.
As stated in previous blog postings, the OSHAS 18001 H & S Management System is being replaced by the already published ISO 45001:2018. The deadline date for conversion to the new standard is March 2021, so if you need to do the conversion it`s time to start thinking about it. Let us know if we can assist with implementation or in providing a gap analysis for compliance to the new standard.
An addendum to the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 was recently published in the Government Gazette on 6th December 2019 which has become effective immediately. The additions refer to new legislation for the implementation of ergonomic risk assessments and mitigation measures in the workplace. The regulations are aimed at preventing abnormalities in workers through poorly designed work stations or work methods. It requires that risk assessments are done for each job task within your organization and that any risks identified are mitigated against as far as practically possible. Don`t get caught out, these are legislated requirements and have to be done. Contact us for further information and assistance. You can download a copy of the new regulations here
A frightening number of employers do not realise the consequences of non-compliance to the Occupational health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993. Don’t think it can’t happen to you. A fatal or disabling work accident can happen in an instant and should you, as an employer, be found negligent the consequences don’t bear thinking about. Read this extract from the Act:
38. (2) Any employer who does or omits to do an act, thereby causing a person to be injured in a workplace, or, in the case of a person employed by him, to be injured at any place in the course of his employment, or any user who does or omits to do an act in connection with the use of plant of machinery, thereby causing a person to be injured shall be guilty of an offence if that employer or user, as the case may be, would in respect of that act or omission have been guilty of the offence of culpable homicide had that act caused the death of the said person, irrespective of whether or not the injury could have led to the death of such person, and on conviction be liable for a fine of not exceeding R100 000 or imprisonment for a period of not exceeding 2 years or both such fine and imprisonment.
Employee unions are quick to jump on issue of non-compliance when there is a work accident. Look at these recent articles.
Do you know where the gaps exist in your Health and Safety compliance? We can help you find out with a professional gap analysis at a very competitive rate.
Contact us we are better value for money than a fine and jail!
Do your Quality, Environmental, Health and Safety Management Systems align with your customer requirements? This is particulalrly relevent in the automotive industry where OEM`s actually specify what Quality Management System you should have in place such as the IATF16949. Did you know some also require that you have a Environmental and/or Health and Safety System in place? Most automotive OEM`s also have strict customer specific requirements which, as a supplier you should know and understand. The new requirements of ISO9001:2015 and IATF16949 are very specific in this regard and non-complaince will result in major audit findings. Ukhuselo can make sure that you access and understand these requirements, identify the gaps and help you fill them. We can also provide training on customer specific requirements of OEM`s such as Mercedes Benz South Africa. Contact us to find out more........
The world’s much anticipated International Standard for occupational health and safety (OH&S) has just been published, and is set to transform workplace practices globally.
ISO 45001:2018, Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use, provides a robust and effective set of processes for improving work safety in global supply chains. Designed to help organizations of all sizes and industries, the new International Standard is expected to reduce workplace injuries and illnesses around the world.
According to 2017 calculations by the International Labour Organization (ILO), 2.78 million fatal accidents occur at work yearly. This means that, every day, almost 7 700 persons die of work-related diseases or injuries. Additionally, there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses each year, many of these resulting in extended absences from work. This paints a sober picture of the modern workplace – one where workers can suffer serious consequences as a result of simply “doing their job”.
ISO 45001 hopes to change that. It provides governmental agencies, industry and other affected stakeholders with effective, usable guidance for improving worker safety in countries around the world. By means of an easy-to-use framework, it can be applied to both captive and partner factories and production facilities, regardless of their location.
David Smith, Chair of project committee ISO/PC 283 that developed ISO 45001, believes the new International Standard will be a real game changer for millions of workers: “It is hoped that ISO 45001 will lead to a major transformation in workplace practices and reduce the tragic toll of work-related accidents and illnesses across the globe.” The new standard will help organizations provide a safe and healthy work environment for workers and visitors by continually improving their OH&S performance.
Smith adds: “World standards writers have come together to provide a framework for a safer workplace for all, whatever sector you work in and wherever you work in the world.” More than 70 countries were directly involved in the creation of this important document, developed by ISO/PC 283, Occupational health and safety management systems, with the British Standards Institution (BSI) serving as the committee secretariat.
Because ISO 45001 is designed to integrate with other ISO management systems standards, ensuring a high level of compatibility with the new versions of ISO 9001 (quality management) and ISO 14001 (environmental management), businesses that already implement an ISO standard will have a leg up if they decide to work toward ISO 45001.
The new OH&S standard is based on the common elements found in all of ISO’s management systems standards and uses a simple Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) model, which provides a framework for organizations to plan what they need to put in place in order to minimize the risk of harm. The measures should address concerns that can lead to long-term health issues and absence from work, as well as those that give rise to accidents.
ISO 45001 will replace OHSAS 18001, the world’s former reference for workplace health and safety. Organizations already certified to OHSAS 18001 will have three years to comply with the new ISO 45001 standard, although certification of conformity to ISO 45001 is not a requirement of the standard.
The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) has developed the migration requirements to help certified organizations, certification bodies, accreditation bodies and other interested parties prepare. For more information, see the IAF Website.
A suprising number of companies don`t know what to do when an employee injures themselves on duty. The first important regulation to know is that the Labour Act requires that you have a trained first aider if you employ 10 or more people in your organization. This is a minimum of level 1 first aid training. If you employ more than 5 people, a first aid box is required on your premises. This link tells you the minimum requirements for the contents of the first aid box. www.labourguide.co.za/health-and-safety/720-update-first-aid-and-aid-boxes
Secondly if an employee injures themselves on duty and they have to attend a Doctor either privately or at a hospital a "First medical report in respect of an accident" (W.CI.4) has to be completed. This form should preferably accompany the injured employee with as much detail completed at thier visit to the medical facility, and where possible, a copy of thier identity document. This is very important particularly which the injury on duty may result in a workmans compensation claim. For your convienience the form can be dowloaded below:
The occupational health and safety standard OSHAS18001 will soon be gone and replaced by ISO45001 which is expected to be published in March 2018. We will let our customers know when this happens and where you can buy your own copy of the new standard. Included here is a briefing note from the International Standards Organization which explains in more detail what ISO45001 is all about and how it differs from the old OSHAS standard. Also have a look at the "You Tube" feed on the top of the page for a ISO45001 webinar.