Every employer who has more than twenty employees in his employment at any workplace, and within four months after commencing business or immediately the number of his employees exceeds twenty shall designate in writing for a specific period health and safety representatives for such workplace or different sections thereof.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the duties of the employer in terms of the Act are complied with. The CEO is however afforded the right to assign duties to any person to assist him with the implementation of these duties. The mere assignment of duties to other persons by the CEO shall not however relieve the employer of any responsibility or liability under the Act. The Act specifically dictates that the persons assigned by the CEO shall act under the CEO’s control and direction. The control and direction, as referred to in the Act, literally requires of the CEO to issue guidelines, establish communication channels, lay down standards and provide the appointees with the necessary training in order to implement and ensure compliance with the requirements of the Act. Ultimately the CEO shall thus remain responsible for the activities of the employer and employees.

By signing the appointment letter, the Assistant to CEO takes responsibility to ensure that the duties of the employer as contemplated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, are properly discharged in all areas of responsibility. The Assistant to CEO must familiarize himself / herself with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its Regulations and that all statutory requirements are met at all times.
The CEO should initiate the assignment of duties down as per section 16(2) of the Act which reads “Without derogating from his responsibility or liability in terms of subsection (1), a CEO may assign any duty contemplated in the said subsection, to any person under his control, which person shall act subject to the control and directions of the CEO”. A CEO may assign persons in terms of section 16(2) and these assignees may in tern assign down in terms of section 16(2).

Appointment Letters

Hazardous Chemical Substances Controller Appointment Letter
Where reasonably practicable, the employer shall control the exposure of an employee by introducing appropriate work procedures that employees must follow where materials are used or processes are carried out which could give rise to exposure of an employee and that procedure shall include written instructions.

Health and Safety Representative Appointment letter
Subject to the provisions of subsection (2), every employer who has more than 20 employees in his employment at any workplace, shall, within four months after the commencement of this Act or after commencing business, or from such time as the number of employees exceeds 20, as the case may be, designate in writing for a specified period health and safety representatives for such workplace, or for different sections thereof.

Evacuation Officer Appointment Letter
The employer has to decide what reasonable measures need to be implemented to ensure that in the case of an emergency all persons react in accordance with the predetermined emergency plan. In large buildings or workplaces it may be necessary to appoint evacuation officers to ensure that all persons present in a particular area of the workplace evacuate and to assist in the accounting for persons afterwards.

Portable Electric Tool Inspector Each portable electrical tool must be fitted with a switch to allow for the easy and safe starting and stopping of the tool. The user is required to maintain every portable electrical tool, together with its flexible cord and plug, in a serviceable condition.

Whereas this function should be carried out by the user of a tool before use every time it is also important for the employer to verify, from time to time, that tools are being maintained in a good, safe and operable condition. Unless such inspections are recorded it will be very difficult for the employer to proof that he had such a system in place.

It is therefore suggested that one or more competent person/s be appointed to verify the condition of portable electric tools, including portable electric lights, at regular intervals. The intervals should be, based on risk, determined by the employer. It could, for instance, be decided to have different inspection frequencies for different types of equipment.