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).
It is recommended that employers appoint a first aider where more than ten employees are employed and where there are more than 50 persons employed. A first aider
must be appointed for each group of 50 persons or part thereof. When employers have 11 employees they are required to appoint a first aider.
Sub-section (4) requires the first aider to be readily available during working hours. This automatically means that more than one first aider would be required should the organization be working on a shift basis, in order for the first aider to be available at all times. Should the normal first aider become sick or be on leave,
another qualified first aider must be available to the employees of the organization.
Having regard to the size, construction and location of the workplace, and the amount and type of flammable articles used, handled, or stored on the premises, an employer shall provide on the premises an adequate supply of suitable fire-fighting equipment at strategic locations or as may be
recommended by the fire chief of the local authority concerned, and such equipment shall be maintained in good working order. The intention of the legislator with this regulation was for such equipment to be inspected, at regular intervals, by a competent person (Fire Fighter
) to ensure that it remains operational and accessible at all times.
This regulation must be read in conjunction with the requirements of SABS 0105, which, in paragraph 8.1 requires of all employers to appoint a person to inspect fire extinguishers at intervals not exceeding one month.
Appointing a person who is competent to investigate incidents
should be done in writing. Such person needs to be conversant with the Act and its Regulations, the process, plant, machinery, equipment, etc.., as well as how to investigate incidents properly.
Sub-regulation (4) of the Act requires that an incident be examined, and Section 20(1) (b) of the Act further requires that such incident be discussed. Although this subregulation does not require the signing of the document in which the investigation has been recorded, it is required by Annexure 1 that the investigator sign it.
Every employer who has more than twenty employees in his employment at any workplace shall ensure that Health and Safety Representatives
are appointed. One Health and Safety Representative must be appointed for every 50 employees in the Metal and Engineering Industry.
The Health and Safety Representative appointee must be employed in a fulltime capacity at a specific workplace, and he or she must be familiar with the conditions and activities that take place in the workplace or in sections of it.