Trade and Commerce Industry Appointment Letters
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.
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.
It should be noted that employers have the duty to either investigate incidents themselves or to ensure that any of the following persons does it:
A person designated (appointed in writing) by the employer;
A health and safety representative; or
A member of the health and safety committee
Legally it means that only the person designated by the employer has to be appointed in writing, and should it be the employer, a health and safety representative or a member of the health and safety committee, then such person does not have to be appointed in writing. It is however recommended that 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.
No employer shall require or permit the building of stacks which consist of successive tiers, one on top of another, unless the stacking operation is executed by or under the personal supervision of a person with specific knowledge and experience of this type of work; the base is level and capable of sustaining the weight exerted on it by the stack; the articles in the lower tiers are capable of sustaining the weight exerted on them by the articles stacked above them; all the articles which make up any single tier are consistently of the same size, shape and mass; pallets and containers are in good condition; and any support structure used for the stacking of articles is structurally sound and can support the articles to be stacked on it.
Where reasonably practicable, the employer shall control the exposure of an employee to hazardous chemicals by introducing appropriate work procedures including written instructions to employees where materials are used or processes are carried out which could give rise to exposure of an employee to health risks associated with such exposure.