Wood and Upholstery 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.
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.
For the employer to ensure that all the provisions are complied with, it will be necessary that a formal procedure is established to cover all electrical installation work and for a competent person to be appointed to oversee such work and ensure compliance with the employer's laid down procedure.
In order to expedite the evacuation of a workplace in case of fire, every employer shall ensure that any emergency escape door from any room or passage or at a staircase shall, as far as is practicable, be hung so as to open outwards; every door of a room in which persons may be present, and every door of a passage or at a staircase serving as a means of exit from such room, shall be kept clear and capable of being easily and rapidly opened from inside so as to ensure quick and easy evacuation. In larger buildings/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 afterward.
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.