Occupational Health & Safety Act

Occupational Health & safety

Occupational Health and Safety refers to the health and safety of a work environment. The Occupational Health and Safety Act was created to provide a clear structure of what health and safety should look like in the work environment. The Act has come a long way in the last 100 years.  
Established in 1918, there has been extensive development and research done to develop a structure that works effectively that supports the employees as well as employers. It is important to remember that this is not a new Act that is being implemented but rather a reviewed Act.
There has been a couple of amendments to the Act that were made in the following years:

1918 - Established

In the past there wasn't any provision made to protect everybody but rather only certain sectors. With the amendments made to the 1993 Occupational Health and Safety Act, this has changed where systems are put in place to protect all South Africans. The Act isn't just about workers at work, but it's about including members of the public that's affected by the activities of the business.
Working closely with the Department of Health as well as the International Institute of Occupational Health, all amendments have been carefully considered and the results thereof.
What is the aim of the Occupational Health & Safety Act?
According to the South African Labour Guide the aim is to provide safety and health to employees at work with regards to their working environments. Further, it's been put in place to provide protection to people other than people at work, from hazards arising out of or in connection with activities from people at work and to establish an advisory council.
The main objective of the act can be described as a pro-active attempt by the South African government to prevent and avoid work related injuries and illness. The Act covers a diverse range of work industries in South Africa which includes normal office working environments to working environments that has many dangerous risks such as construction, mining and industrial plants.

MAKROSAFE Holdings health & Safety Act book

The complete Occupational Health and Safety Act consists of 50 sections as approved by the South African parliament. The different sections address important aspects that have a direct impact on your business as listed below:

  1. Definitions
  2. Establishment of Advisory Council for OHS
  3. Functions of Council
  4. Constitution of Council
  5. Period of office and remuneration of members of Council
  6. Establishment of technical committees of Council
  7. Health and safety policy
  8. General duties of employers to their employees
  9. General duties of employers and self-employed persons to persons other than their employees
  10. General duties of manufacturers and others regarding articles and substances for use at work
  11. Listed work
  12. General duties of employers regarding listed work
  13. Duty to inform
  14. General duties of employees at work
  15. Duty not to interfere with, damage or misuse things
  16. Chief executive officer charged with certain duties
  17. Health and safety representatives
  18. Functions of health and safety representatives
  19. Health and safety committees
  20. Functions of health and safety committees
  21. General prohibitions
  22. Sale of certain articles prohibited
  23. Certain deductions prohibited
  24. Report to inspector regarding certain incidents
  25. Report to chief inspector regarding occupational diseases
  26. Victimization forbidden
  27. Designation and functions of chief inspector
  28. Designation of inspectors by Minister
  29. Functions of inspectors
  30. Special powers of inspectors
  31. Investigations
  32. Formal inquiries
  33. Joint inquiries
  34. Obstruction of investigation or inquiry or presiding inspector or failure to render assistance
  35. Appeal against decision of inspector
  36. Disclosure of information
  37. Acts or omissions by employees or mandatories
  38. Offences, penalties and special orders of court
  39. Proof of certain facts
  40. Exemptions
  41. This Act not affected by agreements
  42. Delegation and assignment of functions
  43. Regulations
  44. Incorporation of health and safety standards in regulations
  45. Serving of notices
  46. Jurisdiction of magistrates' courts
  47. State bound
  48. Conflict of provisions
  49. Repeal of laws
  50. Short title and commencement
The OHS gives a clear guideline of what is expected from an employer to keep its employees safe from any hazards. With these guidelines in place, it can easily be established when a company is not complying to the standards set out by the Act which will result in prosecution by the South African Government.

Posted date: 17th Jul 2018
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