What Employers need to do for Level 3 to Re-Open for COVID-19

No-one can be blamed for being confused about the Covid-19 measures that will be needed in the workplace when South Africa moves to Level 3 lockdown status at the end of May. Firstly, no definite date for relaxing the lockdown level has been set, secondly, the Level 3 measures have not been clearly spelt out and lastly, some areas, mainly metropolitan, are likely to remain at Level 4 status.

Shining a light on the uncertainty facing Covid-19 obligations in the business environment is a leading Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) consultancy, MAKROSAFE, who echoes the words of warning of the president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Announcing the move to Level 3, the president said the challenges of this phase would be more difficult than Level 4. Coronavirus infection rates are expected to increase because of the large number of people who will be returning to the workplace.

It is for this very reason that MAKROSAFE and SafetyWallet urges business owners to develop an effective OHS plan of action and to make use of its Back to Work Prevention Kit, available online FREE of charge.

Free COVID-19 Prevention Kit plus Consultation 

Creating a Risk-Free Workplace

To create a risk-free workplace, employers need to upgrade health and safety measures, while keeping abreast of the ever-changing Covid-19 Government-imposed rules and regulations. They will also need to open new communication lines with their workforce to relay any updates and changes to Covid-19 policies. These requirements can present insurmountable obstacles for many business owners. Many do not have the time, the know-how or the required workforce to implement all necessary measures. That is where an OHS specialist, like MAKROSAFE and SafetyWallet, enters the picture.

For many years this OHS consultancy has been guiding thousands of South Africa businesses along a risk-free route that ensures compliance with the OHS Act. MAKROSAFE says Level 3 will demand that employers operate a working environment free of risk and health hazards. This can be achieved by implementing an OHS plan of action and by using the resources offered in the Back to Work Prevention Kit.

R15,000 FREE Gift

MAKROSAFE MD, Leon de Walt, is justly proud of the Back to Work Prevention Kit developed by his company. The kit is valued at R15 000 and van der Walt explained that the decision to offer as a free gift was taken as a show of support in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is proving enormously disruptive to people’s lives, workplaces and the South African economy. As an OHS service provider, we recognise our duty and responsibility to support health and safety in industry and commerce to fight the spread of the coronavirus in the workplace.”

Van der Walt says the free gift also includes an obligation-free 20-minute Zoom consultation. There will also be no charge for downloading and using the Prevention Kit.

 

How Will Level 3 Work?

The president said that easing lockdown restrictions to Level 3 would be “area-specific” as there were several Covid-19 “hot-spots” throughout the country. These hot-spots were mainly metropolitan areas that will remain at Level 4 when lockdown restrictions are eased for the rest of the country. The fact that numerous major industries are based within metropolitan areas is cause for concern as they will still be governed by Level 4 regulations. The president did say that new regulations will soon be introduced for businesses and e-commerce.

In the meantime, business enterprises earmarked for a return to work at Level 3, or for a scaling up to 100 per cent production in that phase, are:

  • Mining
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Cement and construction
  • Steel and metal manufacturing
  • Clothing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Textiles and footwear
  • Licensing, deeds offices and government services designated by the Minister of Public Service and Administration
  • Take-away restaurants and online food delivery
  • Hardware stores
  • Bottling
  • Machinery and equipment
  • Book sales and stationery
  • Household appliances
  • Clothing, home textiles and footwear
  • Postal and courier services
  • Real estate
  • Motor vehicle sales
  • Pool and gardening services
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning services
  • Bus services, taxi services, e-hailing and private motor vehicles, subject to restrictions
  • Train services, subject to restrictions
  • Domestic air travel, subject to restrictions
  • Alcohol sales, subject to restrictions

Risk Assessments are at the heart of OHS Act compliance as these determine the risk of employees being exposed to the virus in the workplace. Employers must assess risks such as:

  • Biological
  • Chemical
  • Ergonomic
  • Physical

Protection Measures

COVID-19 protection measures include:

Engineering Controls - This involves isolating employees from Covid-19 hazards by installing efficient air filters, improving ventilation ratios and using physical barriers, such as perspex screens, to protect workers who deal with members of the public.

Administrative Controls – Minimizers exposure to hazards by sending sick workers home, reducing personal contact with the use of telecommunications, using shift work to decrease the number of employees on the premises, creating Covid-19 workplace committees and educating and training workers on Covid-19 policies and procedures.

Safe Work Practices - reduces the exposure to hazards by promoting personal hygiene, displaying easy-to-understand hygiene posters in restrooms.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – where necessary, PPE can prevent exposure. PPE includes items such as gloves, goggles, face shields and masks, gowns, aprons, coats, overalls and head and shoe covers.

Back to Work Prevention Kit

The Covid-19 pandemic laws governing the lives of all South Africans can change at a moment’s notice. The fact, together with the innumerable measures that have to be put into place in the working environment, can create a logistical nightmare for business owners. However, with MAKROSAFE’s Back to Work Prevention Kit business owners will be well equipped to handle OHS risk-free workplace demands. MAKROSAFE does all the hard work behind the scenes, with daily updates of all new legislation affecting the South African economy and the people who drive it.

This invaluable Covid-19 operating manual helps business owners to comply with the OHS Act coronavirus legislation and to fight the spread of the pandemic. The kit contains the following:

  • Covid-19 Policy
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Policy
  • Testing and screening employees to comply with COVID-19 Policy
  • Working from Home Policy
  • Working from Home Risk Assessment
  • Risk Assessment for travelling between the workplace using public transport
  • Assessing the workplace risks of exposure to infectious diseases
  • Workplace Readiness after Lock
  • Control measures Guidelines
  • E-Learning - managing infectious diseases (Covid-19) in the workplace
  • Induction Booklet
  • Toolbox Talks
  • Awareness Posters
  • Daily Mandatory Checklist

 

 


Posted date: 11th Jun 2020
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