Health and Safety duties in the workplace

Duties in Health and Safety

The roles within Health and Safety are very specific and require a dedicated team to ensure that all the duties are covered to ensure the workplace is safe.

Chief Executive Officer

Duties of the CEO

The Chief Executive Officer has the following duties:

  • Every chief executive officer shall as far as is reasonably practicable ensure that the duties of his employer as contemplated in this Act are properly discharged.
  • Without derogating from his responsibility or liability in terms of subsection (1), a chief executive officer 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 chief executive officer.
  • The provisions of subsection (1) shall not, subject to the provisions of section 37, relieve an employer of any responsibility or liability under this Act.
  • For the purpose of subsection (1), the head of department of any department of State shall be deemed to be the chief executive officer of that department.

The Employee/The contractor

The employee must take care of his or her own Health and Safety, as well as that of other persons who may be affected by his or her actions or negligence to act. This includes playing at work. Many people have been injured and even killed owing to horseplay in the workplace, and that is considered a serious contravention.

Where the Occupational Health and Safety Act imposes a duty or requirements on the worker to cooperate with the employer.

The employee must provide information to an inspector from the Department of Employment and Labour if he or she should require it.

Workers must carry out any lawful instruction which the employer or authorised person prescribes with regard to Health and Safety.

Employees must comply with the rules and procedures that the employer gives him/her.

They must wear the prescribed personal protective clothing or use the prescribed safety equipment where it is required (PPE).

Workers must report unsafe or unhealthy conditions to the employer or Health and Safety Representative as soon as possible.

If the employee is involved in an incident that may influence his or her health or cause an injury, report that incident to the employer, an authorised person or the Health and Safety Representative as soon as possible, but no later than by the end of the shift.

The Employer

We referred to the employer’s duties in the previous section. However, we will refer to the Employers Duties in Maintaining a Health and Safety Representative according to Section 27 which requires that:

  • The employer must notify the representative of all reports on inspections, monitoring and testing and make them available to him or her.
  • The representative’s name and contact information and all reports must be posted where workers have access to them.
  • Representatives must be granted paid leave for meetings and training required.
  • Representatives are to be given the opportunity to accompany the OH&S officer or any person doing a health and safety inspection while they are on site.

An employer has many obligations towards the state and the safety of their employees. We will describe a few points on utilising resources and the financial implications.

Training Requirements

Health and Safety Training is a legislative requirement and all employees must be trained on how to work safely. There are costs involved and when outsourced to private training providers, the employers must have the ability to pay for these training interventions.

Contact My Safety Shop for all your Health and Safety Training requirements:

My Safety Shop Health and Safety Training

Below are a few examples of training and education requirements which may impact on resources and finances:

Below are important notes for training
The most common topics for training are OHS Legislation, first aid and hazard identification.

The training is done on paid work time.

Posting the representative’s name and informing workers about the representative’s role.

Scheduling regular meetings to discuss promotion of health and safety as well as health and  safety concerns.

Supporting the representative in his or her work to enhance health and safety by demonstrating  a commitment to safety.

skills development levies act

Skills Development Levies Act

The bottom line is, the Skills Development Facilitator will normally compile an annual training plan forecast for compulsory or mandatory training and these costs are normally budgeted for. Employers must show proof of training interventions and is then able to claim a certain percentage back on their skills levies. Below are the purpose and the criteria of the Skills Development Levies Act:

Purpose: This Act regulates a compulsory levy scheme to fund education and training in businesses within various sectors in South Africa. It aims to expand the knowledge and competencies of the labour force and in so doing increase the supply of skilled labour in South Africa, providing for greater productivity and employability.

Criteria: The criteria currently used for employers to become eligible to pay Skills Levies. If the company has staff registered for PAYE and the annual payroll exceeds R500 000 per annum, the company must register with SARS and pay a skills levy of 1% of the monthly payroll. If the company does not fall within these criteria, it does not have to pay levies or register with SARS.

According to Section 30 of the Skills Development Act which is hereby amended by the substitution for paragraph (a) of subsection (l) the following paragraph has reference – the employer:

(a) must budget for at least-

(i) 0,5 percent of its payroll with effect from 1 April 2000;

(ii) one per cent of its payroll with effect from 1 April 2001,  for the training and education of its employees.

The Health and Safety Representative

They are full-time workers nominated or elected and designated in writing by the employer after the employer and workers consulted one another and reached an agreement about who will be health and safety representatives.

They must at least be familiar with the circumstances and conditions at that part of the workplace for which they are designated.

Agreement must also be reached on the period of office and functions of the health and safety representative and must be settled amongst the employer and the workers.

Functions, duties and responsibilities of the SHE Representative

A health and safety representative may perform the following functions, duties and responsibilities in respect of the workplace or section of the workplace for which he / she has been designated, namely:
Review the effectiveness of health and safety measures.

Identify potential hazards and potential major incidents at the workplace.

Investigate complaints by any employee relating to that employee's health or safety at work.

Make representations to the employer on general matters affecting the health or safety of the employees at the workplace.

Inspect the workplace, including any article, substance, plant, machinery or health and safety equipment at that workplace with a view to, the health and safety of employees, at such intervals as may be agreed upon with the employer:  Provided that the health and safety representative shall give reasonable notice of his intention to carry out such an inspection to the employer, who may be present during the inspection.

Receive information from inspectors as contemplated in section 36 in the Act.

A health and safety representative shall, in respect of the workplace or section of the workplace  for which he has been designated be entitled to.

Visit the site of an incident at all reasonable times and attend any inspection.

Attend any investigation or formal inquiry held in terms of this Act.

With the approval of the employer (which approval shall not be unreasonably withheld), be accompanied by a technical adviser, on any inspection.

Posted date: 17th Oct 2018
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