Many employees are often uneducated about their own basic health and safety requirements of their working environment. The Occupational Health and Safety Act 1974 imposes certain obligations on an employer not only to take all such actions as to safe guard the health and safety of staff but also to be able to show that they are doing so.
This means that the employer must ensure that the workplace is free of hazards, where this is not possible the employer must inform workers of how they may be prevented and how to work safely and provide other protective measures.
The act refers to what is reasonable in any given working situation. Therefore the organization is to:
Assess the risks in a work place;
Have written health and safety procedures written down;
Ensure that the workplace satisfies the health, safety and welfare requirements;
Ensure safe and clear access in and out the building including fire exists, staff must also be made aware of fire procedures and regular fire drills;
Regularly check premises for structural defects etc.;
Equipment must be checked and suitable for intended use and properly maintained;
Ensure that all staff members are aware of procedure in case of emergency or accident;
Provide protective clothing were necessary;
The Role Of the Government
In order to ensure health and safety of workers; provincial offices have been established in all provinces. Occupational health and safety inspectors from these provinces carry out investigations at work places.
For more info and the latest revisions on The Occupational Health and Safety Act refer to the Department of Labours’ Website www.labour.gov.za