Health and safety in the workplace is important because it safeguards the welfare of those in employment. Occupational Health and Safety legislation was enacted to protect both employees and employers.
It is important to know that the employer is not expected to assume sole responsibility for the health and safety of employees. The Act is based on the principle that hazards in the workplace must be addressed through co-operation and clear communication between the employer and employees. Both parties must proactively identify risks and develop control measures to make the working environment safe.
The Act requires management of organisations to establish safety committees and to implement and improve certain safety measures in the workplace. It also assigns specific responsibilities to employees in relation to health and safety in the workplace. Health and safety awareness is an imperative part of injury and illness prevention because employers and employees are reminded of the potential hazards they are exposed to in the workplace.
The Act contains several key sections relating to the responsibilities of the employer in terms of health and safety. Employers should be conversant with all sections of the OHSA so that they are aware of their duties and responsibilities, as well as those of employees, visitors, service providers, manufacturers and others. We will be looking at some of the key OHSA sections over the next few weeks and explain them in simple terms to role players in the occupational health and safety environment.
In this article, we look at Section 8 of the OHSA 85 of 1993 and the responsibilities of an employer.
Every employer shall provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his/her employees.
Without derogating from subsection 1, the matters to which those duties refer include the following:
SERR Synergy protects the interests of employers by facilitating a legally sound relationship between employee and employer that is mutually beneficial. If you require assistance with OHS compliance or compliance orders contact us for guidance.
About the author: Ilse-Marie van de Wall started her career as a Human Resources and Industrial Relations Practitioner in 2007. She holds a degree from the University of Pretoria and certificates in both NEBOSH and SAMTRAC. She is currently busy with a National Diploma in Safety Management at UNISA. As a professional Health and Safety Practitioner she is registered with SAIOSH and the SACPCMP. She started with SERR Synergy in 2016 and is employed as an Occupational Health and Safety Practitioner.
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