Dear Valued Members,
The Minister of Employment & Labour at the beginning of last month, published for comment the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill (gazette 44572) which sets out proposed changes to the existing Occupational Health and Safety Act (gazette 14918 as amended).
If promulgated as is, the Bill, will amongst others, significantly increase employer accountability for health and safety in the workplace. These additional provisions include but are not limited to matters such as:
- The definition of “risk” has been broadened. ‘Risk assessment’, ‘risk management’ and ‘safety management systems have been added resulting in increased responsibilities for employers
- The CEO or management, or a qualified appointed individual will be required to conduct a workplace specific risk assessment and develop and implement a risk management plan in writing and, if directed, be required to develop, implement and continuously review a health and safety management system.
- Risks posed by listed work and identified hazards to persons other than employees (for example consumers) must be managed according to a risk management plan.
- A workplace with one or more health and safety representatives will be required to establish one or more health and safety committee(s).
- Employers will need to provide the department with a copy of incident statistics annually, on 1 March each year.
- A new section headed “Victimisation Forbidden” protects the employee against any form of victimisation.
- A new section headed “Criminal Liability” states that should an employer, CEO, manager, agent or employee commit an offence by contravening or failing to comply with a provision of the act and cause the death of a person, permanent disablement or illness” they may be held criminally liable.
- Significantly increased penalties for non-compliance (double in many cases) and the introduction of administrative fines.
- Includes provisions that empower employees to withhold their labour should they feel the environment is dangerous and unsafe without being victimised by employers.
The industry has an opportunity to submit submissions to the department detailing specific concerns and recommendations.
As FEDHASA, we would like to do this on your behalf. Please complete this quick online questionnaire, detailing your concerns with regards to the proposed amendments. From the information received, we will compile and forward a consolidated member submission to the department.
The deadline to complete the questionnaire is 23 July 2021, as we will need to consolidate responses to submit the formal submission no later than 31 July 2021.
Should you wish to send a submission directly, you can do so in writing by no later than 31 July 2021 to:
Mr Tibor Szana
Department of Employment and Labour
Private bag X117 Pretoria 0001
Email to Tibor.Szana@labour.gov.za