WE ASSIST YOU WITH COMPANY POLICIES & PROCEDURES
THE COMPANY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SAFETY OF ITS EMPLOYEES
Are visitors to your office aware of your Health and Safety policy? Are they aware of certain hazards in your workplace? Do you have indemnity notices up?
If a visitor gets injured while at your office, you, the employer are liable for their Health and Safety.
If an accident occurs in your workplace, and the person dies, you could be charged with culpable homicide, charged penalties of R100 000 or face a jail sentence.
The CEO or owner of a company is accountable for Health and Safety at work. You would have to prove the following three things to establish your innocence:
- The injured person acted without your permission or connivance. This included tacit permission (You saw him/her do something unsafe but did not stop him/her);
- The injured person did something beyond the scope of his authority, i.e. operating machinery and plant he/she isn't authorised to operate; and
- You took all reasonable steps to prevent the accident (signage, training, provision of preventative measures)
How do you prove each of the above points? What documents should you keep to prove your innocence?
Having an indemnity notice displayed, is not sufficient for liabilities in the workplace if the working environment is unsafe and a visitor gets injured or dies. If a person, other than an employee, is injured, dies or becomes ill as a result of being on your premises, the company is liable for all medical expenses. The visitor also has the right to make a civil claim against the company. In the event of a fatality, the charge is culpable homicide.
WHAT MUST COMPANIES CONSIDER?
• Legal duties of the employer;
• Who bears responsibility for all people who visit your office?
• CEO charged with certain duties – legal appointments;
• How to ensure that all employees are made aware of their
workplace H&S responsibilities;
• Health and safety reps: responsibilities and duties;
• Duties of manufacturers and suppliers;
• Employees responsibilities/Rights of the workers; and
• Unions role in Health and Safety.
As an employer, by law you have to maintain a safe and healthy working environment.
Identifing hazards. When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company was using? You need to comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations. There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace, according to the OHSA, and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations.
Removing hazards. Which hazards must be removed and which ones can stay unchanged?
Reducing hazards that can’t be removed. The easiest way to handle this is to have written policies and procedures written policies and procedures to comply with occupational Health and Safety legislation, help with induction training, performance management and with your obligation to inform all employees of hazards.
Managing hazards. You must regularly review your policies and procedures. Are your employees able to protect themselves from hazards? Are they complying with safety procedures? Are you doing regular inspections? If you employ more than 20 people, you must have a safety representative and SHE committees. You need, including nomination forms, voting letters, nomination lists, reporting flowcharts, agendas for Health and Safety meetings, minutes, legal requirements, methods of voting and more.
Make sure you keep records. This could be the only defence you have against an inspection by the Department of Labour. Use checklists to ensure you are keeping records for everything required by law. Make sure that you are keeping records for long enough and in the correct format.