Advice for Employers and Employees in Covid-19
The introduction of Level Three’s less stringent restrictions depends on two factors – effectively controlling Covid-19 infection rates and streamlining health facilities to deal with the pandemic. The Minister of Health, Zweli Mkhize, says these pre-requisites have been met.
South Africa is gearing itself for a more relaxed Covid-19 Level Three lockdown which will see thousands of more people from qualifying industries returning to work. When that happens, it will be even more important than before that employers and employees heed occupational health and safety (OHS) responsibilities.
The increased number of people inter-mingling at work poses an increased threat of coronavirus contamination. Only by taking on board the advice of professional OHS experts, like MAKROSAFE, can the South African economy be safely and effectively kick-started.
Level Three Workers
The economic workforce will be vastly expanded with the return to work and scaling up to 100 per cent productivity of the following:
- Automotive manufacturing industry
- Stationery producers and retailers
- Cement and other building materials
- Steel and metal manufacturing
- Clothing, textiles and footwear
- Chemical manufacturers
- Mining sectors
Other Level Three sectors returning to work include:
- Deeds Office, licensing and permits
- Commercial and residential real estate
- Gardening and swimming pool services
- Alcohol retail outlets (restricted hours)
- Hardware stores
- Books and educational products
- E-commerce and delivery services
- Global Business Services
A relaxation of South Africa’s lockdown to Level Three will bring welcome relief to untold numbers of workers and business owners. At this stage, thousands of businesses are under economic stress. This can be categorised as:
- Companies presently locked out of operations
- Companies facing closure
- Companies facing permanent or irreversible damage
- Workers facing retrenchment
- Employees whose jobs are at stake
Employers OHS Responsibilities
All sectors of the South African economy must adhere to health and safety rules and regulations contained in the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act. To attain and maintain OHS compliance, employers must be well-versed with the demands of the OHS Act, as well as any new laws and regulations that have been introduced following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Health and Safety workplace campaigns can place onerous workloads on employers whose time would be better spent concentrating on company operations. That is where OHS experts, like MAKROSAFE, make an invaluable contribution to the economic scene. With years of experience in the field, MAKROSAFE ensures that business owners keep the workplace safe and compliant with the demands of the OHS Act.
Employers OHS responsibilities involves the protection and safety of their workforce. This includes:
- Providing information
- Providing the equipment necessary to safely undertake the job
In addition, OHS Act compliance, with all legal requirements, requires employers to involve safety representatives of Joint Health and Safety Committees and trade unions in the implementation and monitoring of all OHS requirements.
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has placed a huge additional burden on business owners. While they have always been legally bound to maintain safe and healthy working environments, additional safety measures have now to be put into place to curtail the spread of the virus. These include daily Covid-19 screening of the workforce and providing additional health and safety equipment, such as face masks, goggles, gloves, overalls and safety boots.
Risk Assessments have always formed an integral part of OHS compliance. The advent of Covid-19, however, has added a monumental additional workload to OHS compliance in the workplace. This is a specialised field and one in which MAKROSAFE and SafetyWallet can save industries thousands in both time and money.
Like their employer, employees also have an important role to play in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. It is their responsibility to adhere to the new and strict measures that are being put into place to safeguard their health and safety.
- Employees should at all times adhere to the strict hygiene regime of regular handwashing with soap and water, or the use of hand sanitiser.
- They should co-operate with the daily screening to detect and restrict the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
- Employees should at all times during working hours wear any safety clothing, such as face masks and gloves, issued by the employer.
- Where possible, they should at all times keep a distance of two meters from fellow workmates.
- If noticing any coronavirus symptoms, it is the responsibility of employees to immediately advise their employer and to self-isolate at home.
FREE Back to Work Prevention Kit
In keeping with current pandemic trends, MAKROSAFE is continuously tweaking its OHS packages. It has now developed a FREE Back to Work Prevention Kit. The kit is available online by MAKROSAFE and SafetyWallet and covers every important aspect of the Covid-19 pandemic, including health and safety requirements.
The Back to Work Prevention Kit includes:
- Covid-19 Policy
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Policy
- Testing / Screening of Employees for COVID-19 Policy
- Working from Home Policy
- Working from Home Risk Assessment
- Travelling to and from Work using Public Transport Risk Assessment
- Workplace Risk Assessment - Exposure to Infections Diseases
- Workplace Readiness after Lock
- Control measures Guidelines
- E-Learning (unlimited) - Managing Infectious Disease in the Workplace - COVID 19
- Induction Booklet
- Toolbox Talks
- Awareness Posters
- Daily Mandatory Checklist
As can be seen from the contents of the Back to Work Prevention Kit, MAKROSAFE offers businesses a complete set of tools for a smooth resumption of the workplace.
Assessing the Quagmire of Risks
Apart from Covid-19 policies, employers are given a total overview of all important aspects of the back-to-work scenario. This includes the all-important workplace Risk Assessments demanded for OHS Act compliance. MAKROSAFE and SafetyWallet assists employers to assess the quagmire of risks associated with the working environment. MAKROSAFE’s risk assessments provide a health and safety compliance road map that identifies workplace hazards and the threats that they pose. Risks are identified, evaluated and then prioritised to create a plan of action.