Ensuring that suppliers will not be a health and safety risk on your premises in South Africa

Introduction to Suppliers Risk

Employees are the most important asset of any organization and for this reason, their OHS is crucial. However, as much as an organization may rely on its own employees, there is also reliance on contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers.

It is therefore imperative for organizations to ensure that suppliers will not be an OHS risk on your premises in South Africa and that they consider management systems, especially OHS risks, as this has a substantial impact on service delivery to the organization.

Another consideration involves the services that the staff of suppliers provides when they visit the organization’s premises, whether they know what they should be doing on-site, and whether they adhere to OHS rules applied to the organization’s own employees.

There are various levels of protection put in place and maintained, to prevent OHS risks to the organization as well as employees, specifically pertaining to government law and legislation, by ensuring Best Practice recommendations to ensure that the necessary steps are taken.

Ensuring that suppliers will not be a health and safety risk on your premises in South Africa

What are the bare minimum requirements of the Law?

According to the OHS Act (85 of 1993), and relevant Regulations, all employees have the right to be protected from work-related risks. This means that employers must ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that the health, safety, and welfare of their employees and non-employees, such as visitors and passers-by, is protected.

This is the very bare minimum duty that organizations, employers, are tasked with and must adhere to in the eyes of the law. However, some industries are stricter, and organizations will have other things that they need to adhere to.

Areas of Safety risk

Even though OHS laws apply across the board, there are some industries that are governed by additional regulations which serve to protect employees who are exposed to more risks. This includes, but is not limited to construction, agriculture, manufacturing, railways, and others.

It is, therefore, crucial that the employer and all their employees are aware of the rules and regulations applicable both holistically and industry-specific.

Risk Mitigation

Organizations must make the necessary arrangements to ensure that safe practices are applied. This includes stringent risk assessments to identify hazards and the subsequent implementation of control measures to mitigate, reduce, and eliminate risks.

It is, however, not only about employees who report for duty. Employers must consider suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors as well. How they behave, whether they have the necessary processes and capabilities in place, and numerous other factors that must be considered.

Employers must verify that their suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors comply. Should an injury or even death occur, the penalties, as well as reputational damage, may be substantial. It is therefore advisable that employers work alongside their suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors to collaborate with them in ensuring maximum compliance with the law.

How can auditing help?

It is imperative for organizations to choose suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors who have a proven record of safe practices. This must be done from the beginning, while they tender and seek contractors during the procurement process.

Employers must validate credentials before entering agreements with suppliers, contractors, or subcontractors, as it will allow them to demonstrate to potential buyers that they are part of an organization, or that they are an individual, who is a safe business choice.

However, the employer must also ensure that they check that suppliers, contractors, and subcontractors continue to adhere to the law and that any claims during the procurement process are a true reflection of what they are doing, even if it is months and years into the future.

It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that they are compliant with all laws and legislation. In addition, the employer is also responsible to take diligent care of their staff and that suppliers, contractors and subcontractors uphold the same standards to avoid the employer’s entire ethos being put at risk.

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How can SafetyWallet help Employers and Contractors’ OHS Compliance?

SafetyWallet works to ensure that its subscribers are supported and assisted in all matters relating to OHS, and through a partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, subscribers can ensure that they are a part of creating a safer, healthier, and more compliant working environment. To further find out how you can ensure employer and contractor’s OHS compliance, Contact Us.

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Posted date: 13th Mar 2021