Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2020 and the Duties of Employees at Work

Employers are responsible for providing employees with a workplace that is safe, healthy, and free of risks that threaten the OHS of those who work in that area, and those who may be affected by the organisation’s activities.

However, the responsibility towards OHS does not end there. Employees also have certain responsibilities towards his or her own health and safety, and those around them. He or she also has specific responsibilities in helping the employer achieve optimal OHS in the workplace.

Accidents and incidents will not stop on their own if there is no collaboration between the employer and the employees. An employee must be held responsible for his or her actions and OHS must be seen as a team effort for Health and Safety Management Systems to be successful.

The OHS Amendment Bill 2020 was implemented to clear up and clarify processes that are prescribed in the OHS Act, and to reflect inclusivity, and focus on current industry health and safety challenges as well as terminology.

The focus of the OHS Amendment Bill 2020 is towards the application of processes, such as the safety management system, rather than a mere reference to a policy. For this reason, a vital section of the OHS Act which has seen significant changes and improvements is the section focusing on the general duties of employees at work.


Amendments to the Duties of Employees at Work

According to the OHS Amendment Bill 2020, employees, at work, shall comply with the following:

  • To take reasonable care for his or her own health and safety as well as any other persons who may be affected by his or her acts and/or omissions.
  • Relating to any duty or requirement imposed by his or her employer or any other person by this bill to co-operate with such employer or person to enable that the duties and/or requirements is complied with.
  • Carry out a lawful order that is given to them and obey the health and safety rules as well as procedures which are laid down by his or her employer, or anyone authorised thereto by his or her employer, in the interest of health as well as safety.
  • Where a situation is unsafe or unhealthy, and it comes to the attention of the employee, he or she must, as soon as practicable, report such a situation to his or her employer or to the OHS representative in his or her workplace, or a section thereof, who will subsequently report it to the employer.
  • Where he or she is involved in an incident which may affect his or her health, or which has caused an injury to him- or herself, report the incident to his or her employer, or anyone authorised by the employer, or to his or her OHS representative, as soon as reasonably practicable, but no later than the end of the shift during which the incident occurred. This is unless the circumstances are of such a nature that the incident reporting is not possible. In such cases, he or she must report the incident as soon as it is reasonably practicable thereafter.


How SafetyWallet can help employers

SafetyWallet offers employers across all industries a unique, comprehensive subscription that is focused on helping the Industry and Commerce of all industries create a safer and healthier workplace.

The OHS Amendment Bill 2020 works to update the OHS Act to ensure that all duties, definitions, and components are clarified. With the help of SafetyWallet, subscribers can ensure that they transition to the new changes seamlessly, ensuring that they remain compliant.

You can now download the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill from the My Safety Shop. Download Here.

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Posted date: 18th Jul 2021
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