Occupational health and safety compliance
How can you move closer to achieving Occupational Health and Safety Compliance?
Health and Safety Audits:
Health and Safety Audits are the true metric to determine where your organisation stands in terms of compliance to health and safety legislation. Conducting annual or period audits in this regard will provide you with the information required to build on and improve your health and safety program.
First Aid Training
First Aid is the immediate assistance rendered to an injured or ill individual. Equipping yourself with First Aid knowledge empowers you to provide swift and effective emergency care until professional help arrives. This training is invaluable, ensuring safety, pain relief, and the prevention of adverse situations while enhancing your company's Health and Safety compliance.
Fire and Safety Training
Governments and corporations worldwide prioritize Fire and Safety Training in their workplace Health and Safety initiatives. Our comprehensive Firefighting course equips you to:
Identify various types of fires.
Implement fire prevention measures.
Operate essential firefighting equipment.
Execute fundamental firefighting procedures.
Management and Employee Responsibilities
In the realm of Health and Safety, responsibility is shared between management and employees. While certain tasks can be delegated, ultimate accountability rests with superiors to ensure correct and secure execution.
Health and Safety Representatives
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 emphasizes the significance of Health and Safety Representatives. These dedicated individuals inspect workplaces, accompany investigators during accident inquiries, and expedite injury reporting, contributing to enhanced workplace safety.
Induction training acquaints new employees and contractors with their work environment, fellow colleagues, and the organization's mission. It provides essential insights into their roles and responsibilities.
Employees engaging in high-risk tasks should undergo risk-related training. This instruction is vital in preventing injuries or fatalities during hazardous work.
Injury on Duty (IOD) Management
Managing injuries on duty requires meticulous administrative follow-up to reduce further harm and comply with relevant legislation. Understanding the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act, No 61 of 1997, and the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 is crucial.
Regular workplace inspections are integral to prevention efforts. They identify potential hazards, assess the effectiveness of existing controls, and recommend corrective measures.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
PPE is a crucial line of defense against workplace hazards. While essential, it should complement, not replace, comprehensive Health and Safety measures. Proper selection and maintenance of PPE are vital for injury prevention.
Occupational Hygiene Surveys
Conducting occupational hygiene surveys minimizes workplace health risks by addressing hazards proactively. Complying with Health and Safety Legislation mandates these compulsory surveys for overall compliance.
Machine safeguarding ensures machinery poses no danger to individuals. Proper enclosure and secure premises access are crucial to reduce risks and injuries associated with machinery.
Information boards keep employees informed about Health and Safety updates in their departments and workplaces. Enhancing awareness reduces workplace risks and fosters a safer environment.
Toolbox talks are informal discussions focusing on specific safety issues within the workplace. They promote safety awareness, introduce new rules and equipment, and encourage shared experiences and insights.
Health and Safety Committee Meetings
Health and Safety committees facilitate communication between employers and employees. Regular meetings lead to collaborative policy development and improved workplace Health and Safety outcomes.
Employers must make specific legal appointments in line with the OHS Act. Appointment letters should outline responsibilities clearly, ensuring qualified individuals assume their roles.
Safe Operating Procedures (SOP)
SOPs outline the safest and most efficient ways to perform tasks. They address hazards, risk scores, required PPE, and step-by-step procedures. Regular reviews and employee training ensure safe work practices.
Health and Safety Policy
A Health and Safety Policy is a commitment to workplace Health and Safety principles. Regular policy reviews demonstrate ongoing management dedication to safety.
Risk Assessment and Control Measures
Risk assessments identify hazards, evaluate associated risks, and determine control measures. Regular assessments, conducted by trained Risk Assessors, are fundamental to OHS Act compliance and employee safety.
What is the definition and meaning of OHS Compliance?
Occupational Health and Safety Compliance, also known as OHS Compliance, is a standard involving compliance to all the required legal standards as they are stipulated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.
These standards serve the purpose of safeguarding and protecting employees in the workplace from any hazards, risks, incidents or fatalities, or the possibility thereof. It also indicates how machinery and equipment must be used safely to prevent injury.
In addition, the act also protects co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and any other person who could be affected by the workplace environment provided by the employer.
Any non-compliance with OHSA is punishable by law. It could also result in the loss of productivity, court lawsuit cases and/or the loss of lives.
It is therefore the legal duty of all employers despite their company’s industry, sector, size, location, or nature of business, to ensure the health and safety of all employees in the workplace.
The level of compliance in any workplace can be determined by conducting a health and safety audit. These audits are conducted by health and safety professionals, or auditors, who possess the skills and knowledge of the Act.
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Where does OHS Compliance come from?
To understand Health and Safety Compliance, it is imperative to understand where the Occupational Health and Safety Act originated from.
The first social insurance legislation was inaugurated by Otto von Bismarck. It was the first worker’s compensation law, introduced in 1884, and serves as the first of its kind in the Western world, with similar acts followed in other countries, partly in response to labour unrest.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act was modeled after the British Factory Act. It was important and highlighted prohibitions on the work activities of children as well as women, suggesting work hour restrictions for all employees.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act, specifically, is a statutory law in South Africa that is administered by the Department of Employment and Labour. Its full title is the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.
It is amended by the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act, No. 181 of 1993 as well as the Labour Relations Act, No. 66 of 1995. There are several regulations under the act which are in force, with the English version of the act having been signed by the president in June 1993.
OHSA, as it is also more commonly referred to, supersedes, and repeals the Machinery and Occupational Safety Act, 1983, the Machinery and Occupational Safety Amendment Act, 1989, and the Machinery and Occupational Safety Amendment Act of 1991.
Is OHS a grudge purchase by employers?
There are adverse financial implications that companies may be exposed to should they fail to adhere to best practices. It can also lead to serious injuries and even death when there is a lack of compliance with regulations, procedures, policies, and standards.
Employers have, in more recent years, become more aware of the dangers that inadequate safety measures pose to the health and safety of employees, and the bottom line of the company.
Despite this, employers often lament high costs incurred with the lamentation of safety regulations in the workplace. There are those who exclude a comprehensive safety plan altogether, or they opt for unscrupulous suppliers.
OHS Compliance Officers
The health and safety of each worker are paramount to ensure continuous operations in any industry. Each industry type has its own guidelines and to ensure that there is continuous Health and Safety Compliance, it requires competent people to guard and implement the rules for the benefit of the employees and the company.
They go by many names including Occupational Health Officers, Occupational Hazard Specialists, Safety Officers, Inspectors, and Occupational Health and Safety Specialists.
They are hired to supervise the health and safety of worksites including, but not limited to, offices, mining operations, construction sites, plants, factories, and numerous others.
They are responsible to make sure that sites are strictly abiding by the quality and safety standards set by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
These officers are tasked with many duties, including conducting audits and inspections, scrutinizing cases where injuries, incidents, and deaths have occurred, analysing health issues and grievances, establishing safety programs, and more.
These officers go through various courses and training to obtain specific qualifications, arming them with the skills and knowledge that they need to ensure OHS Compliance in the workplace.
Health and Safety (OHS) Manager
Health and Safety Compliance officers are there to supervise and ensure that the workplace remains healthy and safe for workers and visitors. There may be a few OHSA officers appointed, depending on the size of the company and the various sites on which it operates.
A Health and Safety Manager, or HSE Manager, is an employee of the company who is qualified, competent, and responsible for the preparation, execution, and continuous and consistent improvement of the Safety Management Systems within an organisation.
The individual is considered the prime mover of all issues relating to safety within the organisation.
Their major function is to ensure that the workplace remains safe and this is done through careful planning and execution of safety practices through preventative measures, training and education of employees, as is required by the law, compliance, and best practices in the industry.
What benefits does OHS Compliance hold for employers?
There are countless benefits contained in ensuring HSE compliance in the workplace, including, but not limited to:
- Improved health and safety performance.
- Reduced costs associated with accidents and incidents.
- Improved staff relations as well as morale.
- Increased business efficiency as well as an improved public image and PR.
- Lower insurance premiums and easier access to financing.
- Increased regulatory compliance and improved confidence.
- A substantial boost to corporate as well as social responsibility.
What benefits do a Health and Safety Compliance Certificate have?
Firstly, an OHS Compliance certificate is obtained when an employer is found to be health, safety, and environmentally safe. As soon as an OHS Compliance audit has been conducted by a SafetyWallet auditor, and all are found in order, the employer is issued a compliance certificate.
This serves as proof that the employer provides a workplace in which the health and safety of workers and visitors to the site are taken care of. There are numerous benefits to obtaining such a certificate, and it links directly back to the benefits of being OHS compliant.
Why does an employer need an OHS Compliance certificate?
The OHS Compliance certificate proves that they are legally compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and that an audit has been done to confirm this. It is imperative to build confidence in workers and in the interest of the business itself for future ventures.
The OHS Compliance Policy
An health and safety compliance policy can be described simply as a plan of action that is concerned with the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of employees.
These policies are designed to protect workers from hazardous work environments by ensuring clean work areas, the use of protective equipment, safeguarding of machinery, training of employees, and more.
These policies are based on the Occupational Health and Safety Act and they require that employers provide employees with a safe working environment. Compliance with policies is ensured by conducting routine inspections and frequent audits.
They require that employers maintain certain standards in workplaces and violations of these are often punished by fines, and in worst cases, the filing of criminal charges.
A lot of employers may find that in introducing new HSE compliance policies there may be controversy, with employers concerned with the cost of complying with regulations outweighing their benefits. However, studies have found that companies and employers who follow policies benefit greatly from lower labour costs and fewer complaints associated with workman compensation.
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