The Purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2020

The purpose of this document is to inform every Employer of the changes proposed in the OHS ACT and how it affects the liability of the employer. The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill, also commonly referred to as the OHSA Bill, was tabled for the first initial reading in Parliament by the Minister of Employment and Labour on November 2, 2020.

Once introduced, there will be significant amendments made to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994, or OHSA 1994. Changes to be made by the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2020, also referred to as the OHSA Bill, are extensive but it should not come as a surprise to health and safety professionals.

A detailed  FREE eBook containing all the changes brought on by the OHS Amendment Bill 2020, click here to download your eBook.

The theme surrounding the changes that are being made typically focus on ‘tying loose ends’ that exist and will result in clarification of processes, polishing the Act, and clearing uncertainties to reflect inclusivity.

With changes that will take effect, there is a large focus on the application of processes such as the safety management system, rather than a simple reference made to policies.


What are the main changes to the Bill?

  • The clarification and addition of terminology along with definitions. For example, hazardous substances, risk assessments, and several others.
  • Inclusions and improved description of role players who were previously ‘overlooked’ such as volunteers and rental agencies.
  • Previously ‘overlooked’ items such as leased products, amidst several others, are included.
  • There is a shift towards gender-inclusive and neutral terminology including the chairperson, himself, herself, his, and her.
  • Accountability is reinforced alongside responsibilities such as that of the CEO, duties of health and safety representatives, and health and safety committees.
  • Stakeholders have been added including SANAS, advisory forums, and several others.
  • General ethical businesses have been included, described, and reinforced in terms of a role player and stakeholder conduct.
  • Linked legislation, jurisdiction, and liability has been updated.

With the amendments, the employer is expected to develop an adequate policy. However, the bill specifically refers to consistent monitoring alongside reporting and improvement which will be necessary for the implementation of an effective safety system.

This will ensure that all industries and workplaces are aligned with current, relevant international standards associated with the discipline involved in Occupational Health and Safety.

Where will this Act not apply?

While this Act will apply across a broad spectrum of industries, it will not apply to the following:

  • A mine, mining area, or works which are defined in the Mines Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act 29 of 1996) except where provision is made otherwise.
  • Any load line ship, which includes a ship that holds a line exemption certificate, fishing boats, sealing and whaling boats, defined in Section 2 (1) of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1951 (Act 57 of 1951), floating cranes whether or not such a ship, boat, or crane is in or out of the water within a harbour in the Republic, or within the territorial waters thereof, or in respect of any person who is present on or in such a mine, mining area, works, ship, boat, or crane.
  • Aircraft as indicated in Section 2 of the Civil Aviation Act, 2009 (Act 13 of 2009).
  • Any nuclear installation as per the Nuclear Act, 1993 (Act 131 of 1993).

How does SafetyWallet support its subscribers with changes such as these?


SafetyWallet is committed towards ensuring that its subscribers are supported in every facet of changes that will take effect in the workplace. With the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2020 taking effect, it is imperative for these changes to be communicated thoroughly across all industries in South Africa.

SafetyWallet, in partnership with MAKROSAFE and OHS Online, supports employers across all industries in the following components relating to Health and Safety in Industry and Commerce:

SafetyWallet provides its subscribers with the necessary tools and information to ensure that the Occupational Health and Safety Systems and Plan implemented remain current.

Therefore, subscribers will be aided by SafetyWallet in this transition period as the necessary changes take place, ensuring that all employers remain compliant with OHSA and all other relevant regulations, laws, by-laws, and standards, whether locally or nationally.

For more information on the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill, and what SafetyWallet can do for your business, click here.



Posted date: 28th Jun 2021
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