As per the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993, the employer is legally bound to provide and maintain, as far as reasonably practicable, a working environment which is safe and without risk to the health and safety of workers.
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The office environment may not comprise of a lot of manual labour as that which can be found in other industries. However, this does not mean that office health and safety is not important, as there are still injuries which can occur, which the employer can be liable for should there be non-compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
What are office health and safety hazards and risks? Simply defined, an office hazard is any aspect in an office which may cause health and safety risks and that has the potential to harm. A risk is the likelihood, or chance that an incident will occur.
Step-by-step guide to build a Health and Safety Site File
Without a health and safety file, contractors working on sites in South Africa face severe criminal offenses along with numerous costly liabilities which result from damages as well as hazards on work sites.
Many companies may not know what to include in their health and safety files, and for this reason it is crucial to provide a step-by-step guide to build a health and safety site file.
Safety files, as they are also known more commonly, contain records of data which is developed by project supervisors specifically for end-users with close adherence where health and well-being standards are concerned.
The safety file severs numerous functions, with one being a source of health and safety references for peer contractors as well as workers who must conduct repairs, maintenance, and demolitions.
This document, or record, protects employers from any type of liability which results from criminal offenses apart from proving compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations.
It may be a common misconception that health and safety is only paramount in workplaces where there is interaction with manual labour and heavy machinery and not an office.
However, office health and safety are as crucial as in any other workplace, in addition to being dictated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which holds employers responsible for health and safety of employees, contractors and visitors to the premises.
South Africa Education Departments Health and Safety requirements for schools
Health and Safety in schools is a factor which is taken extremely seriously by the Department of Basic Education. It is also an apex priority of the department and as result of this, there are various policies as well as measures which have been put in place to ensure the safety of all learners, educators, and relevant stakeholders in schools.
Requirements as indicated by the Department of Education
The Department has reiterated that there is no tolerance towards violence, drug-use and/or abuse, sexual harassment, and any other acts considered criminal, in schools as it poses a substantial barrier to learning.
There is a significant focus on the inculcation of values as well as ethics along with a just and caring society within both schools and communities. The Department views any non-compliance in a serious light as such actions carry the potential of depriving learners of an inherent constitutional right to life, education, equality as well as dignity.
There are numerous interventions which specifically focus on addressing the elements associated with physical infrastructure which includes adequate fencing, alarm systems, and burglar proofing.
It also includes resilience-building programmes for young people as well as the strengthening of partnership with various stakeholders.
There is a solid partnership between the Department and the South African Police Service (SAPS) which focuses on joining schools with local police-stations as well as the establishment of functional School Safety Committees.
Schools are considered critical in the instilling of discipline and ensuring safety. It is for this reason that there is an emphasis on the Codes of Conduct for Learners at all public schools.
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The reasons for managing health and safety in primary schools is associated with moral, legal, and ethical reasons. Hazards and risks are present in schools as much as they are in any other workplace or industry.
Managing Health and Safety In Schools and Colleges.
Why is Health and Safety in Schools important?
Health and safety in schools and colleges in an imperative factor. Ensuring that pupils and student safety is an imperative part of ethical framework for decades. As with other public services, schools as well as colleges are obliged to adapt to periods where considerable changes are occurring.
They are also forced to continuously meet existing as well as new challenges. These challenges faced are often associated with new structures, accountabilities, additional concerns from parents, the public, and political circles in addition to concerns with excessive risk aversion.
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It is imperative for auditors to be qualified and certified as such, making it necessary to overview and explore the auditor criteria with regards to Occupational Health and Safety, specifically where SafetyWallet auditors are concerned. SafetyWallet is proud to say that they are registered as a corporate member and that SafetyWallet audits and support team is registered in their personal capacity as members with the South African Institute of Occupational Health and Safety (Saiosh)