Labour Minister outlines regulations for businesses to follow

Labour Minister outlines regulations for businesses to follow

The onus is on employers to ensure that the appropriate health and safety measures are taken in the workplace, says Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi. 

Thulas Nxesi on level 4 regulations

More than 1.5 million people across the country are set to work today - as more industries reopen under level four of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Nxesi says it's the responsibility of employers to protect their staff. 

"Employers must take measures to protect the health and safety of everyone in their workplace. This includes employees of contractors, self-employed persons and volunteers. The process starts with a risk assessment on the workplace and a clear plan to implement the measures contained in the direction."

Addressing the country on the back-to-work readiness plan in Pretoria yesterday, Nxesi says it will not be business as usual. 

He says an existing manager must be appointed to deal with staff members' safety concerns. 

"They must take measures to minimise the contact between workers and the public to prevent transmission. They must minimise the number of workers in the workplace at any time through shift or working arrangements to achieve social distancing."

Employees with COVID-19 symptoms must take sick leave and not report for duty. 

"The employer must report any diagnosis of COVID-19 at work to the Department of Health and the Department of Employment and Labour, investigate the cause, and take appropriate measures."

Nxesi says social distancing rules must be adhered to at all times and if need be, barriers can be put up. 

"Workers must be supplied free of charge with the appropriate personal protective equipment. In relation to screening, employers must screen workers for symptoms of COVID-19 at the time that they report for work."

Nxesi says employees need to do their bit.

"They have to wash or sanitise their hands and wear the PPEs provided. They must keep their work stations clean and follow directions in relations to health and safety. This is in everyone's interest."

Businesses flouting lockdown level four rules will find themselves in hot water. 

"Any employer who does not comply with the direction may be ordered to close their business. In addition, as the failure to comply fully with the OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) is a criminal offence, failure to take the necessary measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 may result in criminal prosecution."

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