Covid 19 Update
In the light of the current lockdown restrictions and the planned relaxation thereof during the coming weeks, there is a requirement for all employers to take heed of the Department of Employment and Labour’s appeal for employers to use the prescriptions of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act of 1993 in governing workplaces in relation to Coronavirus Disease 2019 COVID–19, as published on the COVID 19 Website on 17 march 2020.
The OHS Act, read with the Hazardous Biological Agents Regulations requires the employer to provide and maintain as far as is reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees.
“Section 8(2)(b) requires steps such as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate any hazard or potential hazard before resorting to personal protective equipment (PPE). However, in the case of COVID–19, a combination of controls is required, although the main principle is to follow the hierarchy of controls.”
Before any sector resumes activity, the following conditions must be in place:
- In addition to generally applicable health and safety protocols, each sector must agree upon a COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plan with the Minister of Employment and Labour, the Minister of Health and any other Minister relevant to the sector.
- Individual businesses or workplaces must have COVID-19 risk assessments and plans in place and must conduct worker education on COVID-19 and protection measures.
- Identification and protection of vulnerable employees
- Safe transport of employees
- Screening of employees on entering the workplace
- Prevention of viral spread in the workplace
- Cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment
- Good ventilation
- Managing sick employees
- Monitoring systems must be in place to (1) ensure compliance with safety protocols and (2) identify infections among employees.
Gaudete Consulting is ready and able to assist employers with the following services at this time:
- Providing assistance in respect of facilitation of the updating / conduction of Covid -19 Risk Assessments required to be submitted to relevant authorities to demonstrate each organization’s compliance obligation to applicable legislation.
- Conduction of remote online CPD Accredited Covid 19 Awareness training for employees and management. I have prepared a specific training program for awareness training on Covid – 19.
- Provide assistance with the writing and implementation of a basic Health and Safety plan for those employers who have their employees working from home, but do not have competent OHS staff to do so.