Occupational Health & Safety

SCOPE OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY FUNCTION

The Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993 provides for measures to promote health and safety of workers at the workplace To comply with the conditions relating to the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 regarding the issue and control of safety equipment/protective clothing as well as to compile a policy on the issue and control of other clothing and uniforms which is not legally compulsory.

The Act affects the relationship between all employers and their employees. The term relationship applies not only to industry but also to domestic workers, housekeepers, part time workers, casual workers and gardeners etc. The Department of Labour (DoL) administers the OHSA, at it’s become known. Inspectors from the DoL enforce the OHSA and have wide and far – reaching powers. This means that at any time an inspector from DoL may enter an employer’s premises, and carry out an inspection regarding compliance of legally required documentation and operations. They look for compliance transgressions to the OHSA and its regulations. They are empowered to institute legal proceedings against employers and employees who don’t comply with the legal requirements of the OHSA and its regulations. The Act empowers the DoL to impose heavy fines on employers who fail to comply with the provisions of the OHSA.

However, the main objective and intent of the OHSA is to reduce accidents and injuries in the work place. All employers and employees need to understand how the OHSA legislation affects them and must make it their business to read and understand the OHSA and comply with its legal requirements and regulations

OBJECTIVES

  • To protect staff from injuries and to protect the public who visit the workplace from injuries and diseases.
  • To improve staff morale.
  • To reduce staff absenteeism.
  • To add value to the health and longevity of staff
  • To provide support to staff.

INJURY ON DUTY

If an employee is injured while executing his or her duty, such an injury will be reported to his supervisor, who shall evaluate the injury, and if deemed necessary, refer the injured employee to the physician.

The supervisor of the injured employee shall take responsibility to ensure that the incident is reported to the Compensation fund, through the Employee Assistant Practitioner in terms of Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act as well as to the Municipal Risk Services Provider.

If the injury becomes fatal while on the municipal premises, the case shall be reported to the SAPS.

The employee shall be on paid sick leave while incapacitated due to Occupational Sick leave.

PREVENTATIVE MEASURES

Protective Clothing

The municipality shall take responsibility for provision of safety clothing to employees working in potentially unsafe conditions.

Employees shall wear protective clothing during the execution of the tasks at all times.

Vaccinations

The municipality shall take responsibility to ensure that employees working in waste water and purification plants, are vaccinated periodically through the office of the Occupational Health Specialist.

EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

The Municipality provides an Employee Assistance Programme, which is a confidential assistance/advisory service, designed to assist employees in dealing with their problems. Such problems may include, but are not limited to, personal/psychological, marital, substance dependency or work related problems. The programme is further aimed at assisting Management to improve or restore impaired work performance.

The municipality shall arrange the Employee Assistance Program to be accessed by staff, including but not limited to a referral system to an external professional EAP Practitioner.

The municipality shall keep the records of employee assistance programs confidential, and may not be used during disciplinary processes.

Participation in this programme is voluntary and utilization of the programme will not jeopardize the employee’s advancement opportunities.

The programme attempts to restore or improve employee well being and/or job performance to acceptable levels with minimal interference in the private lives of individuals. Line Management does not usually have the qualifications or expertise to diagnose the nature of employees’ personal problems or to counsel them on these problems. Referral to the Employee Assistance Programme Co-ordinator for assistance will therefore be made on the basis of job performance and/or employee well being.

Uthukela Municipality will provide Supervisory, Managerial and Co-ordinator Training in respect of the objectives, benefits and procedures involved in this program.

Participation in the Employee Assistance Programme does NOT replace standard disciplinary/incapacity procedures, nor does it constitute exemption from such procedures. As such it should be interpreted in terms of the existing Conditions of Service.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

The use and misuse of drugs, both legal and illegal, while on duty, on Municipality premises and while running or attending to Municipality affairs is prohibited. The Municipality specifically prohibits the use, possession, distribution or sale of drugs and alcohol on its premises and while conducting Municipality affairs. Furthermore, no employee may conduct Municipality affairs while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If an employee is found intoxicated during working hours, disciplinary procedures shall be followed.