The month of May is especially observed to celebrate the labour force in South Africa. As much as workers contribute to the economic growth of our country, many workers are still faced with discrimination, inequality, and unfairness in the workplace.
This is why trade unions exist as they play a significant role in South Africa’s labour force .They protect workers’ rights in the place and fight for workers’ to work in safe and healthy work environments. In today’s blog, UASA shares insight on the significance of the Occupational health and safety act (OHSA) in the workplace, a right that most workers are not well aware of.
What is Occupational Health and Safety?
The goal of the OHS Act is to provide for the health and safety of employees. It also has the objective of providing for the health and safety of all persons (not only employees but also members of the public). OHSA also seeks to protect persons other than employees, against hazards to health and safety arising out of work.
- Provide and maintain systems of work, plant, and machinery that are safe and without risks to health.
- Safe steps to eliminate or lessen hazards, before resorting to personal protective clothing (PPC).
- Ensure safety and health in connection with the use of articles or substances at work.
- Establish the hazards associated with any work, article, substance, plant or machinery, establish appropriate precautionary measures, provide the means to apply such measures and prohibit an employee from performing his or her work unless precautionary measures have been taken.
Duties of a health and safety representative:
- Review the effectiveness of health and safety measures.
- Identify potential hazards and potential major incidents at the workplace.
- In collaboration with his employer, examine the causes of incidents at the workplace.
- Investigate complaints by any employee relating to that employee’s health or safety at work.
- Make representations to the employer on general matters affecting the health or safety of the employees at the workplace.
- Participate in consultations with inspectors at the workplace and accompany inspectors of inspections of the workplace.
It is important for employees to make sure that OHSA Regulations applicable in their workplace are observed and followed accordingly. UASA-The Union encourages workers to strictly observe safety and health regulations in their workplaces to protect themselves against the spread of Covid-19. Remember to wear your face masks at all times, wash and sanitize your hands and practice social distance. It is our responsibility to stop the spread of Covid-19.