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DEL Shines Light on Occupational Health and Safety

July 26, 2019

Department of Employment and Labour

26 July 2019

The employment and labour minister, Thulas Nxesi, seeks collaboration between his department and social partners to achieve “Vision Zero” – a workplace free of accidents and diseases.

The minister made this call at the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Conference in Johannesburg.

He added that the “promotion of legislation and regulation of Occupational Health and Safety – and implementation through inspection and enforcement – in collaboration with the social partners” was a priority task for the department.

The minister also indicated that a review of the OHS Act and the mode of implementation was an ongoing consideration.

Issues that needed to be addressed include increasing compliance gaps between the formal sector, SMMEs and informal sector; the impact of inspectors at a local level; the need for a fully-functioning national case management system and the future of work and the impact of technology.

The minister emphasized that OHS policies and the Inspectorate need to keep abreast of technological developments.

He pointed out that the goal of “Vision Zero” includes putting a trained health and safety officer in every workplace.

In a statement, the department’s director-general, Thobile Lamati, indicated that the amended OHS Bill will be prescriptive.

“He also said in the amended OHS Bill for the first time workers would refuse to work in dangerous work environments.”

Cabinet approved a Draft OHS Bill for public consultation in 2018. So far, the proposed legislation has not been released for comment.