The Occupational Health and Safety Act: Is Your Business Compliant?
As an employer, your contract with your employees extends beyond the agreement of compensating them fairly in exchange for the service they deliver within your business. It also includes your commitment to ensuring their occupational health and safety while on your premises and under your employment. More than that, your responsibility also includes the management of the impact your business has on your community.
What is Occupational Health and Safety?
This refers to the protection and safeguarding of your employees from any potential risks, hazards, incidents, or fatalities that may occur as a result of dangerous, negligent, or hazardous events or environments in the workplace. It is your responsibility as an employer to ensure that your organisation is compliant to the official regulations as stipulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993.
Why Compliance Is Important
The main objective of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993 and similar regulations are to protect the health and safety of your employees against risks posed by workplacehazards. Various industries and vocations expose employees to certain physical and/or psychological risks, which can be damaging or even life-threatening if not managed and if precautions and a contingency plan do not exist.
How Compliance Is Determined
The rules and regulations safeguarding employees in the workplace are very clear and specific, and should not be considered open for interpretation depending on budget and convenience. Therefore, measuring compliance is also a very exact exercise. The level of compliance of a business or organisation is determined via an audit. This should be done by a qualified professional who is authorised and certified to do so. These certifications can include the following, depending on the category being audited:
- Approved Inspection Authority: This is issued by the Department of Labour.
- Occupational Hygienist: They are recognised by the SA Institute for Occupational Hygiene.
- Occupational Inspection at Workplaces: These are accredited by the SA National Accreditation System.
If such an audit finds that you are non-compliant, an auditor will also recommend the necessary action to ensure compliance.
What Non-Compliance Means
The immediate threat is to the wellbeing of your employees. Non-compliance can lead to illness, injury, trauma, or even fatalities. Non-compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act can also expose you and/or your business or organisation to:
- Fines or penalties
- Compensatory damages
- Loss of productivity
- Reputational damage
How to Ensure You Are Compliant
It is advised that an occupational health and safety audit is conducted annually, or at the very least once every two years to ensure compliance. Founded in 2003, IOH Solutions is a registered and approved Inspection Authority and a certified provider of the necessary audit services. Our skilled team is able to assist you with assessments, tests, and recommendations as well as the necessary documentation to manage risks and verify compliance. Our focus is to provide a comprehensive, top-quality one-stop service with innovative, cost-effective solutions to comply with local, national, and international standards and legislation. To find out more about the services we offer, and to request quotes, contact our team right away.