The purpose of the Occupational Health and Safety Act no 85 of 1993 is to ensure that workers are provided with a safe and healthy working environment.  To achieve this responsibility is placed on both the employer and the employees to ensure that this safe and healthy environment is achieved and maintained. Both the employer and the employees are responsible to make sure this happens – these are their duties. If the Department of Labour investigates an incident in a workplace they will ensure that both parties have fulfilled their obligations.b7k7zdlz

Section 8.2 – General duties of employers to their employees
Every employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of his employees. This is achieved by:

(a)    Provide and maintain a safe, healthy environment without risk to the employees.
(b)    Take steps to eliminate or reduce any hazard before resorting to the use of PPE.
(c)    Ensure production, processing, use, handling, storage or transport of substances or equipment is safe;
(d)    Identify the hazards performed in the workplace and implement measures to protect the health and safety of employees;
(e)    Provide information, training and supervision as required to ensure employees are healthy and safe in the workplace.
(f)    Not let any employee to do any work or operate any machinery unless the safety measures are taken;
(g)    Take all necessary measures to ensure the requirements of the OHS Act are complied with by every person in his employment or on premises under his control where plant or machinery is used;
(h)    Enforce all measures necessary to ensure health and safety;
(i)    Ensure work is performed and machinery is used under the general supervision of a person trained to understand the hazards associated with it and who have the authority to ensure that precautionary measures taken by the employer are implemented; and
(j)    Ensure all employees are informed regarding the scope of their authority.

Section 14 – General duties of employees at work (Things that the employee must do)
•    take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons affected by his acts;
•    co-operate with the employer to ensure that established duties or requirements are complied with;
•    carry out any lawful order given to him, and obey the health and safety rules and procedures laid down by his employer in the interest of health and safety;
•    report any unsafe and unhealthy situation which comes to the employees’ attention as soon as possible to the health and safety representative for his workplace, who shall report it to the employer; and
•    if the employee is involved in any incident which may affect his health or has caused an injury to himself, report this incident to the employer or to anyone authorized by the employer, or to his health and safety representative, as soon as practicable but not later than the end of the shift during which the incident occurred.
By each of us taking responsibility for health and safety and performing these duties we will work towards a safe and healthy environment where ZERO harm is caused to workers.