BUSINESS NEWS - Occupational health and safety compliance, more commonly known as OHS compliance, refers to all businesses and operations in Graaff-Reinet complying to legal requirements. These are stipulated in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) 85 of 1993.
Should all businesses operating in Graaff-Reinet ensure OHS compliance, it would mean the employers’ risks, which are associated with legal liability, are minimised and that the employers are protected.
To ensure a healthy and safe working environment, employers must adopt an effective health and safety programme, and to ensure that it is maintained, employers can conduct internal audits or have SafetyWallet conduct a health and safety compliance audit once an employer becomes a SafetyWallet subscriber.
The SafetyWallet Health and Safety Compliance Audit adopts a ‘parent-child’ concept that indicates a relationship structured in the form of a tree. Here, questions are linked to an overriding question relating to the OHS Act and Section 8(1), which asks whether the employer provides a safe and healthy work environment for all employees.
To ensure overall health and safety in the workplace, it must be divided into sections, and each of these must be audited, inspected and checked to ensure consistent compliance.
For this reason, the SafetyWallet Health and Safety Compliance Audit consists of certain elements, each with its own set of questions or ‘children’ which will revert back to the overall ‘parent’ question regarding whether the employer provides an adequate work environment.
1. Risk assessment
On the risk assessment tab, several OHS compliance audit questions are indicated. New questions are also featured that have been introduced to break down Section 8(2)(d) of the OHS Act.
This element is regarded the ‘parent’ question to other questions, with such questions reverting back to those under the Risk Assessment element.
Areas covered in this section pertain to general risk assessment details, hazardous chemical substances, lead, asbestos, hazardous biological agents and major hazard installations and construction.
2. Contractor and supplier management
The contractor and supplier management segment covers the management of health and safety for all contractors, suppliers and visitors to the site. General administration requirements are also featured, with a breakdown of the Permit to Work.
3. Organisation and structure
This segment covers organisation and structures, policies, health and safety appointments, health and safety committees, health and safety representatives, procedures and general health and safety duties of interested parties.
4. General requirements and communication
This includes general requirements and communication with the Department of Labour. It also consists of registration with COIDA and Return of Earnings requirements of the business, and all other interactions with the Department of Labour.
5. Emergency preparedness
This involves the provision of an emergency evacuation, access for fire services, fire equipment, emergency evacuation plans, fire precautions, and first aid treatment, amongst several others.
6. Building and infrastructure
This includes all buildings and structures that the organisation occupies and uses. It includes electrical aspects and the facilities available, thatching and others. Aspects relating to housekeeping, air quality, ergonomics, noise and temperature within the buildings and structures are also considered.
7. Machinery and equipment
This covers a broad spectrum, including electrical, driven and general machinery found in the workplace. It also covers supervision of machinery, machinery in hazardous places, machinery types found in the workplace and the use of lifting machinery.
Other aspects covered include using lifts, passenger conveyors, cranes, mixing plants on construction sites and heavy vehicles and mobile plants on construction sites.
8. Chemicals and biologicals
This covers the exposure of employees to hazardous chemicals, lead, asbestos and hazardous biological agents. This section covers the duties of employees, the control of exposure and the correct, safe use and disposal of such substances.
Flammable substances are also included as a separate section, covered by main by-laws.
9. Health and safety training
This element includes both mandatory and crucial health and safety training aspects. Requirements regarding induction training and training which may be required in certain situations, are also included.
10. Personal protective equipment
This element includes the provision and the use of personal protective equipment in a variety of working environments along with the safe use and disposal thereof.
11. Surveys and medical surveillance
This includes surveys conducted in the workplace associated with hazardous chemicals, lead, asbestos and hazardous biological agents, surveys of illumination, ventilation and noise, and medical surveillance.
12. Health and safety inspections
This element includes general aspects associated with inspections conducted in the workplace including facilities, buildings and use of machinery. It also covers specific health and safety inspections, linked to inspection checklists in occupational health and safety.
Inspections on pressure equipment, lifts and passenger conveyances are also covered.
13. Working at height
This element includes general requirements for working at height, with rope access work, suspended platforms, material hoists and several others.
14. Construction site work
This includes the duties of the client, designers, principal contractors and contractors split into their individual aspects. Other construction work covered includes management of sites, electrical installations on-site, on-site housekeeping, excavations and demolition work.
15. Management system
This element is yet to be reviewed and will be covered as the ISO 45001 standard is incorporated.
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