The Department of Labour (DoL) has published the regulations for workplaces returning to work during Level 4 lockdown across South Africa. These guidelines, aimed at preventing the spreading of COVID-19 as economic activity slowly resumes, must be followed across workplaces in all industries.
The Department of Labour, via the South African Government News Agency, has stipulated the following initial regulations to be followed in every workplace:
- Employers must provide each employee, free of charge, with at least two cloth masks to wear while at work or commuting.
- Employees with COVID-19 symptoms must not be at work and employers must grant paid sick leave or apply for COVID-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) benefits.
- Employers must further appoint a manager from within the existing structure to address the concerns of employees and workplace representatives.
- Employers must take measures to minimise the contact between workers and between workers and the public to prevent transmission.
- Employers must minimise the number of workers in the workplace at any time through shift or working arrangements to achieve social distancing.
IN ADDITION TO THESE INITIAL REGULATIONS, EMPLOYERS MUST ALSO PROVIDE WORKERS WITH INFORMATION ON COVID-19 AND HOW TO PREVENT TRANSMISSION.
In line with the Department of Labour’s regulations, the following stipulations must be followed:
WHAT TO DO IF AN EMPLOYEE DISPLAYS COVID-19 SYMPTOMS
EMPLOYERS ARE ALSO REQUIRED TO REPORT ANY DIAGNOSIS OF COVID-19 AT WORK TO THE HEALTH DEPARTMENT AND THE LABOUR DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT AND, INVESTIGATE THE CAUSE, AND TAKE APPROPRIATE MEASURES.
- Workers must be screened upon arrival at work for COVID-19 symptoms.
- Workers with symptoms must be placed in isolation and arrangements made for their safe transport for a medical examination or for self-isolation.
- Employees who recover from COVID-19 may return to work after a medical evaluation and subject to ongoing monitoring, in line with instructions of the Department of Health.
Sanitising and Disinfectants
- Employers are also required toprovide sufficient quantities of hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol content.
- Communal and shared equipment must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
Enforcement by labour inspectors
- In relation to enforcement, labour inspectors are empowered to promote, monitor and enforce compliance with the directives.
- Failure to comply with the directives may result in the closure of contravening businesses.
Investigation and Enforcement Services
- During the lockdown, labour inspectors carried out some 2 226 inspections. This includes public sector premises and 86 health facilities. The rate of compliance by employers has increased from 50% to over 60% over the period of the lockdown.
It is clear that the Department of Labour and the Department of Health will not allow employers resuming operation to flaunt the guidelines they have put in place and all businesses are expected to comply with these regulations. If you are concerned about your workplace’s health and safety procedures or adherence, our expert team at Safety First Safety Always will be happy to get in touch with you via online consultation and advise you on how to best proceed.