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Labour department to introduce hefty fines

The labour department intends beefing up the training of inspectors and introducing more stringent fines to ensure compliance with labour laws, an official said on Friday.

“If we come to a place and we realise there is an immediate danger to life and limb, we will shut up (sic) the operations until (the) areas of concern have been corrected,” said Tibor Szana, the department's director of occupational health and safety.

He was speaking at a forestry seminar in White River, Mpumalanga, on Friday.

In a statement, he said upping the penalties could send a stronger message to people who break the law.

The highest fine paid recently was R12,000 in the forestry and agricultural sector.

Others received smaller fines after court cases and inspections.

Szana was pleased that more court cases were being won, saying it attested “to the thoroughness” with which labour inspectors executed their job.

The department said the training would help ensure cases do not “fall within the cracks”.

Szana reminded workers about the importance of health and safety in the workplace, and their role in the process.

He said workers should report any unsafe act or condition to their employer immediately to avert disaster. - Sapa

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