Business 101: Preparing your workplace for Covid-19 protocols
By Ben Bierman
THE START of 2021 has coincided with the peak of South Africa’s second wave of Covid-19 infections. The government has called on businesses to continue following all required safety measures and protocols.
Herewith is a simple checklist to ensure compliance in order to avoid a hefty fine or worse:
All businesses are required to develop a Covid-19 plan which outlines measures being taken to meet the standards and national health and safety protocols. Businesses are also required to appoint a Covid-19 compliance officer to oversee the implementation of these measures and ensure that the workplace meets the prescribed health and safety standards.
Businesses must ensure adherence to all protocols set out in the Covid-19 Occupational Health and Safety Directive, as well as applicable sector-specific directives. For example, anyone who enters a workplace must wear a cloth face mask that covers the nose and mouth at all times. Furthermore, regular handwashing and strict employee hygiene measures should be prescribed.
Businesses with more than 100 employees are required to reduce the number of employees at their workplaces by introducing rotations, staggered working hours; shifts and remote working. Businesses are also expected to practice social distancing through ensuring that the distance between implements such as desks or machines meets the required social distancing guidelines.
Businesses are required to outline special measures for employees who are 60 years and older as well as for those with co-morbidities. Wherever possible, vulnerable employees should work from home.
While some businesses have been allowed to continue trading under the level three extension, there is still a curfew and alcohol ban in place. The curfew runs between 21h00 and 05h00, which means all employees need to leave work with enough time to be home by 21h00.
Non-compliance with the regulations is a criminal offence and can be investigated by the police.
Ben Bierman is a managing director at Business Partners Limited