SA organisations flouting act to reduce workplace Covid-19 infections
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Cape Town - The Department of Employment and Labour has found that 40% - or two out of every five - organisations that were inspected were not compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety Act to reduce and eliminate the escalation of Covid-19 infections in workplaces.
The department’s Inspection and Enforcement Service unit conducted inspections in 2789 workplaces throughout the country between April 30 and May 8.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi had ordered all employers to screen workers for symptoms of Covid-19 when they reported for work, or risk being found to be in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Departmental spokesperson Teboho Thejane said on Wednesday: “During the inspections, it was found that 1237 organisations were not compliant, resulting in the issuance of 1463 notices comprised of Contravention Notices, Improvement Notices and Prohibition Notices.”
Thejane said: “Of these inspections, 411 were conducted at government and or state-owned enterprises where the rate of compliance was at 50%.”
Inspector-general Aggy Moiloa said: “Given the fact that the virus is spreading substantially, it is of great concern, especially at those employers where there are long queues or people congregating. This is especially prevalent at government-related workplaces.”
“We are shocked that so many organisations are still struggling to comply with the act. It should be every organisation’s habit,” said Moiloa.
On Monday, the department closed a labour centre in Bellville after an employee tested positive for Covid-19.
The Western Cape Department of Health, closely supported by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), has developed detailed workplace guidelines.
The guidelines touch on infection prevention, advice on what to do in the case of employees becoming infected and additional guidance for specific sectors with regards to infection prevention.