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Government Regulated OHSA Measures for Workplace Return

As a result of the recent legislation employees have to ensure that they are compliant in terms of the OHSA when employees return to work for level 4 of the National Disaster Act. iFacts has developed a simple online questionnaire to ensure employees are legally compliant and can immediately implement the system.

Below we briefly describe the new regulations:

On 28 April 2020 the Minister of Employment and Labour issued a directive to adopt and implement occupational health and safety measures to (reduce and eliminate) the escalation of COVID-19 infections in the workplace.

In short the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the employer to provide & maintain as far as is reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of workers and to take such steps as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate the hazard or potential hazard. This will require a risk assessment to be conducted and symptom screening to be undertaken.

RISK ASSESSMENT
1. Employers of more than 10 employees are required to conduct a risk assessment (outline of risk assessment is detailed below).
2. Employers of more than 500 employees must submit a record of its risk assessment together with a written policy concerning the protection of the health and safety of its employees from COVID-19.
3. If a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19, an employer must inform the Department of Health and the Department of Employment and Labour; and
investigate the cause including any control failure and review ts risk assessment to ensure that the necessary controls and PPE requirements are in place.

SYMPTOM SCREENING
Every employer must take measures to-
1. screen any worker, at the time that they report for work, to ascertain whether they have any of the observable symptoms associated with COVID-19, namely fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes or shortness of breath (or difficulty in breathing);
2. require every worker to report whether they suffer from any of the following additional symptoms: body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness; and
3. require workers to immediately inform the employer if they experience any of the symptoms above
4. if a worker presents with those symptoms, or advises the employer of these symptoms,

the employer must –
1. not permit the worker to enter the workplace or report for work; or
2. if the worker is already at work immediately- isolate the worker, provide the worker with a FFP1 surgical mask and arrange for the worker to be transported in a manner that does not place other workers or members of the public at risk either to be self- isolated or for a medical examination or testing; and
3. assess the risk of transmission, disinfect the area and the worker’s workstation, refer those workers who may be at risk for screening and take any other appropriate measure to prevent possible transmission;
4. ensure that the worker is tested or referred to an identified testing site;
5. place its employee on paid sick leave

 

ANNEXTURE A
SECTORAL GUIDELINES TEMPLATE

1. Risk assessment
1.1. Identification of exposure levels
1.2. Identification of “high contact??? activities
1.3.Identification of vulnerable workers and special measures for their protection, including protection against unfair discrimination or victimization

2. Engineering controls
2.1. Ventilation
2.2. Physical barriers
2.3. Adaptation of workstations to increase social distance

3. Administrative controls
3.1. Screening/ reporting of symptoms/ sick leave
3.2. Minimizing contact
3.3. Rotation and shift work
3.4. Work-at-home strategies
3.5. Communication and information strategies
3.6. Role of health and safety committees and representatives
3.7. Education and training
3.8. Reporting of incidents for regulatory purposes
3.9. Reporting for purposes of public health, contact tracing, screening, testing and surveillance

4. Healthy and safe work practices
4.1. Disinfectants, sanitisers and personal hygiene
4.2. Other

5. PPE
5.1. Masks
5.2. Gloves
5.3. Facial shields
5.4. Other

6. Provision of safe transport for employees
6.1. Personal hygiene
6.2. Social distancing
6.3. Arrangements to minimise exposure associated with commuting 6.4. Cloth masks (if commuter)
6.5. PPE (driver/conductor of employer-provided transport)

 

SMALL BUSINESS REGULATIONS
Employers with less than 10 employees must take the following measures:

1. arrange the workplace to ensure that employees are at least one and half metres apart or, if not practicable, place physical barriers between them to prevent the possible transmission of the virus;
2. ensure that employees that present with the symptoms are not permitted to work;
3. immediately contact the COVID-19 hotline: 0800 02 9999 for instruction and direct the employee to act in accordance with those instructions;
4. provide cloth masks or require an employee to wear some form of cloth covering over their mouth and nose while at work;
5. provide each employee with hand sanitizers, soap and clean water to wash their hands and disinfectants to sanitize their workstations;
6. ensure that each employee while at work washes with soap and sanitizes their hands;
7. ensure that their workstations are disinfected regularly;
8. take any other measures indicated by a risk assessment.

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