Today's Labour News

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southafricalogoEngineering News reports that the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) has appealed to employers to use the prescriptions of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act in governing workplaces in relation to the Covid-19 virus.  

The OHS, read with the Hazardous Biological Agents Regulations, requires the employer to provide and maintain as far as is reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of employees.  The DEL has developed a Covid-19 guideline, based on traditional infection prevention and occupational hygiene practices.  It focuses on the need for employers to implement several controls.  Firstly, engineering controls, which entail isolating employees from work-related hazards, installing high-efficiency air filters, increasing ventilation rates in the work environment and installing physical barriers such as face shields to provide ventilation.  Secondly, administrative controls, for example, encouraging sick workers to stay at home.  Thirdly, implementing safe work practices, which include procedures for safe and proper work used to reduce the duration, frequency or intensity of exposure to a hazard.  Fourthly, there is PPE. The department said that while engineering and administrative controls are considered more effective in minimising exposure to the virus, PPE may also be needed to prevent certain exposures.

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