Department of Labour urges employers to comply with Health and Safety Law

Department of Labour has threatened to come down hard on employers failing to comply Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) laws, an inspectors’ conference was told in Cape Town yesterday.

Tibor Szana, Director: Civil and Explosives in the department, was speaking on the implications of the forthcoming legislative amendments that are meant to improve the work of inspectors in ensuring compliance with the law.

“We all have to understand that the ultimate responsibility for OHS lies with the employer. No amount of inspection will make the place safer unless the employer comes to the party.

“Health and Safety is a continuous activity not an event. This is not a rocket science and should be second nature to employers’.

He said employers are expected to do an about turn on OHS.” Those employers who continue to do the same thing should not expect to get the same results from labour inspector.

Those employers who do not listen could soon find themselves on the rocks.  We therefore urge employers to not play with worker’s lives”, Szana said.

Sam Morotoba, Deputy- Director General Public Employment Services (PES) said with the ever increasing influx of foreign nationals in the country, the scope of the inspectors is going to expand because Home Affairs will increasingly ask the Department of Labour to consider giving those people work permits.

He also said fines that could be imposed by the labour court include instances where the employer is:-

  • Requiring or permitting a foreign national to perform work for which such foreign national is not authorized to perform in terms of his or her work permit;
  • Failing to display a certificate of registration in a conspicuous place on the premises of a private employment agency;
  • Retaining a work seeker’s original identity card or qualifications;
  • Charging a fee to any individual work-seeker for employment services, unless such is provided for by notice in the Gazette;
  • Deducting any amount from an employee’s remuneration in respect of the placing of that employee in employment;
  • Requiring or permitting an employee to pay any amount in respect of the placement of that employee;
  • Failing to keep up-to-date records

Nkosinathi Nhleko, Director General of the department said “The amendment to our pieces of legislation such as Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Labour Relations Act and the Employment Equity Act are also based on our reflection into the practicality of implementation. As we reflect as social partners we are able to identify areas of challenges in the implementation of the legislation and agree on the amendments which are required to be in place with a view to ease service delivery and compliance.

Media Statement: Department of Labour: 11 September 2013

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