The amendments to the OHSAct 1993 is soon to reach the National Assembly(NA).
In a notice published in the Government Gazette on 14 May 2021 the Minister of Employment and Labour made the announcement of its introduction to the NA.
The Act is called the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act, 2019, and will commence on a date determined by the State President.
Earlier reports in March 2021 indicated the Bill to be released for public comments. It now appears the Bill is going back for a first reading, as the previous Bill has lapsed.
There are some interesting amendments, and a complete working manual will be released over the next 12 months.
WorkSafe’ STEPSS program has also been developed specifically with the new amendments in view.
Some of the key changes is the introduction of:
- Sector Advisory Forums to assist the Chief Inspector
- A Risk Management Plan that it is people-focused.
- A Health and Safety Management System to replace the OHS policy
- Additional “teeth” for H&S Representatives and Unions
Some of the biggest upsets in the amendment is the strict liability it creates as well as administrative fines from R25 000 to R5 million.
Strict liability is created by the removal of “As far as reasonably practicable” from certain sections, including the General Duties of Employers in Section 8.
The Department of Employment and Labour has published the proposed amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and is asking you to comment.
The Bill seeks to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act. 1993, so as to:
▪ delete, substitute and insert certain definitions;
▪ effect certain technical corrections;
▪ further provision in respect of the health and safety of persons at work and for the health and safety of persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery;
▪ further regulate the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out or in connection with the activities of persons at work;
▪ further regulate the composition of an advisory council for occupational health and safety;
Find here media notice: Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill
Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill, 2021
Comments can be emailed to Mr Tibor Szana at Tibor.Szana@labour.gov.za by no later than Saturday, 31 July 2021.