Department of Labour session on Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

Worker, employer and government representatives will meet in about two weeks to discuss occupational health and saferty (OHS) in the workplaces in South Africa.

The Department of Labour will host the OHS Conference to create awareness and address Occupational Health and Safety issues pertaining to Small Medium and Micro Enterprise (SMME) environment in South Africa. The initiative of the department to hold the conference can contribute to the overall objectives of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that of ensuring quality jobs in environments where occupational health and safety is adhered to.

The Conference will be held from November 15-17 at The Lakes Hotel & Conference Centre in Benoni, Gauteng.

Held under the theme: Sustaining OHS within SMME environment through innovative solutions � the conference is expected to attract 500 delegates.

Department of Labour’s Deputy Director-General: Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES), Aggy Moiloa will deliver a keynote address. She is expected to share the stage with departmental experts in the fields of OHS, advocacy, construction, chemical and major hazards installations (MHI) among others.

The seminar is also expected to be attended by representatives from industry bodies, business organisations/chambers and labour federations.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993) provides for 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; the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work; to establish an advisory council for occupational health and safety; and to provide for matters connected therewith.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act applies to all employers and workers, but not to �

mines, mining areas or any mining works (as defined in the Minerals Act);

load line ships, fishing boats, sealing boats, whaling boats (as defined in the Merchant Shipping Act) and floating cranes; whether in or out of the water; and

people in or on these areas or vessels.

The Act provides that every employer shall conduct his undertaking in such a manner as to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that persons other than those in his employment who may be directly affected by his activities are not thereby exposed to hazards to their health or safety. It also prescribes that every self-employed person shall conduct his undertaking in such a manner as to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that he and other persons who may be directly affected by his activities are not thereby exposed to hazards to their health or safety.

The country’s Occupational Health and Safety Act is currently being amended to be in line with modern dynamics.

The topics that will be addressed at the conference pertain to Health and Hygiene issues, Civil and Construction issues and Electrical and Mechanical Engineering.

There will also be break-away sessions to deal with: trends in OHS focusing on SMMEs; global health and safety in the construction industry; progress regarding goods hoists; ergonomics regulations; guidelines on new construction regulations; developments on the major hazards installations regulations; the role of approved inspections authorities in the electrical installation industries; benchmarking of major hazard installation to other countries; an African perspective on ergonomics; introduction of SMMEs to the classification and labeling standards; radio frequency in the explosive environment and risk assessment in major hazard installation among others.

Source: The South African Department of Labour