Minister Thulas Nxesi launches newly-promulgated Ergonomics Regulations, 10 Mar

Employment and Labour Minister T.W Nxesi to launch newly-promulgated Ergonomics Regulations

In fulfilling its mandate to protect workers against occupational diseases and injuries due to workplace hazards and risks, including ergonomic risk factors the Department of Employment and Labour will unveil new Ergonomics Regulations aimed at enhancing Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) awareness and improve compliance and safety in the workplaces.

Employment and Labour Minister T.W Nxesi is expected to deliver a keynote address during the launch of the Ergonomics Regulations. The Minister will share the platform with the Department’s Director-General Thobile Lamati and the Department’s Inspector-General Aggy Moiloa.

The unveiling of the amended Ergonomics Regulations started back in 2014 following the appointment of a Technical Committee (TC) which was approved by the Minister’s Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety (ACOHS). The TC is comprised of members from the three labour federations, organised business, specialists in the field of ergonomics and officials from the Department of Employment and Labour.

Subsequent to that, stakeholders were given an opportunity to submit their inputs into the draft regulations. After a rigorous legal and socio-economic impact assessment the regulations were promulgated in December 2019.

Ergonomics derives from two Greek words: ergon, meaning work, and nomoi, meaning natural laws, to create a word that means the science of work and a person’s relationship to that work. The discipline is about making things better.

Some of the benefits of implementing ergonomics are that: it reduces the potential for injury and ill health; reduces the potential for accidents; and improves performance and productivity.

Now that the new Regulations will be unveiled, they are expected to affect everyone who is connected to the workplace. These include: employers, employees, union representatives, health and safety professionals, etc. Tertiary institutions will also be impacted on as they would have to adjust their curriculum to the requirements of the regulations. Professional societies involved in the health and safety space will also be affected by the regulations.

The importance of these regulations is that South Africa will be one of the first countries in the world to have promulgated a regulation specific to ergonomics in the workplace. Other countries rely on guidance documents, codes or standards when implementing ergonomics programmes in their countries. Therefore, South Africa will be a leading country in regulating ergonomics in the workplace.

As part of the unveiling, the department is planning to host three workshops to interrogate the new Ergonomics Regulations. The workshops will be held in Durban, Cape Town and Port Elizabeth.

Source: Government of South Africa