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In terms of Schedule 14 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, every employee has certain duties to his employer and the work environment. Every employee shall:

a. Take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions;
b. As regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by this Act, co-operate with such employer or person to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with;
c. Carry out any lawful order given to him, and obey the health and safety rules and procedures laid down by his employer or by anyone authorized thereto by his employer, in the interest of health or safety;
d. If any situation which is unsafe or unhealthy comes to his attention, report such situation as soon as practicable to his employer;
e. If he is involved in any incident which may affect his health or which has caused an injury to himself, report such incident to his employer or to anyone authorized thereto by his employer (i.e. supervisor) as soon as possible but not later than the end of his shift during which the incident occurred;

It can be seen that this section of the Act is a very important section. All Directors / Managers are also employees. It is important that they comply fully with this section before enforcing it onto the other employees.

Each employee has a responsibility and duty to his employer and his workplace. Provided we have trained the person and the records of training are available, action can be taken against an employee transgressing these basic requirements. The instructions can also be in the form of a Safety Manual which must be made available to all employees and the person must be trained in respect of such rules.

Please note that deliberately transgressing these safety rules requires sanction. If action is not taken it can be construed that Management is conniving with the employee in respect of the transgression. This means Management would be in contravention of Section 37 of the Act (see later)

Please note point (e) above. Any accident / incident where injury has occurred must be reported immediately to the employer. If he fails to report it during his shift (day), the employer may not he held responsible and the Workman Compensation Fund may reject any claims in future. It is important that all employees know and understand it.

Written by Frans Wilbrink of Wilbrink & Associates, tel. 031 – 266 9035