Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.7 Health & Safety Representatives

ryanrori June 15, 2020

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In terms of Section 17 of the Act:

  • Employers, who employ more than 20 employees at any workplace, must appoint health and safety representatives in writing for such workplace, or for different sections thereof.
  • An employer and the employee representatives or employees, where there are no such representatives, must consult in good faith regarding the election, period of office and subsequent designation of health and safety representatives. If such consultation fails, the matter shall be referred for arbitration to a person mutually agreed upon, whose decision shall be final.
  • Only full-time employees, who are acquainted with conditions and activities at that workplace, will be eligible for designation as health and safety representatives for that workplace.
  • The number of health and safety representatives for a workplace or section thereof shall in the case of shops and offices be at least one health and safety representative for every 100 employees or part thereof, and in the case of all other workplaces at least one health and safety representative for every 50 employees or part thereof: Employees working another workplace than that where they ordinarily report for duty, shall be deemed to be working at the workplace where they report for duty.
  • Inspectors of the Department of Labour (DoL) may direct employers in writing to increase the number of health and safety representatives if they feel that, under certain circumstances, the prescribed number is not adequate.
  • All activities in connection with the activities and training of health and safety representatives shall be performed during ordinary working hours, and any time reasonably spent by any employee in this regard shall for all purposes be deemed to be time spent by him in the carrying out of his duties as an employee.

Functions of Health and Safety Representatives

In terms of Section 18 of the Act:

A health and safety representative may perform the following functions in respect of the workplace or section of the workplace for which he has been designated, namely-

  • Review the effectiveness of health and safety measure.
  • Identify potential hazards and major incidents at the workplace.
  • Examine the causes of incidents at the workplace.
  • Investigate complaints by any employee relating to that employee’s health or safety at work.
  • Make representations to the employer or a health and safety committee on matters arising from the above.
  • Make representations to the employer on general matters affecting the health or safety of the employees at the workplace.
  • Inspect the workplace with a view to the health and safety of employees, at times agreed upon with the employer, who may be present during the inspection. The employer must be given reasonable notice of such inspections.
  • Participate in consultations with inspectors at the workplace and accompany inspectors on inspections of the workplace.
  • Receive information from inspectors as contemplated in section 36.
  • Attend meetings of the health and safety committee of which he is a member, in connection with any of the above functions.

Health and Safety Committees

In terms of Section 19 of the Act:

  • Employers must establish one or more health and safety committees where two or more health and safety representatives have been designated, and, at every meeting of such a committee, consult with the committee on measures to ensure the health and safety of his employees at work.
  • Nominees on a health and safety committee shall be designated in writing by the employer for a specific period. Health and safety representatives must be members of the committee for the period of their designation.
  • Health and safety committee meetings must be held at least once every three months, at a time and place determined by the committee. Under certain circumstances a DoL inspector may in writing direct a safety committee to hold a meeting.
  • A health and safety committee may appoint advisory members with particular knowledge of health or safety matters. These advisory members will have no voting rights.
  • Inspectors of the DoL may direct employers in writing to increase the number of safety committees if they feel that, under certain circumstances, the prescribed number is not adequate.

Functions of Health And Safety Committees

In terms of Section 20 of the Act:

  • A health and safety committee may make recommendations to the employer or an inspector regarding any matter affecting the health or safety of persons at the workplace, discuss and report to an inspector on any incident causing injury or death at the workplace.
  • A health and safety committee must keep record of recommendations made to an employer and of any report made to an inspector in terms of the above.

Employers must take the prescribed steps to ensure that a health and safety committee complies with the provisions of the Act.

Formative assessment 5