Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) Seminar gets started in KwaZulu-Natal by Lloyd Ramutloa

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Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) Seminar Gets Started in Kwazulu Natal Enhancing occupational health and safety awareness and improving compliance in the workplace was one of the key messages conveyed on day one of the Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) Seminar which kicked-off in Umhlanga earlier today, 10 November 2015.

Addressing a wide spectrum of shop stewards and Health & Safety Reps at the Square Boutique Hotel on the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its Regulations, Ms Milly Ruiters, Director: Occupational Health and Hygiene of the Department of Labour emphasised the lawful duty of employers and employees in ensuring that working environments were free of injuries, diseases and worker deaths. She said that the role of Health and Safety (H & S) representatives and committees together with that of the employer was critical in pursuing the “Road to Zero Campaign”.

“The employer must provide and maintain a health and safety management system at work, carry out risk related assessments, take steps or mitigate all hazards before resorting to Protective wear(PPEs), provide information and supervision, provide a means to apply safety measures and enforce H & S measures in the workplace”, she said. Likewise, Ms Ruiters told all shop stewards that, “employees must equally take reasonable care of their own H & S and of others who may be affected by their acts or omissions, co-operate with the employer to enable compliance with the Act, carry out any lawful order by obeying all applicable H & S rules and most importantly to report any unsafe situation that may be a threat to the workers safety or lives”.

Central to this, she said that the duty not to interfere was fundamental in that, “no person should intentionally or recklessly interfere with, damage or misuse anything, which is provided in the interest of H & S.H & S reps may review measures put in place, identify potential hazards, examine the cause of incidents, investigate worker complaints and make representations to the employer, H &S committee or a Labour Inspector.The OHS Act prescribes that Companies that has two or more H&S reps must establish a H & S Committee”, said Ruiters.

Certain incidents are expected to be reported for immediate investigation to the Labour Inspector and if an employer is found guilty of flouting the law they may face fines of up tp R100 000 or imprisonment of 2 years as determined by the Court.

The two-day Seminar under the theme: “Improving OHS in the Health Sector” continues tomorrow with the focus shifting to compliance levels in the Health Sector. OHS inspection feedback for the sector; health risk assessments; medical surveillance and biological monitoring; TB and HIV in the sector; waste management in Public Hospitals; management and rehabilitation of injured and diseased employees ; engineering control measures to micro-organisms and ergonomics case studies for radiographers will be amongst key topical issues to be discussed.

Details of the seminar for day two are as follows:

Date: 11 November 2015

Venue: The Square Boutique Hotel, Umhlanga Rocks

Time: 09:00

SOURCE: Issued by Department of Labour: Communication Directorate Mokgadi Pela Acting Departmental Spokesperson