04 May 2020 by Carrie in Economics, Health, Lifestyle, South Africa
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s risk-adjusted strategy to ease the current lockdown restrictions made sense, and we all looked forward to some industries reopening, as well as the reclassification of ‘essential goods’.
As the week went on, who would and wouldn’t be allowed to resume operations became clearer.
At the same time, however, the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has shown that things can change at a moment’s notice – the back and forth on the tobacco ban comes to mind.
What we know for sure is that we are currently at alert level 4, and if you’re one of the businesses resuming operations this week, there are some strict health and safety procedures in place to ensure your and your employees’ safety.
General Health and Safety:
- Every employee must be aware of the rules in place to maintain a safe working environment. They should also be furnished with information about the virus and how to prevent its transmission.
- If employees have COVID-19 symptoms, they must know to stay at home where they will receive paid sick leave or apply for COVID-19 TERS benefits.
- A manager must be appointed to address the concerns of workers and workplace representatives.
- A positive COVID-19 diagnosis must be reported to the Department of Health and to the Department of Employment and Labour. Employers must support any contact tracing measures initiated by the Department of Health. Workers are also required to report any symptoms of the virus to their employers.
- Employers must screen all employees for symptoms of the virus when they report to work (cough, sore throat, fever, redness of the eyes, shortness of breath, body aches, loss of sense of smell, vomiting, fatigue, or weakness). Use an infrared thermometer to screen for a spike in temperature.
- Shops and other services open to the general public must screen all people entering the workplace for symptoms.
- The number of workers in each workplace must be limited to maintain physical distancing. Physical distancing must also be maintained in all social areas like canteens or meeting rooms.
- Employers must provide sufficient quantities of hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol content.
- Work surfaces and common areas such as toilets, door handles, desktops, and shared equipment must be regularly cleaned and disinfected.
- Adequate facilities for handwashing with soap and clean water and paper towels must be provided. No shared towels.
- Workers must wear masks at work. Each worker must be provided with at least two cloth masks.
- There must be suitable arrangements for washing and drying masks. Ultimately, the employer remains responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of PPEs.
- Where a risk assessment indicates, workers must be provided with alternative appropriate PPE (N95 or N97 masks) to provide a higher level of protection. Every workplace must be well ventilated to reduce the viral load.
- Employers are required to keep up to date with recommendations from organisations such as the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the National Institute for Occupational Health to ensure that they are enforcing the correct safety procedures.
- Conduct a risk assessment to determine how protocols should be implemented.
- Set up drills so that employees know what to do in an emergency.
- Train your team in physical distancing protocols and workplace hygiene.
If you’re back to the daily grind, stay safe out there, and if you’re an employer, make sure you’re doing your utmost to protect your employees.
Source: 2OceansVibe at https://www.2oceansvibe.com/2020/05/04/important-legal-info-for-businesses-opening-this-week/