Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, has cautioned that the lifting of the remaining COVID-19 protocols does not mean employers must adopt a cavalier attitude towards health and safety in their workplaces.
In a statement on Thursday, Nxesi said his department welcomes and supports the decision to drop COVID-19 regulations. However, he urged employers to “play it safe”.
Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, on Wednesday announced the lifting of the mandatory use of masks, as well as the removal of restrictions on gatherings as South Africa experiences low COVID-19 infections and related deaths.
“The health and safety of workers remains a priority for our labour market. The Code of Practice on the Management of Exposure to Sars-Cov-2 in the Workplace remains the guiding principle on matters of health and safety in the workplace and is still the responsibility of all leaders to design an inclusive environment that promotes safety and makes workers comfortable in the workplace,” Nxesi said.
The code provides a guide to employers and workers as to what are reasonably practicable measures in managing SARS-CoV-2. Hazardous biological agents, of which the SARS-Cov-2 is one, are regulated by the Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents.
This regulation places a statutory obligation on employers to conduct a risk assessment to determine measures to limit infection and transmission and mitigate the risk of serious illness or death of an employee or other persons who may be directly affected by the activities of the workplace, such as visitors, customers and contractors.
Source: South African Government News Agency