DOL Hazardous Biological Agents seminar on 26 Sept

SA Department of Labour inspectors host a Hazardous Biological Agents 2014 seminar in Bela Bela on September 26 to raise compliance to OHS Act regulations.

The DOL Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) advocates and enforces the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and its Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents, which are defined as “any micro-organism, cell culture or human endo-parasite, including any which have been genetically modified, which may cause an infection, allergy or toxicity, or otherwise create a hazard to human health”.

There are mainly four sources of infection from biological agents:
[] Blood and other body fluids such as saliva (spittle), sweat
[] Human waste such as faeces, urine, vomit
[] Respiratory discharges such as coughs and sneezes
[] Skin to skin contact.

Employers must at least have a risk assessment strategy; identify hazards; assess risks; and mange major or frequent risks.

Employers must also consider supplementary controls; security; access; disinfection; disposal procedures; information; training; control points; handling incidents; emergency planning; medical surveillance; labeling; packaging; transporting; storage.

The seminar will be addressed by Department of Labour officials;
[]Deputy Director-General of IES, Thobile Lamati
[] Director: Occupational Health and Hygiene (OHH), Milly Ruiters
[] Deputy Director: OHH, Jabu Mhlope
[] Manager: Health and Hygiene, Bulelwa Huna
[] Deputy Director: Health and Hygiene, Elize Lourens.
[] National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH)
[] An Approved Inspection Authority (AIA), Geozone.

DOL trains shop stewards
The Seminar will be preceded by a one-day training on September 25 of shop stewards on matters of HBA Regulations; OHS Act; Chemical Stressors Regulations; Physical Stressors Regulations; Machinery Regulations; and reporting of injuries and diseases.

Topics will focus on OHS, health and safety compliance in public hospitals; the vision of National health; cross contamination and infection control; medical surveillance and biological monitoring; waste management in public hospitals; monitoring and control of the working environment.

These agents are divided into various groups, including those that are unlikely to cause human disease, and those that can cause severe human disease, such as Ebola, and others found in untreated sewage.

Certain micro-organisms can cause disease and employees may be exposed to them at work. In health care institutions, patients and workers may spread and contract biological agents.

The theme of the DOL Bio-Haz seminar is ‘improving OHS in the Health Sector’. It will be held in Bela Bela, at the Aventura Resort in Limpopo from 8:30am.

Employers have legal duties
Legal responsibility for health and safety at work rests primarily with employers. It is their responsibility to maintain a management framework to ensure compliance with health and safety laws.

The OHS Act provides that “every employer shall provide and maintain, as far as is reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of their employees”.

Sources; DOL.

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Edmond Furter

Editor at Sheqafrica.com
Edmond Furter is the editor of Sheqafrica.com. He is a freelance technical journalist, and has won six journalism awards. He specialises in industrial, business, and cultural content in web, journal, and book formats.

6 thoughts on “DOL Hazardous Biological Agents seminar on 26 Sept

  1. I appreciate the fact that the DoL is conducting the events.

    I’m looking forward to the DoL in each province conducting this training, utilizing the town halls in each town and make it affordable to smaller companies.

  2. “TheThe article lists “mainly four sources of infection from biological agents:
    [] Blood and other body fluids such as saliva (spittle), sweat
    [] Human waste such as faeces, urine, vomit
    [] Respiratory discharges such as coughs and sneezes
    [] Skin to skin contact.”

    Before the DOL train anybody, they should find out what the regulations define as biological agents. The description above tells us that soon, very soon, every safety officer in this country is going to apply the wrong end of the law on everybody. feaces, vomit and sneezes? OMG!
    Have you done an assessment of the amount of vomit processes on your site?
    And how many times a day are employees allowed to feacate on the premises?
    “An employer or a self-employed person contemplated in regulation 2 shall, after consultation with the relevant health and safety representative or relevant health and safety committee, cause a risk assessment to be made and thereafter at intervals not exceeding two years, to determine if any person might have been exposed to a HBA.”
    Yes, I just cr** in my pants, reading this article. I am exposed!

  3. “1) Subject to subregulation (Z), these Regulations shall apply to every employer and self-employed person at a workplace where –
    a) HBA is deliberately produced, processed, used, handled, stored or transported; or
    b) an incident, for which an indicative list is given in Annexure A to these Regulation occurs that does not involve a deliberate intention to work with a HBA but may result in persons being exposed to HBA in the performance of his or her work,”

    Do you deliberately produce, use, handle,store or transport vomit?

    E- Coli is also listed as HBA. And it is found in drinking water (within acceptable limits set by the DOH). May I see your Water tests then too?

  4. Staphylococcus aureus is commonly found on money, hand rails of escalators, toilet door handles, etc etc, but we wash our hands “after” the fact????

    And finally, What level of Microbiology training did you get with the junk they sell as HS courses?
    Do you know what the incubation period of e-coli is? Or staph aureus? or Mycobacter Tuberculosis? Or Bascillus Anthraxis?
    Do you know the difference between bacteria, virusses and clamidias?
    Which of the illnesses are communical diseases? Which are reportable?
    And your two day risk assessment course will help you how?

    This is an emergency drill. Feacate the premises!

    ==== Editor notes; It seems the DOL’s workshop responds to the heightened risk of ebola, by raising awareness of the basics of prevention. We fully support this initiative. Our risk has changed due to increases in foreign workers, staff turnover, job seekers, security breaches, sewage leaks; and a decrease in sewage treatment quality, inconsistent waste services, and pressures on the heatlh care system. Awareness and information is the first line of defence.

  5. I do appreciate that DoL plays a leadership role in addressing the risk of Biological Agents at workplaces. The unfortunate part is that we are not invited as safety practitioners to partake to the workshop.

    ==== Editor notes; The seminar was open, you just had to notify the DOL of attendance in advance.

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