Health and Safety law update December 2014

This South African health and safety law update of December 2014 includes maritime OHS inspections, DOL contracts, a UK HS criminal case, and legal notices.

Maritime safety inspections questioned
Fishing companies receive maritime safety inspections on a rotation basis. Some were rapped for PPE, lack of incident investigations, lack of incident reporting, and dagga on board.

Ian Ollis (DA) had asked the Minister of Labour whether labour inspectors followed up on a certain employer’s facilities with regard to Occupational Health and Safety, and workers having appropriate gloves, boots and other PPE safety clothing.

The Minister of Labour replied; The company was inspected three years ago, when a contravention notice was issued in terms of General Safety Regulations 2(2) relating to the failure by the company to provide employees with boots, gloves, and other safety clothing.

The company was given 60 days to comply with this notice. The notice was complied with and a follow-up inspection was done.” The company is not in the list to be inspected in this financial year. An exception could be made when there is a valid complaint from the workers. Our focus is on those companies that we have not inspected in the recent past.”

Ollis also asked whether labour inspectors, in conjunction with the SA Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) officials, inspected labour facilities to enforce labour laws and Occupational Health and Safety issues.

The Minister of Labour replied that Labour inspectors have not done any inspection in conjunction with the SA Maritime Safety Authority. “There is clear separation of responsibilities in as far as labour laws are applied. Our inspectors are responsible for anything that happens offshore, including processing facilities.

“SAMSA is responsible for everything that happens in the waters of the Republic of South Africa, with the exception of commercial diving. We have inspected the company independently of SAMSA and found;

[] The company was compliant with all the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
[] Contravention of several OHS Act regulations; General Administrative Regulations (GAR), Sub section 9 relating to recording and investigation of incidents; General Safety Regulations (GSR), Sub section 2 (2) relating to the provision of personal safety equipment (PPE) and facilities.

“A Prohibition Notice was served for containers which were used for overnight sleeping facilities and smoking of illegal substances leading to intoxication while on duty in the workplace.”

Labour minister employs a special advisor
Ian Ollis (DA) asked the Minister of Labour whether she had employed a ministerial special advisor, who it was, with what duties, at what post level, what salary, for how long, and why it was necessary. The minister of Labour replied that she did “employ a Ministerial Special Adviser as provided for in Section 12A of the Public Service Act of 1994 as amended”.

DOL contracts Accenture
Ian Ollis (DA) asked the Minister of Labour whether her department has entered into a contract with Accenture, whether other companies bid for this contract, and whether there was a conflict of interest by virtue of her being related to a senior employee at the company.

The minister of Labour replied; “The Department of Labour had entered into a contract with Accenture three years ago, at R45.6-m. Accenture was the preferred service provider and a request for a deviation from the normal bid procurement procedure was approved. I am not related to a senior employee at the contractor.”

UK jails safety manager for manslaughter
A UK construction manager and his health and safety consultant were jailed for manslaughter of a worker after a collapse on a building site.

Conrad Sidebottom of Park Road, Hertford, director of Siday Construction, was sentenced to three years and three months. Independent safety consultant Richard Golding of Benfleet, Essex, was jailed for nine months.

The bnew South African Safety and Related Services Union (SARSU) is in dispute with the SA Department of Labour and the voluntary body Saiosh /IOSH SA about a supposed threat at a conference in Bloemfontein, to criminally prosecute health and safety professionals or practitioners.

SA health and safety law does not provide for liability of OHS functionaries.

The UK convictions follow the death of a worker, Anghel Milosavlevici, four years ago while digging a basement extension on a Victorian semi-detached house in Ellersby Street, Fulham. He was working alongside his father, who witnessed the incident.

During underpinning works, the excavations were not adequately supported. The ground floor collapsed and crushed Milosavlevici.

Judge Anthony Leonard said: “The case is so severe only a custodial sentence can be justified… the business in which you played a quasi-managerial role, had been employed to carry out ground works that involved digging out a basement area under the house to put in a very substantial subterranean suite of rooms.

“At the heart of the problem was your failure to be present managing the site as your firm had too much work for the management to deal with adequately… a level of disregard for health and safety for the workforce which I find to be staggering”.

“It was you, Richard Golding, who carried out the risk assessment, advising on how the substantial risks associated with the works might be mitigated. There was no real criticism during the trial about the proposed safeguards, and had they been followed, what did happen, would never have happened.”

Process safety management practice standard 2015
Implementation of the new revised Process Safety Management Practice Standard will become mandatory for Responsible Care signatories and their contractors in January 2015.

The draft Responsible Care Process Safety Management Practice Standard and Audit Guidance Document were reviewed last year. The new standard and audit protocol have been aligned with the content of the Responsible Care Process Safety Training modules that are based on CCPS Risk-based Process Safety.

Each of the Responsible Care management practices describes an activity or approach important in the prevention of fires, explosions and accidental releases. Collectively, the management practices encompass all the elements of process safety – from the design stage through to operation, maintenance and training.

Construction health and safety numbers low
Registration of construction health and safety (CHS) professionals with the SACPCMP in terms of the Construction Regulations Amendment 2014, was partly exempted, and partly postponed.

SACPCMP registration data in December 2014 indicated about 950 CHS applicants, but only 16 registered CHS Agents (typically engineers), 14 registered CHS Managers (typically construction managers or project managers), and 6 registered CHS Officers.

Employers may be forced to employ registered CHS Officers from August 2015.

Voluntary OHS body SAIOSH /IOSH SA supports the registration initiative, and also continues to seek legitimacy for its own scheme. SAIOSH membership is about 905.

Voluntary safety body IOSM also supports the controversial registration initiative, and also continues to seek legitimacy for its own scheme. Its membership and designations are fewer than SAIOSH.

Voluntary hygiene body Saioh claim legitimacy in terms of a minor provision, and has awarded designations to about 200 of its members.

Occupational health nursing body SASOHN operate under medical profession laws, with designations linked to specific medical qualifications.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) may enforce registration environmental assessment practitioners (EAPs) in 2015, following the acceptance of EAPSA registration by 802 people (see a separate report on Sheqafrica.com).

Government Gazette notices
Development and Land Reform 877 Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act; Draft regulations in terms of the Act, for comment

Trade and Industry 807 Trade Metrology Act; Regulations relating to the tariff of fees charged for services rendered in terms of the Trade Metrology Act by the National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications: Amendments

Mineral Resources 992 Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act; Prohibition under section 49(1) of the Act against granting of new applications for prospecting rights, mining rights, reconnaissance permission and mining permits

Trade and Industry 802 National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act; Proposed amendment to the compulsory specifications for replacement brake lining assemblies for road vehicles

Trade and Industry 804 National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act; Proposed amendment to the compulsory specification for motor vehicles of category N2/3

Trade and Industry 836 National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications Act; proposed amendment to the compulsory specification for motor vehicles of category M2/3

• Sources; PMG. UK Construction index. CAIA. DOL.
• SA environment law updates are posted separately on Sheqafrica.com

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3 thoughts on “Health and Safety law update December 2014

  1. Too bad for the consultant. He should have advised the construction manager of the consequences of not following the right procedures.

  2. The H & S Consultant in the UK was given a 9 month custodial sentence for failing in his duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of others.

    Cross referencing the OHS Act 85 of 1993 – possibly contraventions of the following sections – 9(2) and 14(a)

  3. Update on my previous comment. Here is the link to the ‘shponline’ site. A brief overview of the failings of the the H&S Consultant, and co-owner of the construction company. The H&S Consultant was an employee of a consultancy firm. He was charged under Section 7 of the UK Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 – acts and omissions.
    As per my previous comment, if the consultant were working under SA legislation it would have been a contravention of Section 14(a) of the OHS Act 85 of 1993 – again ‘acts and omissions’.

    http://www.shponline.co.uk/director-safety-consultant-jailed-labourers-death/

    ==== Editor notes; Thank you Adrian for pointing out the smilarity. The differences run deeper. When I reminded Koos the other day that SA industry and law is fundamentally different from the UK, it was not a figure of speech. And I was not doing a Pik Botha (we will go it alone /with secret help from the CIA and concession companies from the West) stance.
    SA managers and workers are expected to help the employer get away on the semblance of compliance. The King III code on corporate governance, whistleblower mechanisms, and the odd liability case (usually for killing frogs), are mere camouflage.
    Mining and mining OHS runs on externalising impacts, and on blameless acts and information. Mining culture is also SA culture.
    The UK state assumes employers to be inherently terrified of enforcement. Managers, employees and contractors are assumed, and liable for acting in their own selfish interests.
    The SA state correctly assumes the opposite; companies are pirates and robbers, Francis Drake will pay fines (and bribes), hile sailors and soldiers act as ordered.
    The ethical crunch is on people like minor executives, Sheq officers, and editors (I once lost a job for not turning a blind eye). The stakes are higher than our annual salaries. We follow budget constratins, cut corners, and leave the potentially fatal elements to engineers and Francis Drake, as we are expected to, measure incidents, audit, report, etc. And occasionally we say ‘I told them so’, as a Thongathi OHS officer said in the commission.
    Partial liability of CEOs, managers, consultants, and some officials in SA, would merely spread the blame. The same words in UK law and SA laws and standards, have fundamentally different implications.

    Merry Christmas, and a peaceful midsummer to members of other faiths.

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