This South African health and safety law update of May 2015 includes mobile equipment, refuge bays, construction appointments, and medical certificates.
Mining health and safety law update
Mobile mining equipment must ‘fail to safe’. On 27 February 2015, the DMR in the Government Gazette promulgated regulations relating to machinery and equipment, in addition to Regulation 8 of the Mine Health and Safety Regulations.
Some regulations will come into operation on 27 May 2015. Regulations 220.127.116.11(b) and 18.104.22.168.(b) require that, unless action is taken to prevent potential collisions, employers must provide means to “retard” diesel-powered trackless mobile machines to a safe speed where the brakes are automatically applied.
Trackless mobile machines must fail to safe without human intervention, or have a ‘dead man’s switch’ in common terminology.
Trackless mobile machines are re-defined. Regulation 8.10 is added, requiring prevention of collisions with machines and people.
Pieter Colyn and Celeste Coles, directors at ENSafrica Mine and Occupational Health and Safety Department, said some of these regulations were onerous, and may have a number of unintended consequences (see http://www.mondaq.com/x/388724/employee+rights+labour+relations/Mine+And+Occupational+Health+And+Safety+A+Changing+Landscape+By+Pieter+Colyn+And+Celeste+Coles+Directors+At+Ensafrica).
In November last year, regulations were promulgated regarding underground refuge bays.
The Government Gazette of 19 December 2014, published two guidelines relating to the compilation of mandatory codes of practice; for risk-based fatigue management, and safe use of conveyor belt installations.
Pressure Equipment Regulations guide
On 27 February 2015, the Department of Labour issued guidance notes, in Government Gazette 38505, regarding the Pressure Equipment Regulations.
Construction Regulations appointments list
A health and safety manager in the metals industry, Bonginkoski Hlela, drafted a summary guideline for legal appointments required by the Construction Regulations 2014.
The list below notes first the WORK CONSIDERATIONS, then the APPOINTMENT REQUIRED, then the CONSTRUCTION REGULATION SECTION;
Any Construction work undertaken; Client/ project manager/ agent. Sec 5
Contractor(s) required; Principal contractor/s.Sec 5(1)k
Principal contractor requires services of sub-contractors; Appoint sub- contractors. Sec 7(1)v
Supervision of construction work required; Principal contractor to appoint construction manager and alternate. Sec 8(1)
Size of the project; Principal contractor to appoint assistant construction manager/s. Sec 8(2)
None or too few assistant construction manager/s; Inspector may issue a directive for assistant manager/s to be appointed. Sec 8(2)
Size of the project; Principal contractor to appoint a full/part time construction health and safety officer. Sec 8(5)
Any construction work; Construction manager must appoint construction supervisors. Sec 8(7)
Size of the project; Contractor may appoint competent employee/s to assist in supervision. Sec 8(7)
Fall hazards; Contractor must designate a competent person to prepare a fall protection plan. Sec 10(1 (a)
Temporary works; Contractor must appoint temporary works designer. Sec 12(1 )
Excavation; Contractor must appoint excavation supervisor. Sec 13(1 )(a)
Demolition work; Contractor must appoint demolition work supervisor. Sec 14(1 )
Scaffold use; Contractor must appoint scaffold supervisor. Sec 16(1 )
Suspended platforms; Contractor must appoint suspended platform supervisor. Sec 17(1 )
Rope access work; Contractor must appoint rope access supervisor. Sec 18(1 )
Bulk mixing plant; Contractor must appoint bulk mixing plant supervisor. Sec 20(1 )
Stacking and storage; Contractor must appoint stacking supervisor. Sec 28(1 )
Material hosts use; Contractor must appoint inspector. Sec 19(8 )(a)
Risk assessment; Contractor may appoint risk assessor. Sec 9
Design work; Contractor may appoint risk designer in writing. Sec 6.
Laws relevant to occupational health
Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993
Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 130 of 1995
Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997
Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995
Mine Health and Safety Act, 29 of 1996
Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, 78 of 1973
National Health Act, 61 of 2003
Nursing Act, 33 of 2005
Employment Equity Act, 55 of 1998
Medicines and Related Substances Act, 101 of 1965 (as amended)
Road Traffic Act, 93 of 1996.
Occupational medical certificate changes
All construction employees require an occupational medical certificate of fitness from 6 August 2015. Certain occupational health nurses may perform and sign the medicals.
Steam Sheq legal consultant Shavanya Subramoney said the Construction Regulations require that an occupational health practitioner, either a specialist doctor, OR an occupational health nurse, perform and sign occupational medicals.
The definition of an Occupational Health Practitioner in the OHS Act includes “a person who holds a qualification in occupational health recognised as such by the Health Professions Council SA; or the South African Nursing Council (SANC) as referred to in the Nursing Act.”
The Construction Regulations form in Annexure 3 provides for an OH nurse to perform the examinations, and sign medical certificates.
The Construction Regulations Amendment of February 2014 requires the certificate of fitness to be in a specific format as per Annexure 3.
The exemption issued for construction applies to projects that started before 7 February 2014k and expires on 6 August 2015.
The Health Professions Act in Section 17 provides for non-HPCSA registered health care practitioners to perform examinations, diagnosis, and prescribe medicines, provided it is done in terms of another Act, such as the Nursing Act.
Occupational medical test context
Assessment of medical fitness to work impacts directly on health and safety risk, and has to take industrial, site, and job factors and assessments into account.
Employers have to assess occupational health stressors such as heat, noise, dust, ergonomics, and shift hours; as well as requirements such as visual acuity, colour perception, hearing, lung function, and other health factors.
Occupational health practitioners work with site and job information from employers, from employees, from medical history, and from their direct examinations. Among the functions are patient confidentiality and record-keeping.
DOL advisors may be changed
The Minister of Labour appoints 20 people in terms of Section 2 of the OHS Act to represent organised labour, organised business, state, and specialists in the field of occupational health, hygiene and safety, to the Advisory Council for Occupational Health and Safety (ACOHS).
Appointed specialist Neels Nortje said he was appointed as an occupational safety specialist, a position that had been vacant for two years in the past.
Every three years the minister appoints a new council. Nortje said “the term of office of the council is up and DOL is calling for new nominations.” However the relevant notice has not been published by 24 April.
• Sources; Government Gazette. DOL. DMR. ENSafarica.
• This post refers to some Sheq legislation. It is not a legal register, and does not constitute legal advice.
• South African environment law updates are posted in a separate series on Sheqafrica.com.
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