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Health and safety law update June 2014

This SA health and safety law update of June 2014 includes Labour prosecution, fraudulent ‘inspectors’, professional restructuring, and event venue safety regulations.

Comment on construction professions council in June

The Department of Public Works under Notice 370 in Government Gazette 37653 of 23 May 2014 proposes to dissolve the Council for the Built Environment, and offers three options for public comment before 27 June.

Some professional bodies have called for more options, or for the six construction bodies to merge into the Engineering Council (ECSA), or for registration ‘boards within bodies’ to be banned.

Some see the privatised professionalisation drives of the Department of Labour and the SACPCMP as contrary to the DPW initiative. See a more detailed post and some comment on the notice on Sheqafrica.com.

DOL forum on explosives environments in June

A one-day forum to discuss safety responsibilities in explosive workplace environments will be hosted by the Department of Labour (DoL) at the Protea Hotel O.R. Tambo in Kempton Park on 25 June 2014.

The forum aims to discuss matters of Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) within the explosive environments and legislation governing safety in the workplace. It follows a similar event three years ago leading to a new explosives Act and regulations.

Data from the Compensation Fund (CF) showed that the number of claims paid to employers and service providers total around R2.1b, proof of a significant burden on the healthcare system.

Stadium and events venue safety regulations expected

Venue safety regulations could soon implement the Safety at Sport and Recreation Events Act (sec 75, Act 2 of 2010), in 2014.

The SA parliamentary committee on regulations on safety and security at stadiums and other venues met in March to consider giving effect to the Act by way of the new regulations.

Under chairman MP Mr M Mdakane (ANC), the committee considered its string of substantive amendments while preparing the draft regulations.

They had been sitting on the regulations for some time to determine whether there were any critical areas that would possibly be in conflict with the Act.

Implementation of the Act was problematic, because immediately after the Act had been passed, something contrary happened in Stellenbosch. SRSA should monitor implementation of the Act.

Ms Tseke reminded the committee had they had processed the Safety at Sport and Recreation Events Bill three years ago.

Mr Dikgacwi said the committee had asked Sport and Recreation South Africa (SRSA) whether it was following up on alignment with international conventions.

Ms M Dube (ANC) said the only complaint she had, was when things like the regulations were presented in the format they were in, and then used somewhere else, she was left wondering what the impact of those regulations had been.

The chairperson said that the main purpose of checking on regulations was to make sure that they did not become an Act in themselves. It was to guard against the introduction of another Act, through regulations. Acts needed to be only a few pages, so that regulations could be many pages.

The only concern was that the Act should be speedily implemented, concluded the parliamentary committee.

Poster sellers pose as Labour inspectors

The Risk Management Unit of the Department of Labour (DoL) warns employers of impersonation of Inspectors by some fraudsters selling charts and posters of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), Labour Relations Act (LRA), and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.

Prices range from R500 to R1500. The fraudsters intimidate employers with the threat of inspections.

Official charts are offered by the Government Printer on 012 334 4507 /8/9. The Department of Labour does not sell posters. Report fraud on the Fraud Hotline 08600 22 194 or fax 012 309 4676 or fraud@labour.gov.za

New DOL prosecution structure

DOL had established a Chief Directorate of Statutory Services and Advocacy, and appointed nine provincial statutory officials and two officials at head office.

This team would “ensure that the enforcement of legislation is enhanced and that we secure more prosecutions”. DOL said it would not establishing or reviving OHS courts with specialist prosecutors.

The directorate is led by Phelele Tengeni as new Deputy Director-General (DDG) of Corporate Services (see a post on her CV on Sheqafrica.com).

SA to protect victims of child labour

South Africa has called for the redoubling of efforts to eliminate child labour, and to compensate victims.

The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) also called for extending social protection to cushion the impact of child labour.

Sipho Ndebele, chief director of international relations, said in Geneva at the ILO’s International Labour Conference: “the ILO is correct in saying social protection is both a human right and makes sound economic and social sense.

“Social protection enables access to education, healthcare and nutrition and plays a critical role in the fight against child labour.”

Ndebele said the latest ILO global child labour estimates showed that the number of child labourers has declined by a third in the last 14 years, from 246m to 168m.

According to the ILO, the number of children in hazardous work stands at 85m, down from 171m.

• Sources; DOL. PMG.
SA environmental law updates are posted separately on Sheqafrica.com

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