The Department of Labour asked the state to fund 100 new health and safety and BEE Labour inspectors, in addition to the current 145.
The DOL now has a total staff of 1347 inspectors, of which 1247 posts are filled, but only 145 of these are health and safety inspectors.
Addressing the Labour Portfolio Committee in Cape Town, the Department of Labour Director General, Thobile Lamati, said they needed to “address critical areas around Occupational Health and Safety and employment equity (EE)”.
The occupational health and safety inspection ratio benchmark of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) is one inspector for every 20 000 workers.
According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey of February 2015, South Africa has 15 320 000 workers, and therefore the country needs 1011 OHS inspectors, said Lamati.
The 100 new Labour inspectors would cost R64-million, and would enable “the original idea of specialisation [of Labour inspectors], as approved by the [former] Minster in 2012.”
The R64-million equals Treasury’s withdrawal of some Labour budget in the previous financial year, and is thus a re-allocation.
“We met with employers and told them of their responsibilities in promoting OHS. We signed OHS Agreements in construction, iron and steel, as well as chemical industries,” said Lamati.
“Some employers are exposing workers to hazardous employment.”
Politicians support the return of the major cut of the inspection budget
Labour portfolio chairperson, Lumka Yengeni, said they would support the request to Treasury to give back the formerly allocated budget to the department.
Department of Labour inspectors visit workplaces to check the level of compliance with labour legislation.
Labour inspectors are appointed in terms of section 63 (1) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, to monitor and enforce these laws;
 Basic Conditions of employment Act
 Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases Act
 Employment Equity Act
 Occupational Health and Safety Act
 Unemployment Insurance Act.
• Source; SAnews.gov.za
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