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The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 requires the employer to provide and maintain (as far as reasonably and practically possible) a work environment that is safe and without risk to the health of employees.
A health and safety policy is a written statement of principles and goals embodying the company's commitment to workplace health and safety. There are no set formalities about what to include in this policy. The employer should create a policy that is suitable to address the health and safety needs of that specific company.
Section 7 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act luckily provides direction to employers concerning the health and safety policy of an organisation. According to this section, an employer will be obligated to have a health and safety policy once the chief inspector has directed the company to do so.
A copy of this policy will then need to be displayed prominently in the workplace where employees normally report for service and must be signed by the chief executive officer.
It is therefore not compulsory for all organisations to formulate and implement a health and safety policy. However, employers are still duty-bound to inform employees of work-related risks and dangers.
A health and safety policy would still be a very valuable tool as the importance of workplace policies and procedures cannot ever be overemphasised. It will also demonstrate whether an organisation takes its health and safety responsibilities seriously.
The primary objective of a health and safety policy should be to prevent or reduce work-related accidents and occupational diseases. An appropriate policy could help to avoid the expense, inconvenience, and other consequences of workplace accidents by making sure that employees and other role players know what is expected of them.
Advantages of implementing a Health and Safety Policy:
Enforce rules and regulations to bring order to the workplace
Provide direction to all company activities
Get employers to comply with minimum standard legislation
Communicate standards to employees and other role players, e.g. contractors will bring certainty and accountability
Provide criteria for measuring and evaluating efficiency
Hold employees accountable for negligent or incorrect conduct
Monitoring and reviewing of the policy on a regular basis are also vital. It needs to be aligned with the current health and safety legislation of South Africa.
IQ Dome will put procedures in place for your company to ensure compliance with and knowledge of legislation and other necessary health and safety policies.