2023

2022

DEL PUBLISHES – HAZARDOUS BIOLOGICAL AGENTS REGULATIONS and COP MANAGING EXPOSURE TO SARS-COV-2 IN THE WORKPLACE

(OHSA) HAZARDOUS BIOLOGICAL AGENTS REGULATIONS

On 16 March 2022 the Minister of Employment and Labour published the new Hazardous Biological Agents Regulations, 2022, in terms of section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993. These regulations repeal the Regulations for Hazardous Biological Substances, 2001, which was published under Government Notice R1390 of 27 December 2001.

More information:
These Regulations apply (with some exceptions) to every employer or self-employed person at a workplace where-
(a) an HBA is produced, processed, used, handled, stored or transported; or
(b) exposure to an HBA may occur.
Biological agents are categorised into 4 groups according to hazard and categories of contaminant, which are:
1. Risk group 1: a microorganism known not to or unlikely to cause human disease
2. Risk group 2: a pathogen that may cause human disease but unlikely to pose serious hazard to laboratory workers, the community and the environment. Specific treatment or vaccines may be available to manage or prevent infection with these pathogens.
3. Risk group 3: a pathogen that may cause serious human disease but does not typically spread from human to human. Treatment and vaccines may be available to manage or prevent infection with these pathogens.
4. Risk group 4: a pathogen that may cause serious human disease and may be readily transmissible from human to human. Specific treatment and preventative measures are typically not available for the disease caused by these pathogens.

Severe acute respiratory syndrome-2 (SARS CoV2) is categorized as a Risk Group 3 hazardous biological agent.

The regulations deal with, inter alia, the following matters:
• Information, instruction and training
• Duties of persons who might be exposed to HBA’s
• Risk assessment for HBA’s
• Exposure monitoring of HBA’s
• Medical surveillance
• Records that an employer must keep
• Prevention and control of exposure to HBA’s
• Personal protective equipment and facilities
• Maintenance and verification of control measures, plant machinery and facilities
• Prohibitions
• Labelling, packaging, transporting and storage
• Disposal of HBA’s
• HBA’s health and safety technical committee
• Offences and penalties

Publication details:
Publishes under Government Notice R 1887, Government Gazette 46051 of 16 March 2022

CODE OF PRACTICE: MANAGING EXPOSURE TO SARS-COV-2 IN THE WORKPLACE, 2022

The Minister of Employment and Labour issued the Code of Good Practice in terms of section 203(2A) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995. The Code will take effect on the date of the lapsing of the Declaration of a National State of Disaster declared under GN313 of 15 March 2020.

More information:
On 29 April 2020 the Minister responsible for Employment and Labour published a Direction on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces in terms of regulation 4(10) of the Regulations under the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (COVID-19), which amended and consolidated to respond to the changing circumstances of the pandemic.
On the expiry of the declaration of the national state of disaster, the Regulations and the Direction will cease to have legal effect. Because there remains an ongoing need to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 exposure in the workplace, it is necessary to incorporate those provisions in the Regulations and the Direction relevant to preventing and mitigating those risks.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 requires the employer to provide and maintain as far as is reasonably practicable a working environment that is safe and without risks to the health of workers and to take such steps as may be reasonably practicable to limit or mitigate the hazard or potential hazard.
The OHSA further requires employers, to ensure, as far as is reasonably practicable, that all persons who may be directly affected by their activities (such as customers, clients or contractors and their workers who enter their workplace or come into contact with their employees) are not exposed to hazards to their health or safety. This obligation also applies to self-employed persons whose working activities bring them into contact with members of the public.
For the purposes of OHSA in the workplaces to which this Code applies, the identifiable hazard relating to COVID-19 faced by workers, is the virus infecting a worker, the virus transmission by an infected person to other workers in the workplace and the risk of serious illness or death if infected. In workplaces to which the public has access, the hazard includes transmission of the virus by members of the public. Each situation requires special measures to be implemented by employers in order to prevent infection and transmission of the virus or mitigate the risk of serious illness or death.
The Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents, 2022 (HBA Regulations) list coronavirus as a listed hazardous biological agent, classed as Group 3. It therefore places legal responsibilities on employers in respect of employees to limit the exposure and mitigate the risks of infection by SARS-CoV-2.
The primary obligation is to conduct a risk assessment in terms of regulation 6 to determine the risk of exposure and the control measures to limit infection, transmission and mitigate the risk of serious illness or death on the part of employees and other persons who may be directly affected by the activities of the workplace

Purpose of this Code:
A purpose of this Code is to guide employers and employees in managing exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace by providing guidance to employers and employees in –
(a) conducting or updating a risk assessment in terms of the OHSA and the HBA in respect of SARS-CoV-2 exposure;
(b) developing a plan to limit infection, transmission and mitigate the risks of serious illness or death on the basis of that risk assessment;
(c) implementing the plan;
(d) managing absence from work due to infection, isolation and adverse effects of vaccination;
(e) seeking to accommodate employees who refuse or fail to vaccinate against SARS-CoV-2 .

Application:
The Code applies to workplaces except those excluded from the OHSA in terms of section 1(3) of the OHSA, although section 18 applies to mines, mining areas and works as well. Subject to the employer’s obligations under the OHSA to conduct a risk assessment, employers with less than 20 employees need only apply the measures set out in section 13 of this Code.

Key elements addressed in the COP:
The following key elements are addressed in the COP:
• Risk assessment plan and its contents
• Notification of workers
• Symptom reporting by workers
• Isolation of workers
• Ventilation
• Specific personal protective equipment
• Vaccination of employees
• Small businesses
• Worker obligations
• Refusal to work
• No deduction from employee’s remuneration
• Monitoring and enforcing this Code
• Limited application to mines, mining areas and works

Publication details:
Published under Government Notice R1876, Government Gazette 46043, dated 15 February 2022
Where do I access this information?
Please email your request to Marlize de Jager, marlize@implex.co.za

Where do I access this information?
Please email your request to Marlize de Jager, marlize@implex.co.za

OHSA – NATIONAL CODE OF PRACTICE FOR ELECTRICAL MACHINERY IN HAZARDOUS LOCATIOS

The National Code of Practice for Electrical Machinery in Hazardous Locations was published by the Department of Employment and Labour.

More information:
The Department of Employment and Labour and the explosion prevention industry, represented by the South African Flameproof Association, agreed that information pertaining to statutory product conformity requirements, including approved standards, approved inspection authorities, accredited / approved test laboratories, and approved certification bodies, will be made publicly available by means of this recommended practice.

This recommended practice deals with product conformity requirements for explosion-protected apparatus used in South Africa.

The Code of Practice addresses, inter alia, the following:
• Regulatory requirements for explosion-protected equipment;
• Approved standards, test laboratories and certification bodies;
• Other certification schemes – operation and acceptability of certificates;
• Apparatus marking

Publication details:
Published under Government Notice 2398, Government Gazette 46750 of 19 August 2022.

Where do I access this information?
You can obtain copies of these gazettes by emailing a request to Marlize at marlize@implex.co.za

OHSA – DRAFT PHYSICAL AGENTS REGULATIONS, 2022

The Minister of Employment and Labour made the draft Physical Agents Regulations, 2022 under section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993. Interested persons are invited to submit written comments (in the format in Annexure A of the Notice) on the draft regulations within 90 days from the date of publication of the notice in the Government Gazette, to the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour.

More information:

“Physical agents” is defined as a source of energy which may result in injury or disease after exposure, and includes, but not limited to cold stress, heat stress, vibration, non-ionising radiation and illumination.

These Regulations will apply to –
• any employer or self-employed person who carries out work at a workplace, which may expose any person to a physical agent in that workplace; and
• a designer, manufacturer, importer or supplier of machinery or plant for use at a workplace

The Regulations deal with, inter alia, the following matters:
a) Information, instruction and training
b) Duties of person exposed to physical agents
c) Duties of designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers
d) Physical agents risk assessment
e) Physical agents exposure monitoring
f) Medical surveillance
g) Cold stress
h) Heat stress
i) Lighting
j) Indoor air quality
k) Vibration
l) Non-ionising radiation
m) Control of exposure to physical agents
n) Personal protective equipment and facilities
o) Maintenance of control measures
p) Records
q) Physical agents technical committee
r) Offences and Penalties.

Publication details:
Published under Government Notice 2665, Government Gazette 47337 of 21 October 2022.
Where do I access this information?
You can obtain copies of these gazettes by emailing a request to Marlize at marlize@implex.co.za.

What are the practical implications of these Regulations?
The Implex Team will be hosting a half-day on-line workshop on 16 November 2022 to discuss the practical implications of these Regulations as well as the way forward. Please look out for details on the online workshop.
OHSA – DRAFT NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS REGULATIONS, 2022
and
CODE OF PRACTICE FOR MEDICAL SURVEILLANCE FOR NOISE-INDUCED HEARING LOSS REGULATIONS

The Minister of Employment and Labour gave notice of the intention to make the Noise Induced Hearing Loss Regulations, 2022. Interested persons were invited to comment in writing on the draft regulations within 90 days from the date of publication of the notice, in the prescribed format (Annexure A of the Notice), to the Director-General of the Department of Employment and Labour.

More information

These Regulations will apply to –
• any employer or self-employed person at any workplace under their control, where persons are exposed to continuous or impulse noise at or above the applicable noise action level; and
• a designer, manufacturer, importer or supplier of machinery or plant for use at a workplace.

Duties of designers, manufacturers, importers or suppliers of machinery or plant, for use at work, are introduced in the new draft Regulations. They must:
a) as far as is reasonably practicable, ensure that machinery or plant minimises the exposure to noise;
b) as far as is reasonably practicable, supply machinery or plant that can be transported, received, stored and handled in a manner that minimises the exposure to noise;
c) provide information, instruction and training as deemed necessary to minimise the exposure to noise during use of machinery or plant;
d) as far as is reasonably practicable, install machinery or plant in a manner that minimises the exposure to noise; and
e) provide information to potential users on the appropriate maintenance of machinery or plant to ensure safe operation and use.

The draft Regulations deal with, inter alia, the following matters:
a) Exposure to noise
b) Information, instruction and training
c) Duties of person exposed to noise
d) Duties of designers, manufacturers, importers and suppliers
e) Noise risk assessment
f) Noise exposure monitoring
g) Medical surveillance
h) Noise zone
i) Control of exposure to noise
j) Hearing Protective Devices
k) Maintenance of control measures
l) Records
m) Code of Practice
n) Noise technical committee
o) Offenses and Penalties

Code of Practice for Medical Surveillance for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations
The Code of Practice is incorporated into the Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Regulations, 2022, through Regulation 15 of the said Regulations. This Code of Practice is a move from a reactive approach to addressing occupational hearing loss, to a proactive approach, that incorporates all requirements of medical surveillance, particularly audiometric testing, and places it in one document. The objective of the Code of Practice is to assist employers with the development and implementation of a medical surveillance programme.

The Code of Practice addresses the following key elements:
a) Medical Surveillance
b) Audiometric Testing
• Baseline audiometry
• Entry Audiometric Test
• Initial Audiometric Test
• Periodic audiometry
• Diagnostic audiology
• Exit audiometry
• Action Criteria and Reporting

Publication details:
Published under Government Notice 2666, Government Gazette 47337 of 21 October 2022.
Where do I access this information?
You can obtain copies of these gazettes by emailing a request to Marlize at marlize@implex.co.za.

 
 
GUIDELINES FOR VENTILATION TO PREVENT THE SPREAD OF THE SARS-CoV-2 VIRUS 
(VERSION 1:15 AUGUST 2021)

The Occupational Health and Safety Workstream of the National Department of Health – COVID-19 response, prepared the Guidelines for ventilation to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Information on the Guideline:
The purpose of the guideline is to provide basic guidance on the ventilation of workplaces for the control of SARS-CoV-2 transmission. This document is intended to provide the technical details to the Consolidated Direction of the Department of Employment and Labour.

The focus of this guideline is to understand how to prevent long range infection. However, prevention measures for all for these forms of transmission remain effective and are equally recommended.

The Centres for Disease Control (CDC) in the US further elaborates on the 3 main risk factors for long range infection by SARS-CoV-2, noting they are:

• Enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation or air handling within which the concentration of exhaled respiratory very fine droplets and aerosol particles, can build-up in the air space. Enclosed spaces include rooms in a building and vehicles such as a buses, taxis or cars.

• Increased exhalation of respiratory fluids if the infectious person is engaged in physical exertion or raises their voice (e.g., exercising, shouting, singing).

• Prolonged exposure under these conditions, typically more than 15 minutes.

The guideline deals with, inter alia, the following matters:

• Ventilation
   – How much ventilation is required?
   – How to determine whether there is adequate ventilation?
   – How to deliver ventilation
• Natural ventilation
• Mechanical ventilation

Where do I access this information?
Please email your request to Marlize de Jager, marlize@implex.co.za

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