PUBLICATION OF THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AMENDMENT BILL, 2020

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PUBLICATION OF THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY AMENDMENT BILL, 2020

Notice Title: Publication of the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill, 2020
Government Notice: GN 422 in GG 44572 on 14 May 2021
Commencing date: TBD

The Minister of Employment and Labour (“the Minister”) published a notice in terms of Rule 276(1)(b) of the Rules of the National Assembly of his intention to introduce the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill, 2020 (“the Bill”) in the National Assembly shortly.

In addition to the above, the explanatory summary of the Bill was published in accordance with Rule 276(1)(c) of the Rules of the National Assembly.

The Bill seeks to amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993 (“OHSA”), so as:

  • To delete, substitute, and insert certain definitions;
  • To effect certain technical corrections;
  • To make further provision in respect of the health and safety of persons at work and for the health and safety of persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery
  • To further regulate the protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work;
  • To further regulate the composition of an advisory council for occupational health and safety; and
  • To provide for matters connected therewith.

Some of the proposed amendments include amongst other the following (please note that this is not an exhaustive list):

  • The discretion of the Chief Inspector to direct any employer or group of employers to have a health and safety policy in place is substituted with a similar discretion to direct an employer or group of employers to develop and implement a health and safety management system. The directive must provide guidelines concerning the content of the health and safety management system concerned.
  • Various changes are proposed to section 8 of the OHSA specifically relating to workplace specific risk assessments, the development and implementation of a risk management plan for every specific risk that has been identified, competence of persons carry out the risk assessment as well as communication of the risk management plan.
  • The timeframe within which a person aggrieved by a decision of an inspector may lodge an appeal as provided for in section 35 of the OHSA is proposed to change from 60 days to 14 days after the delivery of the inspector’s decision.
  • The introduction of administrative fines imposed by an inspector if a person commits a breach of the OHSA. The proposed administrative fines listed in Schedule 2 may range between R25 000.00 and R50 000.00, depending on the breach. The administrative fine may, instead of criminal prosecution, be imposed on a person who becomes liable to prosecution for any breach of the OHSA.
  • Proposed amendments to section 38 regarding penalties suggests that it will increase significantly as set out in Schedule 1. Depending on the contravention, maximum fines may range between R500 000.00 to R5 000 000.00 and the maximum imprisonment range between 2- and 5-years imprisonment, depending on the contravention.
  • Proposed amendments to Section 43(4) of the OHSA regarding penalties that may be prescribed for the contravention of regulations will significantly increase to a fine to a maximum of R5 000 000.00 or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 5 years or both.
  • Inclusion of section 44A relating to the approval and use of approved inspection authorities for specifically defined work.

For a copy of the Government Gazette Notice click here.

For more information or assistance please contact Corrie Potgieter at corrie@shangoni.co.za

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