OHSA (Occupational Health and Safety Act) – basic thoughts
Basic thoughts regarding compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) include:
- To comply with legislation is not negotiable and non-compliance can be costly in the general running of a business.
- In accordance with legislation as well as ISO 45001, employers can be sued in their personal and business capacity and be prosecuted both civilly and criminally. A conviction could lead to huge fines and even the closure of a business until it is fully compliant.
- Compliance contributes to productivity through employee satisfaction and buy-in.
It is important that employers get expert guidance to comply with the OHSA, especially when your business industry is subject to additional regulations.
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What are the hazards?
In terms of Section 8 of the OHSA, “every employer needs to establish what hazards to the health or safety of persons are attached to any work which is performed.”
The practical approach:
- Identify the activities performed in each area of your business. Each activity would have safety related inputs, e.g. electricity, equipment, etc.
- Assessing the risk could be done by giving a rating on a scale of 1 (low risk) to 5 (worst), scoring the following: severity, possibility of happening and who is exposed to the risk.
- The management and control of the risks would require a process of elimination, substitution, engineering solutions, administrative controls, training with provision of safety equipment being the last resort.
- “Hazard”: the object which could cause potential harm
- “Risk”: what could happen should things go wrong, e.g. injury, health risks, etc.
“We focus on sharing our expertise with clients and helping them through the practicalities of the process. We know where to start, what assessments are necessary, and what steps should be taken to become legally compliant. Most importantly, we help you to stay compliant,” says the CEO of Beehive OH&S, Leo van der Walt.
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