The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a worldwide change in the way we live, work and socialize. So much so, that in March 2020, South Africa has gone into a country-wide lockdown. The South African government has since implemented a risk adjustment strategy in order to systemize a flow back into the new “normal”.
Up until now, we, as South Africans, have been in level four restrictions read here and from today, 01 June 2020, level three has been implemented according to the risk-adjusted strategy stipulated from the government.
So, what does level three mean for me and my business? The short and most simplified answer is that most businesses will be allowed and permitted to operate, you can see the full detailed list here. So, since we are allowed to open now, we are required to have a workplace plan in order to ensure the safety of our employees.
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyer has published 10 key aspects that must be covered by your workplace plan and we have taken the time to summarize them for you.
Before going back into work and resuming operations, employers must undertake a risk assessment to give effect to the health and safety directives that have been issued by the government. These health and safety directives are used to identify all areas in the workplace that are a transmission risk for COVID-19.
It is of most importance to create and stick to a screening process before entry to any workplace. It is the employer’s responsibility to create a system whereby all employees get screened before entering the premises of their workplace. This screening will be done to determine whether the employees have any symptom of COVID-19 prior to being allowed entrance to the workplace.
It is the employers’ responsibility to develop an emergency protocol to contain a potential outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace. This protocol must include a plan to evacuate employees who have been screened positive for COVID-19.
Employee Health & Safety Training
It is mandatory for employers to train their employees on the contents of the directive and the manner in which employers intend to implement the directives in their respective workplace. This health and safety directive was issued directly by the government.
Personal Protective Equipment
It is the employer’s responsibility to make provision for employees to be provided with PPE for their respective role at no cost to the employee.
Employers have to ensure that, where possible, that the workplace is re-organised in order to comply with social distancing rules. Employees must be advised as to social distancing rules and measures must be put in place to enforce social distancing.
Employers need to maintain a certain amount of hygiene according to the hygiene standards set out by government. These standards include disinfecting the workplace as well as providing the necessary sanitizers and hand washing stations.
A workplace plan must include a waste management system for the disposal of all COVID-19 related waste in manner that does not present a transmission risk.
Employers must ensure that they have the appropriate communication plan in place to inform employees of any updates regarding protocols in the workplace as well as any other information that is required by government.
Appoint a Compliance Manager
All employers must appoint a compliance manager at each of their workplaces who will be responsible for supervising and enforcing the compliance with the workplace plan, and all directives and regulations issued by government.