Occupational Health and Safety in the workplace (OHS)
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Legislation pertaining to general health, safety and environmental issues
Support systems and emergency services available.
The information sources available to maintain and improve awareness of the need for good housekeeping and health in the work place.
Safety, health and environmental awareness.
Potential safety, health and environmental hazards resulting from poor practices.
The complete range of assigned safety, health and environmental housekeeping duties
Hygiene issues in the workplace.
More about the Occupational Health and Safety
"The Occupational Health and Safety Act aims to provide for the health and safety of persons at work and for the health and safety of persons in connection with the activities of persons at work and to establish an advisory council for occupational health and safety."
(Department of Labour,2016,http://www.labour.gov.za/)
Employees need to be informed and trained about the OHS regulations and what is expected of them in the work place. No employee just knows the OHS requirements since the day they start working. Plenty employees have never even been trained or informed and training is normally only done once there has been an incident at the workplace. Having trained employees will ensure that the business will operate smooth and workplace related injuries and incidents will by minimized if not avoided. Its important that employees understand how to report to superiors should their been any activities or situations that could lead to workplace related injuries. Often employees dont report to their superiors and they feel that they might be targeted and victimized should they point out a poor workplace environment.
The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) guideline has been developed and amended over the years to protect the employer and the employees with regards to their workplace environment. This guideline outlines the responsibilities of both the employee and employer in the workplace. It explains the definition and responsibilities of the counsels, the importance of a job description (Listed work), the duties and responsibilities to inform employees, importance of not interfering / damaging / misusing equipment, general duties of employees at work, the duties of the chief officer, how to report incidents, how to report victimization, how to perform inspections, how to conduct workplace investigations, what is and the importance of Health and Safety Committees, what is a Health and safety representative, Appeal against decision of inspector, Exemptions, Regulations , the serving of a notice, and Conflict of provisions in the workplace.
What is an accident?
An Accident is an undesired event caused by unsafe acts or unsafe conditions that cause physical harm or has the potential for harm or the potential for loss.
This could be a caused by a lack of knowledge. In short this means that the worker was not trained to do his/her job properly and safely.
The worker is not fit to do the job properly or he /she is not capable of doing the job safely. It cannot be expected for a code 14 drivers to perform a brain operation on a patient. The person working in a wood and coal business should be a person who is able to pick up heavy objects and therefore should be a strong person
Tools and Equipment
Tools and equipment used in the kitchen such as knifes, blenders, stoves, refrigeration, microwave ovens, food processors, extraction fans, and many more can be potential dangers if not properly operated. Safe working procedures must therefore be introduced for each and every task in the profession of the worker for the task to be performed.
Working with Substances
From time to time we may be working with a substance that has certain potential dangers and we need to know how to handle store or transport these substances.
We should always treat all substances we come into contact with, with extreme care. Always find out how to handle the substance before an accident or an incident occurs involving the substance. Once the incident occurs it is to late to try and find out what to do.
Hazards and risks
The OHS Act defines a hazard as “a source of or exposure to danger” and a risk as”the probability that injury or damage will occur.” Each hazard thus has risk(s) involved. If you don’t disconnect the electricity supply before working on an electrical appliance you run the risk of being electrocuted.
The degree of risk involved varies according to the situation. When using a sharp knife to peel an apple, a two year old toddler will run a much greater risk of cutting himself than an adult performing the same exercise.
Definition of housekeeping
Hygiene facilities to be kept clean
All aisles and storage areas clearly marked
Good stacking and storage practices
Stacked goods must not endanger life
Factory yards must be kept tidy
All refuse to be placed in bins
Unfortunately we all work in industries that have potential hazards to health and safety which could result in accidents and occupational diseases; where people can get injured, disabled or even killed.
No matter how aware we all are of the health and safety factors related to our tasks, we will never be able to eliminate incidents or accidents completely.
The above is true because we must consider that the human factor as well as environmental factors, plays a big role in the causes of accidents.
Human beings are of nature lazy and will always look for a short cut to complete a task or assignment and we will often “get away with it”, but then we will run out of luck, and someone will get hurt or killed.
General duties of Employers
The Employer must provide and maintain all the equipment that is necessary to do the work, and all the systems according to which work must be done, in a condition that will not affect the Health and Safety of workers.
Before personal protective equipment may be used, the employer must first try to reduce any danger that may affect the Health and Safety of his workers. Only when this is not practicable, should he resort to personal protective equipment.
The employer must take measures to protect his or her workers’ Health and Safety against hazards that may result from the production, processing, use, handling, storage or transporting of articles or substances, in other words, anything that workers may come into contact with at work.
General Duties of the Employee in the workplace
Take care of his or her own health and safety, as well as that of fellow workers in the workplace, who may be affected by his/her actions or negligence to act. This includes playing at work. Many people have been injured and even killed due to horseplay in the workplace, and that is considered a serious contravention.
Where the Act imposes a duty or requirements on the worker, to cooperate with the employer.
Give information to an inspector from the Department of Labour if he or she should require it.
Carry out any lawful instruction which the employer or authorised person prescribes with regard to Health and Safety.
Comply with the rules and procedures that the employer gives him or her.
Wear the prescribed safety clothing or the prescribed safety equipment where required.
Report unsafe or unhealthy conditions to the employer or Health and Safety Representative as soon as possible
If he or she is involved in an accident or incident that may influence his or her health, report it to the employer or authorized person or the Health and Safety Representative as soon as possible, but not later than the end of his or her shift.
PPE in the freight industry
Typical protective clothing in the freight industry could include:
Head Protection: e.g. hard hats
Eye and Face Protection: e.g. safety goggles
Hand Protection: e.g. gloves, welding shields
Foot protection: e.g. safety shoes
Protective clothing: e.g. overalls, waterproof clothing and high visibility clothing
Typical protective equipment in the freight industry could include:
Fire extinguishers and fire hoses
Guards on moving parts of machinery
Warning gauges in machinery and vehicles
Gates for access control, etc.