The Government has not yet published the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations with the requirements that apply to employers who may commence operations under Level 4 lock down on 1 May 2020.
There may not be enough time available for employers to prepare for the resumption of operations on 1 May, therefore SHEQ Solve have compiled a list of the minimum requirements which we believe employers will have to comply with, as a basis for the proposed measures likely to be affected by Government.
Please note that FINAL REGULATIONS ARE STILL PENDING!
Please remember that you will still need to continue with all Occupational Health and Safety activities in your workplace, apart from those suggested in the following requirements.
Before any employee is exposed or may be exposed to HBA and after consultation with the health and safety team established for the section of the workplace, ensure that the employee is adequately and comprehensively informed and trained on both practical aspects and theoretical knowledge with regards the following requirements, according to the current information and relevant regulations, be compulsory in every Level 4 workplace:
Employers need to go back to basics, re-assess their daily activities, and identify the risk in order to implement social distancing in their activities.
Personal Hygiene Policy
- All employees should regularly wash their hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds – (Hum the Happy Birthday song twice)
- NO physical contact is allowed between employees or employees and visitors /clients like handshakes and/or hugs …
- Employees should sanitize their hands regularly with alcohol-based hand sanitizer, with an alcohol content of at least 70%, after contact with any person or after contact with frequently touched surfaces;
- Employees must cough into the fold of their elbow or in a tissue which must be discarded in a waste bin immediately, and wash their hands immediately
- Employees must avoid touching their face: eyes, nose, and mouth.
Things to consider:
- Disinfect your hands – think of what is in your pocket or what you are holding in your hands (Cell phone; Handbag; wallet; key)
- Feet walking into facility
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The employer will be compelled to introduce a COVID-19 PPE policy in respect to all employees and visitors to the workplace, and to provide PPE, as to be determined by the regulations. We propose, in preparation, to introduce the following PPE measures in the workplace:
- the issuing of masks to all employees – all employees must wear these masks;
- the employer may not allow any visitor to enter the workplace without the proper PPE as per the regulations and/or the employers’ policy;
- the employer should inform all visitors that they are to provide their own PPE in order to enter the workplace, alternatively, issue all visitors with the required PPE;
- the employer should train employees on the correct use, necessary hygiene practices and proper disposal of PPE in order to avoid cross-contamination from PPE to the user’s hands or clothes;
- supervisors should monitor and enforce wearing, sanitizing and disposal of the appropriate PPE;
- the employer should perform non-invasive temperature testing of all employees and visitors upon entering the premises.
Social distancing measures
It is probable that the regulations will enforce social distancing measures in the workplace, as social distancing is one of the main strategies in preventing the spread of the virus. Employers will likely be expected to implement the following measures:
- employees must practice social distancing of at least 1.5 to 2 meters away from any other person in all circumstances;
- the employer should introduce staggered tea and lunch breaks to avoid a gathering of people and should also enforce social distancing protocols during these breaks;
- the employer should adopt and enforce a policy to avoid face to face meetings and, where possible, conduct meetings via electronic platforms (such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams);
- the employer should, where possible, adopt a work from home policy, particularly in respect of vulnerable employees;
- the use of paper towels on door handles, handrails and other commonly touched surfaces should be enforced;
- the employer should implement measures for the regular cleaning of the office and commonly touched areas;
- the employer should introduce rules confining employees to their workstation, wherever possible.
The employer must enforce a strict ‘no travel for business purposes’ policy, subject to the exceptions as per the regulations, i.e. cargo that may be moved across provincial borders.
Policies and procedures to be implemented in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak in the workplace:
- the employer must develop a policy and protocol which is to be implemented when a case of COVID-19 infection has been detected in the workplace. It is not yet clear what this protocol will contain as the Government has not yet provided guidance on this issue;
- the employer should train employees on their responsibilities and the relevant procedures in terms of the protocol;
- employers should use a checklist to make sure they comply with all the OHS requirements.
On request a COVID-19 Pack with documents & checklist will be provided as part of a toolkit that SHEQ Solve will sell. The aim is to allow the Employer to edit and make use of the COVID-19 Toolkit to make it site-specific.
It is strongly advised that a dedicated manager should be identified to monitor and enforce compliance with all of the above and SHEQ Solve can provide you with services to guide your company.