The Covid-19 pandemic regulations have placed extensive and cumbersome obligations on employers who are permitted to resume operations under lockdown Alert Level 4.
These regulations are accompanied by some draconian penalties as stipulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
According to the OHS Act, the following penalties apply to non-compliance: “Any employer who does or omits to do an act, thereby causing any person to be injured at a workplace, or, in the case of a person employed by him, to be injured at any place in the course of his employment, or any user of plant or machinery who does or omits to do an act in connection with the use of plant or machinery, thereby causing any person to be injured, shall be guilty of an offence if that employer or user of plant or machinery, as the case may be, would in respect of that act or omission have been guilty of the offence of culpable homicide had that act or omission caused the death of the said person, irrespective of whether the injury could have led to the death of such person, and on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding R100 000 or to imprisonment not exceeding 2 years or to both such fine and such imprisonment.”
Although the safety of employees are of paramount importance, the Covid-19 epidemic and consequent lockdown have had serious implications for employers who will battle to start up even without these regulations being imposed on them.
One would have expected a more assistance and guidance centered approach towards the entities that are the creators of employment in South Africa.
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