The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill aims to extensively amend the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Please note, it is NOT an actual amendment, but merely proposes changes to the Act.
Strangely enough the Bill does not call for comments as it only states that it was published for information. It is suspected that a formal call for comment will follow.
As the proposed amendments are far too many to summarise here we are only furnishing a brief overview of the more salient features.
- Employers will be required to conduct workplace specific risk assessments. Currently the Act and its various Regulations only refer to risk assessments, but not workplace specific risk assessments.
- Section 37A (which is new) introduces administrative fines which may be issued by an inspector. Schedule 2 of the Bill sets out the amounts (depending on which section is contravened), and the maximum administrative fine is R 50 000.
- Section 37B (which is also new) deals with the criminal liability of an employer, CEO, manager, agent or employee where any person dies, becomes permanently disabled or suffers an illness.
- Section 37B further states that the CEO, manager, agent or employer commits an offence by performing or omitting to perform an act, if this falls within the scope of authority or employment of the employer or employee concerned.
- Schedule 1 of the Bill sets out the fines and prison sentences that may be imposed for various transgressions, and it is important to note that these can be up to R 5 million or 5 years imprisonment. Currently this is only R 50 000 and/or one year.
- It is also proposed to amend section 43 of the Act to make provision that contraventions of Regulations under the Act can carry a fine of R 5 million or imprisonment of 5 years or both. It is unsure why a conviction in terms of a Regulation can carry a fine as well as imprisonment, whereas a contravention of the Act results in only either a fine or imprisonment. This is probably an oversight and may well be amended in future.
A copy of the Bill can be downloaded under the following link: The Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bill