OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT

Arrangement of Sections

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY

   1.   Short title

   2.   Interpretation

   3.   Application

PART II
THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY INSTITUTE

   4.   Establishment of Institute

   5.   Seal of Institute

   6.   Functions of Institute

   7.   Constitution of Board

   8.   Functions of Board

   9.   Director

   10.   Deputy Director and other staff

PART III
HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMITTEES

   11.   Duty of employer to establish health and safety committees

   12.   Composition of health and safety committees

   13.   Functions of health and safety committees

   14.   Health and safety representatives

PART IV
HEALTH AND SAFETY AT WORKPLACES

   15.   Determination of what is reasonably practicable

   16.   Duties of employers to employees

   17.   Duties of employees at workplaces

   18.   Duties of employers and self-employed to persons other than employees

   19.   Duties of a persons in control of workplace or plant

   20.   Duties of designers, manufacturers, suppliers and importers

   21.   Duties of architect and engineer

   22.   Compliance with standards

   23.   Duty not to interfere with, or misuse, things

   24.   Prohibition of dismissal or victimisation of employee

PART V
ENFORCEMENT PROVISIONS

   25.   Designation of authorised officers

   26.   Powers of authorised officers

   27.   Notice of contravention

   28.   Appeals Board

   29.   Prohibition of disclosure or publication of information

PART VI
THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICES

   30.   Designation of occupational health and safety service

   31.   Returns and Statistics

   32.   Health and safety policy

PART VII
GENERAL PROVISIONS

   33.   Exemptions

   34.   General penalty

   35.   General offences

   36.   Offences by body corporate or unincorporate body

   37.   Institute to issue guidelines

   38.   Regulations

   39.   Savings and transitional provisions

      FIRST SCHEDULE

      SECOND SCHEDULE

AN ACT

to establish the Occupational Health and Safety Institute and provide for its functions; provide for the establishment of health and safety committees at workplaces and for the health, safety and welfare of persons at work; provide for the duties of manufacturers, importers and suppliers of articles, devices, items and substances for use at work; provide for the protection of persons, other than persons at work, against risks to health or safety arising from, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work; and provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

[19th November, 2010]

Act 36 of 2010.

PART I
PRELIMINARY

1.   Short title

This Act may be cited as the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

2.   Interpretation

   (1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

“Appeals Board” means the Appeals Board established under section 28;

“article” means—

      (a)   any plant designed for use or operation, whether exclusively or not, by persons at a workplace; or

      (b)   any article designed for use as a component in any plant;

“authorised officer” means an officer designated as such by the Director under section 25;

“Board” means the Occupational Health and Safety Board constituted under section 7;

“Chairperson” means the person appointed as Chairperson of the Board under sub-section (2) of section 7;

“committee” means a committee established under paragraph 2 of the Schedule;

“construct” includes building, erection, excavation, alteration, repair, renovation, dismantling, demolition, structural maintenance, painting, land clearing, earth moving, grading, street and highway building, connecting, equipment installation and alteration and the structural installation of construction components and materials in any form or for any purpose, and any work in connection therewith;

“Deputy Director” means the person appointed as Deputy Director of the Institute under section 10;

“Director” means the person appointed as Director of the Institute under section 9;

“effective supplier” means the person who supplies an article for use at work to a person through an ostensible supplier;

“employee” means—

      (a)   any person, excluding an independent contractor, who works for another person, whether incorporated or not, or for a government agency, and who receives, or is entitled to receive, any remuneration; or

      (b)   any other person who in any manner assists in carrying on or conducting the business of an employer;

“employer” means any person—

      (a)   who employs or provides work for another person and who remunerates or expressly or tacitly undertakes to remunerate that other person; or

      (b)   who permits any other person in any manner to assist in the carrying on or conducting of the person’s business, including any person acting on behalf of, or on the authority of, such employers;

“health and safety representative” means a health and safety representative elected under section 14;

“Institute” means the Occupational Health and Safety Institute established under section 4;

“member” means a member of the Board;

“occupation” means any employment, business, calling, pursuit, vocation or profession;

“occupational hygiene” means the physical conditions, agents, materials or substances present in a working or community environment, which may cause sickness, impaired health and well-being, or significant discomfort and inefficiency, among employees or among other persons;

“occupational disease or injury” means a disease or injury contracted or suffered as a result of one’s employment or by such disease or injury as the Minister may prescribe, by statutory instrument;

“occupational health and safety service” means a service organised for the purpose of—

      (a)   protecting employees against any health or safety hazard which may arise out of their work or the conditions in which the work is carried on;

      (b)   contributing towards the employees’ physical and mental adjustment, to the employees’ adaptation to their work and to their assignment to work for which they are suited; and

      (c)   contributing to the establishment and maintenance of the highest possible degree of physical and mental wellbeing of the employees;

“ostensible supplier” means the person who acts as a middleman between the effective supplier and the person to whom an article for use at work is supplied and who facilitates the supply of the article;

“plant” includes any machinery, equipment or appliances, tools and anything which is used in connection with a plant or premises;

“premises” includes—

      (a)   any vehicle, vessel, aircraft or hovercraft;

      (b)   any installation on land, including the foreshore and other land intermittently covered by water and any other installation, whether floating or resting on other land covered with water or subsoil; and

      (c)   any tent, or movable structure;

“self-employed person” means any person who on their own, or in partnership or association with any other person, is engaged in an occupation and who receives from the proceeds of that occupation any emolument other than a dividend;

“standard” means a specification or code of practice for an explicit set of requirements for an item, material, component, system or service and includes—

      (a)   a test method to describe a definitive procedure which produces a test result; and

      (b)   a procedure that gives a set of instructions for performing operations or functions;

which is declared under the Standards Act or any other written law to be a voluntary or compulsory standard;

“substance” means any natural or artificial substance, whether in solid, liquid, gas or vapour form;

“substance for use at work” means any substance intended for use, whether exclusively or not, by persons at work;

“supply” in relation to the supply of articles or substances, means supplying articles or substances by way of sale, lease, hire or hire purchase, whether as principal or agent;

“Vice-Chairperson” means the person appointed as Vice-Chairperson of the Board under sub-section (2) of section 7;

“welfare at work” means aspects of welfare at a workplace which relate to the health and safety of employees;

“workplace” means—

      (a)   in relation to a health and safety representative, any place where the group of employees that the health and safety representative represents work, or are likely to work, or are likely to frequent, in the course of their employment or incidental to their employment; and

      (b)   in relation to employees, any place where the employees work or are likely to work, or which they frequent or are likely to frequent in the course of their employment or incidental to it; and

“Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board” means the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board established under the Workers’ Compensation Act, 1999.

   (2) For the purposes of this Act, risks arising out of, or in connection with, the activities of persons at work, includes risks attributable to the manner of conducting an undertaking, a plant or substance used for the purposes of an undertaking or the condition of the premises or part of the premises used for the purposes of an undertaking.

3.   Application

This Act applies to all places of work, except as otherwise provided by this Act.

PART II
THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY INSTITUTE

4.   Establishment of Institute

   (1) There is hereby established the Occupational Health and Safety Institute, which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and of being sued in its corporate name, and with power, subject to this Act, to do all such acts and things as a body corporate may, by law, do or perform.

   (2) The Schedule applies to the Institute.

5.   Seal of Institute

   (1) The seal of the Institute shall be such device as the Board may determine and shall be kept by the Secretary.

   (2) The affixing of the seal shall be authenticated by the Chairperson or the Vice-Chairperson and the Secretary or one other member authorised in that behalf by a resolution of the Board.

   (3) Any document purporting to be a document under the seal of the Institute or issued on behalf of the Institute shall be received in evidence and shall be deemed to be executed or issued, as the case may be, by the Institute without further proof, unless the contrary is proved.

6.   Functions of Institute

The functions of the Institute are to—

      (a)   develop and implement programs to provide incentives for employers to implement measures to eliminate or reduce risks to health or safety or to improve occupational hygiene, occupational health and safety;

      (b)   investigate and detect occupational diseases and injuries at workplaces;

      (c)   conduct medical examinations for occupational health and safety purposes catering for all industries including agriculture and construction;

      (d)   provide an occupational laboratory service;

      (e)   promote studies and carry out investigations and research on occupational health and safety;

      (f)   prepare and maintain statistics on employees morbidity and mortality;

      (g)   conduct and encourage awareness educational programmes relating to the promotion of occupational health and safety; and

      (h)   carry out such other functions as are necessary or incidental to the performance of its functions under this Act.

7.   Constitution of Board

   (1) There is hereby constituted an Occupational Health and Safety Board which shall comprise the following part-time members appointed by the Minister—

      (a)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for agriculture;

      (b)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for health;

      (c)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for labour;

      (d)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for livestock;

      (e)   a representative of the Ministry responsible for mines;

      (f)   a representative of the Attorney-General;

      (g)   a representative of the Federation of Employers;

      (h)   a representative of a trade union;

      (i)   the Director, as ex-officio member; and

      (j)   two other persons.

   (2) The Minister shall appoint the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson from amongst the members of the Board.

   (3) A member shall hold office for a period of three years from the date of appointment and may be re-appointed for a further term of three years.

   (4) A member may resign from the Board upon giving one month’s notice, in writing, to the Minister.

   (5) The office of a member shall become vacant—

      (a)   upon the member’s death;

      (b)   if the member is absent, without reasonable excuse, from three consecutive meetings of the Board of which the member has had notice;

      (c)   if the member is declared bankrupt;

      (d)   if the member becomes mentally or physically incapable of performing duties as a member;

      (e)   upon the expiry of one month’s notice of the member’s intention to resign; or

      (f)   if the member is convicted of an offence under this Act or any other written law and has been sentenced therefor to imprisonment for a period exceeding six months without the option of a fine.

   (6) Whenever the office of a member becomes vacant before the expiry of the term of office, the Minister may appoint another member in place of the member who vacates office but that member shall hold office only for the unexpired part of the term.

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