Coronavirus Disease 2019 Covid-19 at Workplaces

6 April 2020, Monday

The Department of Employment and
Labour has provided guidelines to deal with Covid-19 by employers.

Reference should be made to the OHSAct read with the Hazardous Biological Agents Regulations “Section 8(2)(b) requires steps such as may be reasonably practicable to eliminate or mitigate any hazard or potential hazard before resorting to personal protective equipment (PPE). However, in the case of COVID–19, a combination of controls is required, although the main principle is to follow the hierarchy of controls:-

  1. Engineering controls – isolating employees from work-related hazards,
    installing high-efficiency air filters, increasing ventilation rates in the
    work environment and installing physical barriers such as face shields to
    provide ventilation.
  2. Administrative
    controls
    – encouraging sick workers to stay at home; minimizing contact
    among workers, clients and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with
    virtual communications e.g. conference calls, Skype, etc.; minimising the
    number of workers on site at any given time e.g. rotation or shift work;
    discontinuing nonessential local and international travel; regularly check
    travel advice from the Department of Health at: www.health.gov.za;
    developing emergency communications plans, including a task team for answering
    workers’ concerns and internet-based communications, if feasible, providing
    workers with up-to-date education and training on COVID-19 risk factors and
    protective behaviours (e.g. cough etiquette and care of PPE); training workers
    who need to use protective clothing and equipment on how to put it on, use/wear
    it and take it off correctly, including in the context of their current and
    potential duties.
  3. Safe
    Work Practices
    – these include procedures for safe and proper work
    used to reduce the duration, frequency, or intensity of exposure to a hazard.
    Provide resources and a work environment that promotes personal hygiene. For
    example, no-touch refuse bins, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs containing at
    least 70 percent alcohol, disinfectants, and disposable towels for workers to
    clean their hands and their work surfaces, regular hand washing or using of
    alcohol-based hand rubs, and display handwashing signs in restrooms.
  4. Personal
    Protective Equipment (PPE)
    – while engineering and administrative controls are
    considered more effective in minimizing exposure to SARS-CoV-2, PPE may also be
    needed to prevent certain exposures. Examples of PPE include gloves, goggles,
    face shields, face masks, gowns, aprons, coats, overalls, hair and shoe covers
    and respiratory protection, when appropriate. Employers should check the NICD
    website regularly for updates about recommended PPE.

In the case of suspected exposure contact the
coronavirus hotline in South Africa: 0800 02 9999

Image result for corona virus

 For more information contact

Teboho Thejane, Departmental Spokesman

082 697 0694

Teboho.thejane@labour.gov.za