Free State targets farms in blitz inspections

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Department of Labour in the Free State has conducted inspections at a number of farms in Bothaville as part of its Workers’ Month campaign. 

Green Park, Yukon and Stols farms were visited by labour inspectors from the Inspection and Enforcement Services Directorate of the department.  

Out of three farms inspected, only Yukon farm was found to be in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company failed to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to its employees. Its electrical installations did not conform to safety regulations, as their distribution boxes were not covered and labelled, and loose wires were lying around the workplace.  

There were no proper safety signs and notices in terms of safety standards.  The employer’s incident register was there just for compliance purposes but no incidents were recorded on the register, while there were incidents that took place in the workplace.  

Contravention notices were then served to the employer and they will be required to rectify all the non-compliances within 60 days. 

The other two companies -- Green Park and Stols farms -- were found to be compliant with all provisions of labour laws.  

“We would really like to commend those employers, who are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that they comply with our labour legislations.  

“In the same token, we call on those who are still lagging behind to follow suit or face the full might of the law.  

“It is inconceivable and mind-boggling that in this day and age, we still have employers who are disregarding labour laws and therefore putting the safety of their workers in jeopardy,” said Nomfundo Douw-Jack, the head of the Department of Labour in the Free State. 

Empowering farm workers 

Coupled with these inspections were advocacy sessions, where workers were taken through different pieces of labour legislation and the services of the Department of Labour.  

Workers were also afforded an opportunity to tell the department their challenges.

This is part of pro-active measures the department adopted to ensure that its interventions are in keeping with the issues, concerns and suggestions made by workers who are, in turn, the end users of the services of the department. 

“It is required by law that you give your employer notice of termination of service, should you get another job elsewhere.  

“You need to give the employer a one-week, two-week and a one-month notice if you worked for such employer for zero to six months, six to 12 months, and one or more years respectively,” Ishmael Nala, a labour inspector, told workers. 

Workers were also taken through other provisions of Sectoral Determination 13, the farm worker sector, which stipulates the different types of leave employees are entitled to, hours of work and the need to have written particulars of employment with their respective employers. –

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