The Department of Employment and Labour says it is on the verge of employing 500 occupational health and safety (OHS) inspectors in a move that will bring major change to the workplace.
Tibor Szana, the department’s Chief Inspector, on Wednesday said this will require the department to broaden its scope of work by focusing on small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and the informal sector.
“In the next 10 years, health and hygiene will never be the same. We are clear about what we are about to do. When we look back, this will be a major turning point. We will be leveraging on the use of technologies to fulfil our objectives,” Szana said.
Szana was speaking during the first day of the department’s Occupational Health and Safety Conference. The conference, which ends on Friday, is being held in Ekurhuleni, Gauteng.
The theme of the conference is “Strategic co-operation to promote decent work and achieve ‘Vision Zero’ in occupational injuries and diseases”.
“We are doing all this to prepare for challenges that will be posed by the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” Szana said, adding that the health and safety profession was on the cusp of major change.
There are currently some 21 regulations governing the health and safety environments. Szana said these regulations will be of no value if the high accident environments persist.
The department’s Inspector-General, Aggy Moiloa, said decent work cannot be achieved without sound, safe and healthy environments.
Moiloa said every occupational incident is preventable.
“Workers have a right to work in an environment that is not harmful. Decent work cannot be achieved without sound, safe and healthy environment and when that gets compromised, productivity levels suffer.”
She cautioned that safety should not be done as a “by the way”, adding that employers should not be lured by the “short cut syndrome”.
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi and the department’s Director-General, Thobile Lamati, are expected to address the conference tomorrow. – SAnews.gov.za