Department of Labour inspections and your obligations as an employer

March 2020

We have seen an increase in the number of Department of Labour inspections in the medical sector lately. The prospect of such a visit may be a bit daunting but rest assured, Vizibiliti is on hand to guide you through the process.

The function of Labour Inspectors is to ensure compliance with labour legislation. A Labour Inspector can enter your workplace at any reasonable time to investigate and enforce compliance, but you generally will receive written notification of this routine inspection.

The inspector should be able to provide you with a signed certificate to identify themselves.  If they do not have this certificate you may deny them access until they can produce one.

Whilst employers want to comply, they don’t actually know where to start.

Here’s checklist of what the inspectors are looking for:

  1. Are you a registered employer?
  2. Are you registered with the Compensation Fund?
  3. Are you registered with the Unemployment Insurance Fund?
  4. Do you have a copy of the Health & Safety Act and the relevant Regulations on the premises and are the Act and the Regulations available to the workers if they want to read it?
  5. Do you display the Summary of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act?
  6. Do you display the Summary of the Employment Equity Act?
  7. Have you appointed Health and Safety Representatives?
  8. Have you established Health and Safety Committees in your workplace?
  9. Are you and your workers trained to recognise health and safety problems?
    • a. Are moving parts like drive belts and chains guarded?
    • b. Are chemicals used safely and stored in a safe place?
    • c. Are emergency exits clearly marked and easily accessible?
    • d. Are fire extinguishers accessible and serviced regularly?
    • e. Are flammable materials stored and used correctly, for instance not near fires?
  10. Do you have fully equipped first aid boxes on the premises?
  11. Are all electrical wires insulated and proper plugs used in your workplace?
  12. Do you report injuries at work to the Department of Labour?
  13. Do you have clean and hygienic toilets and washing facilities provided for males and females?
  14. Do you have an attendance register at your workplace?

Practices within a hospital will fall under the Health & Safety of the hospital but it is important that all individual practices are aware of what their obligations are in terms of this, particularly the emergency evacuation procedures.

In terms of the displaying of the Acts mentioned in points 5 and 6 above, workplaces that employ fewer than five employees are not required to display the Acts but must be able to provide a copy or have one saved electronically should an employee wish to refer to it.

We recommend that you have an area within your practice to display a summary of the Basic Conditions Act and the Employment Equity Act.  Please contact Vizibiliti for a list of providers of these summaries, should you wish to purchase them.

Other documents that you will need to have on hand for inspections are the following:

  • Contract of employment
  • Copy of a payslip
  • Company Registration documents

The inspector has a number of rights, which include the following:

  • The right to information relating to employment laws.
  • The right to make copies of documents.
  • The right to inspect and question you about any article, substance or machinery at the workplace.
  • The right to question you about the work you do.
  • The right to inspect or question you about documents relating to employment laws.

If the inspector removes any items from your workplace, he or she must acknowledge receipt and return it within a reasonable time.

If you fail any aspect of the inspection, the inspector will issue a compliance order and will explain to you what is required to ensure compliance within a specified timeframe. It is imperative that you meet these deadlines to avoid further prosecution.

Please do not hesitate to contact us, should you need any assistance or guidance with an upcoming Department of Labour Inspection.

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