Health and Safety

Employer Cares

The principal legislation that regulates OSH in Malawi is the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act, 1997. The Act regulates conditions of employment in workplaces with regard to safety, health and welfare of employees. The Act imposes duties on employers, self-employed, other persons in control of premises, manufacturers and suppliers. 

It is the duty of every employer to ensure the safety, health and welfare at work of all his employees. The employer is required to prepare and revise a written statement of his general policy with respect to the safety and health at workplace of his employees, and the organization and arrangements for the time being in force for carrying out that policy, and to bring the statement and any revision of it to the notice of all of his employees. Employers also have a duty to provide information, instruction, training and supervision to ensure the safety and health at work of his employees. 

With regard to first aid, the employer must provide and maintain a first aid box or cupboard of the prescribed standard which is readily accessible and must make arrangements for ensuring the removal for medical attention of employees who have suffered an accident or sudden illness. Similarly, the law requires the employer to provide sufficient and suitable sanitary conveniences for persons employed in the workplace, which must be maintained and kept clean, and effective provision should also be made for lighting the conveniences and, where persons of both sexes are or are intended to be employed, such conveniences are required to afford proper separate accommodation with a distinct approach for persons of each sex.

Other responsibilities which the law imposes on the employer is to provide the workplace with an adequate supply of clean and potable drinking water, to ensure that there are a sufficient number of seats of the use of the employees and to create and maintain suitable facilities where employees may prepare and consume their meals.

Source: §13, 22, and 26-32 of the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1997

Free Protection

Every employer must provide, for the use of employees at a workplace, adequate and suitable accommodation for hanging or stowing personal clothing not worn during working hours, and where protective clothing is provided to employees. Where in any workplace workers are employed in any process involving excessive exposure to heat, cold, noise, wet or to any injurious or offensive substance, or any welding process, suitable protective clothing and appliances (suitable gloves, footwear, screens, goggles, ear muffs and head covering) should be provided and maintained at no cost to the employee for the use of such workers.

Source: §58 of the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1997

Training

Every worker in a workplace is required to be adequately and suitably instructed and trained in the measures available for prevention and control and protection against health hazards at the workplace. All information, instruction and must be given in a language understood by the worker. In such training, written, oral, visual and participative approaches should be used to ensure that the worker assimilates the information, instruction or training.

Source: §65 of the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1997

Labour Inspection System

The OSH law regulates the labour inspection and mandates the appointment of labor inspectors. An inspector has for the purpose of administering, monitoring, and enforcing the provisions of the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act, the power to enter, inspect and examine without prior notice, at all reasonable times a workplace, and every part thereof, when he has reasonable cause to believe that any person is employed therein. He/she can require the production of the registers, certificates, notices and documents kept and inspect, examine and take copies of any of such documents.

In addition, the inspectors may interview any person, either alone or in the presence of any other person related to the workplace and also have powers to issue improvement and prohibition notices which can direct that the activities may cease unless the matters specified in the notice and any contravention of specified provisions or regulations have been remedied.

Source: §72-77 of the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1997

Regulations on Health and Safety

  • Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act 1997
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