Health and Safety

Employer Cares

In the labour Act, 2007, it has been expressly stated that the working environment is to be safe. It should not be a risk to the health of employees and the establishment must have adequate facilities and arrangements for the welfare of employees. The machinery is to be maintained without any risk to the employees. Safe entry and exit entrances are to be provided. Employees are to be given protective clothing where necessary. Information and training is to be provided for a safe work environment. Storage and handling of substances should be without risk to the employees. Instructions should be provided and there is to be proper supervision. Organization of work including mealtimes and hours of work should not affect the health or safety of workers. Any other step for the safety, health and welfare of the employees can also be adopted by the employer.

Source: §39 of the Labour Act, 2007

Free Protection

Under the Regulations relating to Health and Safety of Employees at Work, 1997, all safety equipment and facilities, including personal protective equipment and clothing must be supplied free of charge.

Similarly, in the Regulations relating to Domestic Workers, an employer must provide the domestic worker a uniform and appropriate personal protective equipment.

Source: Regulation 2(6)(b) of Regulations relating to Health and Safety of Employees at Work, 1997 and Regulation 10(1) of Regulations relating to Domestic Workers, 2017

Training

Under the Regulations related to the Health and Safety of Employees at Work, 1997, every employee is to be provided training in the tasks he/she is expected to perform including all aspects of health and safety related to such tasks so that the employee is able to take reasonable care of his or her own safety and of fellow employees.

If an employee’s scope of employment has changed or he/she will be performing different tasks or tasks which differ from before, then the employer is required to provide the employee with all the necessary information and training for the additional tasks. Furthermore, the employee is to be instructed in all aspects concerning health and safety related to such tasks. All of this has to be done before the employee starts performing the tasks.

Under the Regulations relating to Domestic Workers, 2017, a worker must be provided training concerning possible hazards relating to work duties including potentially dangerous equipment and toxic substances, proper use and maintenance of personal protective equipment and safe work techniques relating to domestic work.

Sources: Regulation 2(3) & (4) of Regulations related to the Health and Safety of Employees at Work, 1997 and Regulation 10(1)(c) of Regulations relating to Domestic Workers, 2017.

Labour Inspection System

The Labour Act, 2007 prescribes the procedure and functions of the labour inspectors. The Minister for labour can appoint labour inspectors to enforce the aforementioned Act. The Permanent Secretary of Labour must then issue a certificate to the labour inspector confirming his/her appointment.

The labour inspector can, at a reasonable time, enter any premises. He can direct that the premises or part of it may not be disturbed so as to carry out a search more effectively. He/she can examine any book, document or object relevant for the administration of the above-mentioned Act. Any book, document or object can be copied and/or seized. A sample from an object or the atmosphere can also be taken as well as measurements, readings, recordings or photographs. Furthermore, the labour inspector can question any individual on the premises. The labour inspector can also assist any person in making an application, referral or compliant and can also settle the matter.

Where the Labour Inspector has reasonable grounds to believe that an employer has not complied with the provisions of Labour Act, 2007 then he/she may issue a compliance order. Any person who obstructs a labour inspector in the performance of his/her functions, intentionally does not provide an answer to the labour inspector’s question, intentionally provides false and misleading information to the labour inspector, fails to comply with the compliance order or falsely claims to be a labour inspector, then such a person would be liable to a fine not exceeding N$10,000 or imprisonment for up to two years or both.

Source: §123-127 of the Labour Act, 2007

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