DISASTER MANAGEMENT ACT, 2002 (ACT NO. 57 OF 2002): CODE OF PRACTICE: MANAGING EXPOSURE TO SARS-COV-2 IN THE WORKPLACE, 2022
Notice Title: Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002 (“DMA”): Code of Practice: Managing exposure to SARS-COV-2 in the Workplace, 2022
Government Notice: GN 1876 in GG 46043 on 15 February 2022 / GN 1896 in GG 46058 on 15 March 2022
Commencing date: Lapse of the Declaration of a National State of Disaster
The Minister of Employment and Labour (“the Minister”) gives notice that the Code of Good Practice: Managing Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the Workplace (“the Code”), after consideration by NEDLAC in terms of section 203(2A) of the Labour Relations Act, 66 of 1995 (“LRA”) will take effect on the date of the lapsing of the Declaration of a National State of Disaster declared under GNR 313 of 15 March 2020 and extended in terms of section 27(2) of the DMA.
A purpose of this Code is to guide employers and employees in managing exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the workplace by providing guidance to employers and employees in –
- conducting or updating a risk assessment in terms of the OHSA and the HBA in respect of SARS-CoV-2 exposure;
- developing a plan to limit infection, transmission and mitigate the risks of serious illness or death on the basis of that risk assessment;
- implementing the plan;
- managing absence from work due to infection, isolation and adverse effects of vaccination;
- seeking to accommodate employees who refuse or fail to vaccinate against SARS-CoV-2 .
Another purpose of this Code is to require any person interpreting an employment law to take this Code into account in respect of any matter arising from its application. This includes employees, trade unions, employers, employers’ organisations, inspectors, conciliators, arbitrators and judges.
Please note that there is a limited application of the Code to mines, mining areas and works, as far as it relates to the vaccination of employees as stipulated in section 18 of the Code.
The Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents, 2022 (“HBAR”) list coronavirus as a listed hazardous biological agent, classed as Group 3. It therefore places legal responsibilities on employers in respect of employers to limit the exposure and mitigate the risks of infection by SARS-CoV-2.
For a copy of the Government Gazette Notice click here.
How to ensure compliance at my operations?
On the expiry of the declaration of the national state of disaster, the current Regulations and the Direction will cease to have legal effect. Employers must use the Code as guidance in implementing measures to prevent and mitigate the risks associated with SARS-CoV-2 exposure in the workplace.
The Code is intentionally general because workplaces and their requirements differ. Accordingly, departures from the non-obligatory provisions of the Code may be justified in appropriate circumstances. Any employer or employee who departs from them must demonstrate justifiable reasons for doing so.
For assistance or queries please contact Corrie Potgieter at email@example.com.