Title: Invitation of public comments on draft Ergonomics Regulations
Government Gazette Notice: GN R64 In GG 40578 of 27 January 2017
Commencing Date: Not yet specified

The Ministry of Labour gave notice of their intention to publish regulations pertaining to ergonomics in the workplace. Members of the public are invited to provide comments on these draft regulations within 90 days from 27 January 2017.

The term “Ergonomics” is proposed to be defined as “a scientific discipline concerned with the fundamental understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design in order to optimise human wellbeing and overall system performance”. These regulations shall apply to an employer or a self -employed person who carries out work at a workplace which may expose any person to physical or cognitive ergonomic risk factors in that workplace; and also to a person who designs, manufactures, erects, installs or supplies machinery, equipment or articles for use at work.

In terms of these draft regulations an employer must, before the commencement of any work which may expose employees to ergonomics risk factors, have an ergonomics risk assessment performed by a competent person. The employer will also have the duty to establish a training programme for all relevant employees or other persons exposed to ergonomic risks at the workplace. Training must be provided by a competent person. Specific requirements are also proposed pertaining to risk control and medical surveillance, amongst other things.

Any person who is exposed or may be exposed to ergonomic risk factors must obey any lawful instruction given to him or her by the employer or by anyone authorized thereto, regarding the management of ergonomical risks. Specific duties are also proposed to be put on designers, manufacturers and suppliers of machinery, equipment or articles for use at work.

So what for my operation?
If you contravene these regulations, once finalised, you will be guilty of an offence and liable upon conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a maximum of 12 months and, in the case of a continuous offense, not exceeding an additional fine of R200 or additional imprisonment of one day on which the offense continues, provided that the period of such additional imprisonment will not exceed 90 days. It is also in the best interest of your employees to ensure that ergonomical risks are managed adequately.

What is Shangoni’s approach?
Shangoni conducts legal compliance audits on compliance with ergonomic factors. Although we are not an approved inspection authority (AIA) focussing on hygiene risk assessments, our audits provide feedback on the effectiveness of existing controls, thereby assisting our clients in managing the risks associated with such and ensuring a safer work place.