NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NORMS AND STANDARDS
Title: National Health Act 61 of 2003: National Environmental Health Norms and Standards for Premises and Acceptable Monitoring Standards for Environmental Health Practitioners
Government Notice: GN 1229 in GG 39561 of 24 December 2015
Date of commencement: 1 July 2016
Potentially affected controls: Environmental health monitoring practice, facility inspections programs
The National Norms and Standards for Environmental Health is the outcome of a process that is aimed to strengthen the provision of environmental health services in the country. The process included extensive input from Environmental Health Practitioners at District and Metropolitan Municipalities, Provincial Departments of Health, Academic Institutions, and other Government Departments.
These Norms and Standards are premised on the fact that government recognizes the importance of disease prevention across all levels of health care. The Norms and Standards are therefore essential to strengthen the delivery of Environmental Health Services as a critical programme of preventive and developmental Primary Health Care services. This is also required to make a significant contribution to attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), particularly MDGs 4, 5, 6 and 7. The National Norms and Standards for Environmental Health clearly outline monitoring standards for the delivery of quality Environmental Health Services, as well as acceptable standards requirements for surveillance of premises, such as business, state occupied premises, and for prevention of environmental conditions that may constitute a health hazard for protection of public health.
The Norms and Standards for environmental health will be applicable to provincial and municipal levels of government where environmental and municipal health services are rendered. Norms and Standards for health surveillance of premises set out the requirements for premises and therefore are applicable to “premises” as defined in the National Health Act , including Points of entry. The norms and standards will be applicable from the date of issue by the Director- General of the National Department of Health. Exclusions and limitations to the scope of application of the norms and standards pertain to waste management, including:
• Domestic health care risk waste generators;
• Mining waste, which is monitored and controlled by the mining inspector appointed under the Mine, Health and Safety Act, 1996 (Act No. 29 of 1996) – Department of Minerals is excluded on the scope of application
• Explosives as defined in the Explosives Act, 1956 (Act No. 26 of 1956) are excluded in the scope of application, as they are regulated by the Department of Safety and Security;
• Radioactive waste-aspects on the handling of radioactive wastes in controlled areas are excluded on the scope of application, as access to controlled areas is only permitted to authorized personnel, patients and persons authorized by law; and
• Aspects on disposal of radioactive waste and the handling of radioactive wastes in controlled areas are excluded from the scope as they are dealt with in Regulation Relating to Group IV Hazardous Substances R247, framed under Hazardous Substances,1973 (Act No. 15 of 1973).
The following aspects (amongst others) are included in these norms and standards:
• Norms and standards for environmental health services
• Monitoring standards for Health Surveillance of Premises
• Monitoring standards for Rodent/Vector Control
• Monitoring standards for Environmental Pollution Control
• Monitoring standards for Port Health Services
• Monitoring standards for Waste Management
• Monitoring standards for Hazardous Substances Control and Chemical Safety
• Monitoring standards for Water Quality Monitoring