COVID-19 HEALTH AND SAFETY MEASURES IN THE WORKPLACE

SCREENING FOR SYMPTOMS AN EMPLOYERS RESPONSIBILITY


An Employer must:


Screen any worker when they report for work to ascertain whether they have any of the symptoms associated with COVID-19.


Determine whether they suffer from any of the following additional symptoms: fever, body aches, redness of eyes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness, or tiredness.


Require workers to immediately inform them if they experience any of the symptoms while at work.


If a worker presents with COVID -19- related symptoms, or advises the Employer of these symptoms, the Employer must:


not permit the worker to enter the workplace or report for work, if the worker is already at work immediately:

  • Isolate the worker, provide the worker with a surgical mask and arrange for the worker to be transported in a manner that does not place other workers or members of the public at risk either to be self-isolated or to be referred for a medical examination or testing.

  • Assess the risk of transmission, disinfect the area and the worker's workstation, undertake contact tracing, and refer those workers who may be at risk for screening and take any other appropriate measure to prevent possible transmission.

  • Place its employee on paid sick leave in terms of section 22 of the BCEA or if the employee's sick leave entitlement under the section is exhausted, make application for an illness benefit in terms of clause 4 of the Directive issued on 25 March 2020 on the COVID-19 Temporary Employer Relief Scheme under regulation 10(8) of the Regulations promulgated in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act.

  • Ensure that the employee is not discriminated against on grounds of having tested positive for COVID-19.

  • If there is evidence that the worker contracted COVID-19 arising out of and in the course of employment, lodge a claim for compensation in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act No. 130 of 1993) in accordance with Notice 193 published on 3 March 2020.

If a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and isolated in accordance with the Department of Health Guidelines, an employer may only allow a worker to return to work on the following conditions:

  • The worker has completed the mandatory 14 days of self-isolation.

  • The worker has undergone a medical evaluation confirming fitness to work if the worker had moderate or severe illness.

  • The Employer ensures that personal hygiene, wearing of masks, social distancing, and cough etiquette is strictly adhered to by the worker.

  • The employer closely monitors the worker for symptoms on return to work; and

  • The worker wears a surgical mask for 21 days from the date of diagnosis.

If a worker has been in contact in the workplace with another worker who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the employer must assess that worker's exposure in accordance with the Department of Health's Guidelines to ascertain whether the exposure carries a high or low risk of transmission between the workers.

  • the worker must remain in quarantine for 10 days: and

  • the employer of that worker must place the worker on sick leave in accordance with clause 27.3 Disaster Management Act for that period.

If you are an Employer, and you are not sure if you are meeting all the OHS protocols to COVID - 19, CONTACT US TODAY!


Article by William van Greunen

OHS Specialist Consultant.

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