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On 11 June 2021, the Department of Employment and Labour issued an updated Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety (Directive) which, among other things, expressly permits an employer to implement a mandatory workplace vaccination policy subject to specific guidelines. When implementing a mandatory workplace vaccination policy, the Department has cautioned employers to ensure that the rights of employees to bodily integrity and religious freedoms and beliefs are considered.

What expected from a small business employer? Under the Department of Employment and Labour’s directive on Covid-19 vaccination in the workplace:

Give effect to minimum requirements of the Directive:

  • Specific circumstances of the workplace.

  • Requirements of the OHSA Regulations on Hazardous Biological Agents. Is company going to make vaccination mandatory? If so, identify employees that must be vaccinated.

Employees to be vaccinated will include:

  • Employees by virtue of risk of transmission through their work.

  • Risk or death due or comorbidities.

  • Consider operational requirements of the workplace.

Vaccination Plan:

  • Develop a plan or amend an existing plan.

Take into consideration:

  1. Outline protective measures for phased return of employees before opening

  2. Measures to implement vaccination.

  • Make Plan available to an Inspector of the Dept of Employment and Labour.

Plan must include:

  1. Date when workplace will open.

  2. Operating hour of business.

  3. List of employees permitted to return to work.

  4. List of employees required to work from home.

  5. Identify vulnerable employees.

  6. Plan and timetable for phased-in employees.

  7. Ways of minimising number of employees at any one time.

  8. Protective measures to be taken in terms of these Directives or any Sectoral Guideline.

  9. Measures of daily screening of employees, clients, contractors’ visitors to the workplace.

  10. Details of COVID19 Compliance Officer appointed.

  11. Procedure to resolve any issue that may arise from the exercise of an employee of the right to refuse to work.

  • Identification of employees:

  1. Employees by virtue of risk of transmission through their work.

  2. Risk or death due or comorbidities.

  • Process by which obligations in terms of these Directives are going to be complied with.

  • Plan is subject to any collective agreement that determines otherwise whether the Employee going to make it mandatory for employees identified to be vaccinated AS AND WHEN COVID-19 VACCINES BECOME AVAILABLE IN TERMS OF THOSE EMPLOYEES.

  • Employer to consider the right of employees to bodily integrity and the right to freedom of religion, belief and opinion in the Constitution of South Africa.

Compliance Hub’s OHS expert will gladly assist you with your Risk Assessment.

Article By:

William van Greunen: OHS Consultant - Compliance Hub

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