Level 4 lockdown: returning to work regulations
On the 1st of May, the national lockdown was eased to level 4. This meant that more industries were granted permission to return to work; however, under strict regulations. It is absolutely vital for employers and employees to adhere to these regulations as the health of all those working at the company directly depends on it.
Since the easing of the lockdown, over 1.5 million workers were expected to return to work. To ensure that workplaces are safe and minimise the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus regulations have been provided which all businesses must obey. According to the Disaster Management Act of 2002, which has been modified for the current pandemic, the following regulations must be adhered to when returning to work:
- Organisations must draw up a return to work plan. This will include the date the company will open as well as it’s operating hours, a timetable entailing the phased return to work of employees, the steps taken to prepare the workplace and a list of those working remotely or who cannot return to work as they are vulnerable to the virus.
- Inspections at all workplaces must be conducted to ensure safe and hygienic conditions.
- Employers must screen workers when they report for work. They must look at for symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes and difficulty breathing.
- Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms must inform their employers immediately.
- Staff that display symptoms of the virus must stay home.
- Employers must appoint a manager to address employee concerns.
- Measures should be taken to minimise the number of employees in the office.
- Social distancing must be respected. Employers must ensure that employees are at least 1.5 metres apart. However, if that is not possible, they must provide physical barriers to be put up between employees.
- Employers must provide sufficient sanitiser containing at least 70% alcohol.
- All workers are required to wear masks at work at all times.
- Employers must provide at least two cloth face masks free of charge.
- Employers must ensure there are adequate facilities for the washing of hands with soap and water.
- Employers must provide paper towels to dry hands after washing them – fabric towels are prohibited.
- Workspaces are disinfected regularly.
- If an employee displays symptoms while at work, the employer must provide an FFP1 surgical mask and transport the person in question without placing other employee and members of the public at risk.
Employers or employee who do not adhere to these directives may result in penalties and criminal prosecution in terms of the Occupations Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993.
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