South Africa entered alert level 3 of the national lockdown today, which means many of the restrictions under alert level 4 have been eased.
Wholesale and retail trade is now fully opened, alcohol is allowed to be sold at certain times, and many companies have opened their offices again.
Businesses which are opening their doors have to adhere to strict guidelines to ensure the safety of their employees and clients. Every business must also have a workplace plan.
To assist companies in creating a workplace plan, law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has provided a list of 10 key aspects that must be covered in this plan.
- Risk assessment – Prior to commencing operations, employers must undertake a risk assessment to give effect to the health and safety directives issued by the government and the specific conditions of their workplace. This includes identifying all areas within the workplace that are a transmission risk for COVID-19.
- Screening process – All employers must develop a mandatory screening process for employees upon entry to the workplace to assess whether the employee exhibits any symptoms of COVID-19 prior to the employee being allowed access to the workplace.
- Emergency protocols – Employers must develop emergency protocols to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace as well as a protocol to evacuate employees who screen positive for COVID-19.
- Employee health and safety training – The health and safety directive issued by the government makes it mandatory for all employers to train their employees on the contents of the directive and the manner in which employers intend to implement the directive in their respective workplaces.
- PPE – Employers must make provision for employees to be provided with the relevant PPE for their role at no cost to the employee.
- Social distancing – Employers must ensure, where possible, that the workplace is re-organised in order to comply with social distancing rules. Employees must be advised as to social distancing rules and measures must be put in place to enforce social distancing.
- Hygiene – Employers must maintain certain hygiene standards which include disinfecting their workplace prior to the commencement of operations.
- Waste management – A workplace plan must include a waste management system for the disposal of all COVID-19 related waste in a manner that does not present a transmission risk.
- Communication – Employers must ensure that they have a communication plan in place to inform employees of any updates regarding protocols in the workplace as well as any other information as required by government.
- Appoint a compliance manager – All employers must appoint a compliance manager at each of their workplaces who will be responsible for supervising and enforcing the compliance with the workplace plan, and all directives and regulations issued by government.