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Any employee injury occurring outside his duties isn't your fault and you don't have to pay!

by , 17 July 2015
A case occurred some years ago where a cleaner climbed onto a roof with a ladder to steal items through a skylight. He was seriously injured, but the employer was in the clear. Let's looks at why he wasn't liable.

Three reasons the injury wasn't the employer's responsibility
  • The cleaner had a job description which he had signed and understood;
  • The employer had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent unauthorised access to the roof; and
  • The cleaner had been employed at the factory for many years and had never been permitted to be on the roof. It was clear that he was not there to fulfill his duties.
Make sure all your supervisors and management are up-to-date with any regulations related to the work carried out, so you'll always know how to distinguish an IOD from non-work related incidents. An example of a regulation you need to be aware of is the environmental workplace requirements.
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Use job descriptions to make compliance easier

Although the Occupational Health and Safety Act doesn't specify how you should do this, a job description is an effective method for you to employ. This will specify what your employee can and can't do. An example of going beyond the scope of his authority would be to operate an item of plant that he isn't qualified to operate.
Three ways to use your disciplinary procedures to control your employees
Exercise discipline by using your company's disciplinary procedures. These should consist of:
  1. Verbal warnings which you should record in a day book;
  2. Written warnings for first and second offences; and
  3. Final written warnings.
In serious cases, you're allowed to issue a final warning after a first offence.
Let's looks at your nine general safety duties as an employer

Attention! Health and Safety specialists face fines imposed by the DoL!
Recently, the Department of Labour (DoL) conducted over 190,000 impromptu health and safety inspections. It even shut down a company for failing to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

Employers have been warned that there will be many more inspections.
Don't let them show up at your door unannounced.
Your nine general safety duties as an employer
As an employer you must ensure the safety of your employees in nine ways (Section 8, OHSA).
You must:
  1. Ensure that you and your employees know the health and safety system.
  2. Know how to eliminate/minimise hazards.
  3. Select and demonstrate the use of protective clothing and equipment.
  4. Ensure safety and absence of risks in production, processing, use, handling, storage or transport of substances.
  5. Carry out a survey regarding hazards attached to any work performed for health and safety. You also need to know the risks attached to the use of machinery and equipment and develop precautionary measures to eliminate or minimise these hazards.
  6. Have your supervisor arrange to train, inform and supervise all employees enforce supervision.
  7. The supervisor must be able to supervise and be equipped with the necessary authority to rectify unsafe acts and conditions (Section 8 (2)(i), OHSA).
  8. Supervisors must ensure nobody does any work of any sort if the correct safeguards aren't being taken.
  9. You need to prove the injured person did something beyond your authority when establishing your innocence (Section 37, OHSA). Youll only be able to do this if you've clearly established the injured person's authority and advised them (Section 8(2)(j)) of their authority (Section 37(1)(b), OHSA).

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