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Do you know what 'you have a legal liability to health and safety' actually means?

by , 19 June 2014
You know about the OHS Act and you know it says you must do certain things as an employer. You also know that if you don't do those things, you're breaking the law.

This means you're legally liable. But what do those words 'legally liable' actually mean.

Today, we explain what this common term means before it sends your company down the garbage shoot.

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Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer
When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses? 
Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations? 
There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National Building regulations. 

Revealed: What it REALLY means to be legally liable

SheqAfrica.com explains that 'legal liability' means you must do or not do something. 
For example, you must protect your employees when they're at work.
If there's an accident, you're legally responsible for it. This means you must now compensate the person for the accident. 
You also have to protect any visitors that are on your premises. If a visitor has an accident on your site, it could be worse than if your employee has an accident. This is because they aren't cover by COID. 
That could mean huge liability claims that you'll have to pay out. 
But what about your legal liability under the OHSA?

This is your legal liability under the OHS Act

The OHS Act says you must fulfil your employer responsibilities as an employer. This means you have a legal obligation to do so. 
If you don't, the DoL can fine you or even press criminal charges against you for breaking health and safety laws. You could also spend up to two years in jail because you neglected your workplace regulations.
Bottom line: Your responsibilities as an employer are there for a reason. You have to protect your employees physically, mentally and emotional.  Otherwise, employers could simply take advantage of their employees. Lots of employers still do try take advantage of their employees.
Luckily you can avoid paying out large fines or claims simply by complying with OHS legal obligations. 
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Do you have more than 20 employees?
Don't ignore this health and safety obligation or else!
The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don't have a health and safety representative. 

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