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Offences, penalties and special orders of court: That's what you'll face if you don't comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act

by , 13 April 2015
Whenever you don't comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, you risk penalties or special orders from court. But there are situations when you may not even be aware of the mistakes you're making.

Today we're helping you avoid some of the most common ones.

Read on to discover what they are.


Make sure you're not making mistakes when dealing with the inspectors from the Department of Labour


Use this special checklist we've prepared for you

According to the OHSA, the Department of Labour (DoL) can impose a fine of R50 000, or a prison sentence of one year, or both, on you if you:

•  Don't comply with the Act
•  Give false information to an inspector
•  Refuse to appear before an inspector
•  Refuse to take the oath or affirm to tell the truth
•  Refuse to answer questions asked by the inspector
•  Refuse to give the inspector any documents he asks for (if you have them)
•  Tamper, misuse or abuse safety equipment
•  Don't use the safety equipment given to you
•  Do something at the workplace recklessly or wilfully that endangers or threatens the health and safety of people or the working of plant or machinery

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There are over 100 health and safety questions you need to ask to measure your health and safety system.

It would take you the entire day just to think of the 100 questions that you should be asking yourself when doing your internal audit.

And I know your next question...

What exactly ARE the 100 questions you should be an swering?

And how do they determine if your health and safety system is compliant with the
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Section 38 of the OHSA deals with offences, penalties and special orders of court

Here's what it states:

1.  Any person who – a.  contravenes or fails to comply with a provision of section 7, 8, 9, 10(1), (2) or (3), 12, 13, 14, 15, 16(1) or (2), 17(1), (2) or (5), 18(3), 19(1), 20(2) or (4), 22, 23, 24(1) or (2), 25, 26, 29(3), 30(2) or (6), 34 or 36;

b.  contravenes or fails to comply with a direction or notice under section 17(6), 19(4) or (7), 21(1) or 30(1)(a), (b) or (c) or (3), (4) or (6);

g.  refuses or fails to answer to the best of his ability any question which an inspector in the performance of his functions has put to him;

h.  wilfully furnishes to an inspector information which is false or misleading;

k. having been called under section 32, without sufficient cause (the onus of proof whereof shall rest upon him)-

i.  refuses to appear before the inspector;
ii. refuses to be sworn or to make affirmation as a witness after he has been directed to do so;
iii. refuses to answer, or fails to answer to the best of his knowledge and belief, any question put to him; or
iv. refuses to comply with a requirement to produce a book, document or thing specified in the subpoena or which he has with him;
n.  tampers with or misuses any safety equipment installed or provided to any person by an employer or user;
o.  fails to use any safety equipment at a workplace or in the  course of his employment or in connection with the use of plant or machinery, which was provided to him by an
employer or such a user;
p.  wilfully or recklessly does anything at a workplace or in connection with the use of plant or machinery which threatens the health or safety of any person, shall be guilty of an offence and on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding R50 000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding one year or to both such fine and such imprisonment

Keep this in mind and never forget that knowing the legislation is also one of your responsibilities!



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