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Your DoL inspector has four rights - Do you know what they are?

by , 12 September 2013
If you use plant or machinery, you're required to appoint, in writing, a competent person in a full-time capacity for every premises where you use machinery. This means your Department of Labour inspector may intervene at any time when you make these appointments if he feels it's necessary. These are his four rights...

'As the employer, you have to provide and maintain systems of work, plant and machinery that, as far as is reasonably practicable, are safe and without risks to the health of your employees,' says the Health&Safety Advisor.

This means you must appoint a competent person to supervise machinery.

A competent person is a person who:

  • Has an engineering qualification,
  • Has operated in trade which included the operation and maintenance of machinery, or
  • Has had at least five years' practical experience in the operation and maintenance of machinery.

But you can't just do as you please. A DoL inspector may intervene in these circumstances. And you must respect his four rights…

Are you aware of your DoL inspector's four rights?

You DoL inspector has these four rights:

Right#1: He may allow you to appoint more than one competent person, for example when the site is too large for one competent person to manage.

Right#2: He may allow you to appoint a competent person who holds any qualification other than that required of a competent person.

'He may (by written notice) direct you to appoint (within the period specified in the notice) the number of persons specified (in the notice) who have the qualifications (specified in the notice) to assist a competent person,' says the Health&Safety Advisor.

Right#3: He may at any time require further precautionary measures for machinery in motion or electrically alive, for example, demarcation of the area and restricted access.

Right#4: He may grant written permission for alternative precautionary measures (for example, engineering measures) for machinery operated by two or more persons at the same time.

Remember, without approval of the inspector, no competent person or assistant competent person is allowed to supervise machinery on any premises other than the premises for which you've appointed him.

If you fail to comply with the General Machinery Regulations (GMR), you risk a jail sentence of two years or a fine of R100 000.

In extreme cases of negligence, the DoL will shut down your site until you've addressed the relevant health and safety issues.

Don't take that risk. Make sure you comply with this OHSA requirement.

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