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Warning: To be OHSA compliant, you need to appoint a health and safety representative today!

by , 10 July 2013
Whether you work in an office or a steel mill, accidents are bound to happen. How do you as an employer protect yourself and your staff? Simply nodding and smiling at the health and safety inspector isn't enough! You need a health and safety representative to ensure your business doesn't fall to pieces when there's a crisis!

Appointing a health and safety representative is not only a legal requirement, it could save lives.

By communicating between you, your staff and the health and safety authorities, a health and safety representative can be a huge asset to your business, states the Health and Safety Advisor.

Who needs a health and safety representative?

If you have more than 20 employees, you need a health and safety rep. If your business is bigger, the amount of health and safety reps you need depend on the type of business you have:

In a shop or office environment, you need one rep per 100 employees. So if you have 20-100 employees, you only need one rep, but if you have 100-200 employees you'll need two reps, 200-300 you'll need three reps, and so on.

In any other work environment (such as a factory), you need one rep per 50 employees. So 20-50 employees needs one rep, 50-100 needs two reps, and so on.

It's your job to ensure employees appoint a health and safety rep no more than four months after the commencement of the business.

What is a health and safety rep?

Your employees choose someone among them to be the health and safety rep. The health and safety rep represents the workers on health and safety related matters at work.

Remember, your HSE rep must be a full-time employee, and their duties must fall under their job description for the time they're the rep (usually the rep changes every year.) You can't expect a health and safety rep to conduct checks or attend committee meetings above and beyond their normal working duties (such as outside working hours) unless you pay them overtime.

What does the health and safety rep do?
  1. Review health and safety measures
  2. Identify hazards in the workplace
  3. Be part of an accident investigation team to examine the causes of problems
  4. Investigate employee's health and safety complaints
  5. Present employee's health and safety complaints to you, the employer
  6. Consult with health and safety inspectors
  7. Attend health and safety committee meetings
Don't ignore this health and safety obligations 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.

Click here to appoint the best HSE rep for your company today!

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