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Your 'E' responsibility in HSE Representatives and SHE

by , 28 September 2016
If you yawn when you see the words 'Green', 'Recycle', 'Greenhouse gasses' or 'Carbon footprint', you're going to get into trouble!

You're responsible for health and safety in your company and now you also have the previously 'ignored' environmental responsibilities and obligations on your plate.

The government is getting SERIOUS about environmental concerns and will hold you liable if you're not legally compliant!

From now on, you're an HSE professional. HSE stands for Health, Safety and Environment. In addition, SHE stands for Safety, Health and the Environment. Yes, it's official: Your responsibilities extend beyond the health and safety of humans to the health and safety of the environment.

You might not take this responsibility to the environment seriously but you need to get serious now! There're laws in place you must comply with to protect the environment. It's not common knowledge that the current edition of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires compliance! 

Environmental regulations tend to focus on large businesses and whole industries, yet small businesses actually generate 60% of all commercial waste. They also cause half of all environmental damage worldwide.

This is why the DoL and government are going to get on your case sooner than you think…


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.

Here's how to avoid it…


By law you're required to protect the environment

For starters, look at this:

  • Section 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA): You're required to provide and maintain a safe working environment that's without risk to the health of employers. The environment, in this section, extends to all areas!
  • Section 8(2)(c) of the OHS Act: You're required to make all the necessary arrangements to ensure the safety, and absence of risks to health when you produce, process, use, handle, store or transport anything. This means that whatever you use to conduct business must be without health and safety risks.
  • Section 8(2)(d) of the OHS Act: Any health and safety risks that are attached to the work performed, any article or substance you produce, process, use, handle, store or transport must have no impact on employees or the environment.
  • Also check out Section 12, 13 and 22 of the OHS Act and the Environmental Regulations has regulations in place that protect the environment.

In addition, the ISO family (International Organisation for Standardisation) addresses 'Environmental management'. This means that your company must:

  • Minimise harmful effects on the environment caused by your companies activities, and to
  • Achieve continual improvement of its environmental performance.

What is ISO?

ISO is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards.

When products and services meet our expectations, we don't concern ourselves with the role of the standards. Only when products turn out to be of poor quality, do not fit, are incompatible with equipment you already have, are unreliable or dangerous, do you actually sit up and take notice. But this is the 'gat-oor-kop' way of going about environmental risks!

Products, systems, machinery and devices work well and safely because they meet standards. And the organisation responsible for thousands of the standards which benefit the world is ISO.

You need to adopt ISO's no matter how small your company as this will ensure you develop and offer products and services that meet specifications with wide international acceptance in your industry. This will enable you to compete on many more markets around the world.


You're obliged to organise periodical training of employees, BUT...

Aren't you tired of having to arrange and prepare the sessions, especially since you don't always have a ready-to-use format?
Are you always aware of what you're legally required to include when it comes to training?

Now, you can have tailor-made professional training for all your employees without the exorbitant costs!


4 Tips for complying with your environmental duties

Your workplace can affect the environment either positively or negatively. How eco-friendly your company is when it comes to using energy to heat and cool the building, to bring products into it, and to remove waste from it has a major impact on your company's cash-flow, the community and the planet.

So how can your company comply with the ISO's and the environmental obligations as set out in the OHSA?

  1. Assess the carbon footprint of your company, building or office.
  2. Don't build with non-renewable sources and re-use or recycle! Read Chapter W08 on Waste Recycling in the Health and Safety Advisor, where we show you how to implement a recycling program!
  3. Switch off all equipment, air conditioning units, computers, printers, photocopiers and lights when not in use.
  4. Recycle all the paper that you'd normally send to incinerators or landfill sites.

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