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When do you have to appoint health and safety representatives to monitor health and safety conditions?

by , 03 March 2015
The appointment of health and safety representatives is a legal requirement.

Your company needs to designate representatives in writing, for a specified period of time.

It is important to note that the appointment of representatives should be done in accordance with the agreement as contemplated in the General Administrative Regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

But when do you actually have to do this?


According to Section 17 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (Act 85 of 1993), employers who employ 20 or more workers on their premises must appoint representatives to monitor health and safety conditions. One of the key principals of the OHS Act is that work related hazards, risks and dangers should be addressed through good communication between management and employees.

As the current legislation states, appointed representatives represent workers regarding health and safety matters to management. Representatives form part of an important link between management and the rest of the organisations employees.

As an employer where there must be a health and safety representative, you must meet with the registered trade unions to enter into negotiations to conclude a collective agreement, labourquide.co.za explains.

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Where there is no registered trade union, you, the employer, must enter into consultation with all employee representatives of the workplace.

During these negotiations, the following issues must be discussed to reach a collective agreement, as given by the previous source:
  •     Nomination or election of health and safety representatives
  •     Terms of office, circumstances and matter in which they can be removed
  •     Manner in which vacancies are to be filled
  •     Manner in which health and safety representatives must perform their functions in terms of the act
  •     Facilities, training and assistance that must be provided to a health and safety representative
Note that according to section 17 of the OHS Act, shops and offices must have at least one representative for every 100 workers or part thereof and that all other workplaces must have at least one representative for every 50 workers or part thereof.

Are you applying this conditions according to the law? Make sure you are, so you don't implement the wrong rules!


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