Violence has erupted in the mining sector again.This time, it lead to injuries when security guards started firing rubber bullets in a clash with mine workers. No matter how much health and safety training you give your employees, there's always a risk that safety procedures themselves could lead to injuries. Here's what you'll need to prove your innocence if a safety procedure goes wrong in your workplace
Nine mineworkers and four security guards were injured when violence erupted between members of two rival unions at the Amplats mine in Rustenburg on Monday, says the Sowetan Live.
Some of the injured employees were hacked with pangas and sharp objects, while others were shot with security rubber bullets.
Now the police are investigating cases of public violence, attempted murder and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, says IOL's Daily News.
While your company probably has security measures in place to protect your staff against violence, it's often the 'safety prodcedures' themselves that cause the most harm, like the rubber bullets in this case.
The Department of Labour says it's your responsibility to protect all employees'health and safety, even when safety procedures go wrong
If an employee picked up your security guard's gun and started firing it at random, it would be up to you to prove the following three things to establish your innocence:
1. The injured person acted without your permission or connivance;
2. The injured person did something beyond the scope of his authority, like picking up the security guard's gun; and
3. You took all reasonable safety proceduresteps to prevent the accident, like making sure your security guardshave gone through gun safety training and making sure other employees can't access the security guard's gun.
If the Department of Labour does an inspection of your workplace and finds your security guard guilty of negligence for leaving a loaded gun lying around or for wilful misconduct, he'll face a fine of R50 000 or a year in jail, says the Health and Safety Advisor
If a health and safety inspector visits your workplace following an incident of this nature and removes your security guard's gun from your workplace, they must issue you with a receipt.
And remember every incident and injury must be reported, no matter how big or small.