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Hold on to your health and safety records! Here's why

by , 30 September 2015
Ensuring that you keep and maintain good quality records will help show that you have complied with and met all of your legal health and safety obligations as an employer.

In other words, it acts as evidence that you have done all that's reasonably practicable in order to look out for the health and safety of your employees in the workplace.

Having said that, it is worth noting exactly which records you should keep and for how long.

They are:

·         All records of risk assessments and monitoring. These records must be made available to the Health and Safety Representatives for the respective area as well as the Health and Safety Committee;
·         All records, excluding medical records of an individual. These must be made available to an inspector; and
·         Medical records. These must be made available to Occupational Medical Practitioners.

Your 1 527 health and safety duties as an employer

When was the last time you checked what disinfecting agents and cleaning materials your company uses?

Do you comply with the Hazardous Chemical Regulations?

There are over 1 500 items you must evaluate in your workplace according to the OHS Act and hundreds more from SABS 0400: National

Building regulations.

Health and safety laws apply to EVERY company, if you have more than 20 employees you have even greater obligations.
You SHOULD keep all your health and safety records for three years longer than is legally required. This is because the judiciary process is slow and so a case can be made against you after the time of retention for records has expired.

You could also face a compensation claim way down the line. An example of this can be mesothelioma, or cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. This disease can take up to 20 years before manifesting itself. And so you may have to produce relevant records in order to prove that you trained the claimant on the correct usage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
It is also important to note that you MUST obtain an employee's written consent before disclosing any medical records to the inspector or the Health and Safety Committee.

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