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Protect your workplace and employees from future xenophobic attacks by adjusting your health and safety policy document in three steps

by , 24 April 2015
Your health and safety policy is the most important safety document in your company. And you need one to stay OHS compliant.

It shows everything you stand for regarding the health and safety of your workers.

Did you know it also needs to outline your rules on hateful acts of employees towards their foreign colleagues?

Read on to find out where to adjust your safety policy in three steps to include this...

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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.


Adjust your health and safety policy in three steps

Step #1: Adjust your statement of intent
This shows what you intend to do. It shows your staff, and anyone else, your company's commitment to the health and safety of its employees…South African or foreign!

Make sure your statement of intent now includes that your company won't accept any form of hate speech. And it won't accept any attacks on other employees! 

Step #2: Amend your organisation details
This outlines who your company's going to involve. It gives the names of those who will have the different responsibilities for health and safety in your company.

To make the changes, you need to ask yourself a few questions:
•    Do your foreign employees need an additional and separate safety representative to the rest of your workforce?
•    Will legal and/or medical support be offered to foreign employees should they come under attack?
•    Will your organisation assist the victim with reporting the incident as a criminal charge?

It's important you state that your foreign employees must take reasonable care of their own health and safety. If, for example, they feel their lives are in danger, they should be on alert and report concerns to their Safety Representative.

Read on for the final adjustment you should make to protect your foreign employees…
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The last area of your policy you need to adjust

Step #3: How your policy will be put in place
This explains how you're going to arrange to put your policy in place. You'll explain how you plan to manage and control your hazards. In this case, the threat of xenophobic attacks.

Some things to include under your arrangements section:
•    Where can your employees get health and safety advice from in case of an attack?
•    If employees fear for their safety, who could they speak to in confidence?
•    Where are you displaying health and safety procedures? Such as an emergency evacuation plan in case of xenophobic mob attacks.
•    What training are you going to be doing to make employees aware of the fact that foreigners aren't 'stealing their job'? There are many websites offering statistics on the subject!

Explain here that your HR department will take steps and disciplinary action for non-compliance. Employees must be aware of the actions you will take if they don't maintain your company's rules.

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