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To create a legally compliant health and safety budget, you may have to include these nine items

by , 03 December 2014
You have a legal obligation to provide your employees with a safe workplace. Depending on the type of industry you're in, that might mean expensive safety gear and training.

This is where your health and safety budget comes in. You have to include the items the law requires you to have in your budget so you can actually make sure you have the money for them.

To help you create a budget that will enable you to fulfil your legal health and safety obligations, I'm going to show nine items you may need to include...

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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. 

Fulfil your health and safety obligations by including these nine items in your OHS budget

1. Budget for the maintenance of your systems you use for work, plant and machinery (Section 8(2)(a), OHS Act and General Machinery Regulations).
2. Establish all the risks in your company's daily operations (Section 8(2)(d), OHS Act). To do this, you'll need to do a risk assessment. If you don't have the necessary experience or training in this, budget to hire specialists in this field to assist you. 
3. Budget for the following surveys that you may need to repeat throughout the year: 
Occupational hygiene surveys for baseline assessments of your thermal requirements;
Illumination surveys; and 
Air quality surveys according to the risks you assessed (environmental regulations for workplaces sections 2, 3 and 5).
4. Inform your employees of the risks in their daily roles and the workplace (Section 13, OHS Act). There are different ways you can do this. Such as posters, toolbox talks, informal training sessions, safe work procedures, etc. These internal communications will cost you money so include them in your budget.
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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. 
5. You need to train or arrange training for your employees where needed to ensure health and safety in the workplace (Section 8(2)(e) and Section 13, OHS Act). In some cases you may need to budget for an external trainer, or purchase training modules that you can use to train them.
6. Appoint and train your Health and Safety Representatives if you have more than 20 employees (Section 17, OHS Act). You also need to budget for the training of your Health and Safety Reps. 
7. Don't charge your employees for their personal protective equipment (PPE) if you use PPE to control your risks (Regulation 2 and 9, General Safety Regulations). You need to budget for the cost of purchasing, repairing and replacing your PPE. 
8. You must display all the right safety signs in your workplace (Regulation 2B, General Safety Regulations). Budget to purchase these signs.
9. You need to provide first aid equipment. Registered training providers need to train your
First Aiders (Regulation 3, General Safety Regulations) and you need to include this training cost in your budget. Remember to also budget for purchasing and replenishing your first aid kit. 
Remember, the type of industry you work in dictates the legal requirements you need for health and safety. Focus on the ones that apply to your business so you don't end up wasting time or money.
There are 12 more legally required items you may need to include in your health and safety budget, you can find them in the Health and Safety Budget.  

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