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Opening business during COVID-19

Opening business during COVID-19

Griffin Occupational Heath and Safety Solutions created all the documents you need in this Complete COVID-19 occupational kit to reopen your business safely and follow legislative guidance. Click here to check it out.

What do i do?

Introduction

On the 23rd of April 2020 the easing of the lockdown restrictions was announced, with a national level 4 lockdown to initiate on the 1st of May. Which meant that certain businesses will be permitted to re-open, and as the lockdown level decreases it will allow for more business to re-open and continue with their business operations, unfortunately to us, it won’t be business as usual. The department of labour has stepped in to ensure that when businesses do open, that employers put special precautions in place to reduce the risk exposures of COVID-19. So, you might be asking yourself right now… “what should I do before I can re-open my business?” well stick around and hopefully we can assist you with the answers.

On the 29th of April 2020 a government notice was release (No.479) for COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Workplaces, providing employers with clear instructions on how to comply with government requirements.

This directive shall apply to employers and workers in respect of the manufacturing, supply or provision of essential goods or essential services, as defined in Schedule 2 of the Regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, and any workplace permitted to continue or commence operations before the expiry of those Regulations.

The Directive does not apply to workplaces excluded from the OHSA in terms of section 1(3) of the OHSA; in which medical and health care services as defined in Schedule 2 in the Regulations issued in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act (other than retail pharmacies) are performed; in respect of which another Minister has issued a directive under those Regulations dealing with health and safety.

However, if you employed less than 10 employees, then skip to small business section, but if you have employed more than 10 employees, then stick around for some reading.

To assist you with the government requirements Griffin OHSS will provide their recommendations of implementation in BLUE Italic and BOLD NOTES.

Administrative control measures

  1. The employer must conduct a workplace risk assessment based on each department taking into account the specific circumstances of the workplace. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment. The risk assessment should focus on the exposure risks and indicate which control measures should be implemented to reduce the risk exposures to acceptable levels.
  2. If you have employed more than 500 employees, you will be required to submit such a risk assessment together with a written policy concerning the protection of the health and safety of employees from COVID-19 to the department of employment and labour, and it must also be discussed on your next Occupational Health and Safety committee meeting as per Section 19 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No85 of 1993. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Policy
  3. The employer will have to communicate all the requirements of the directive and how it will be implemented internally by the company to its employees. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice. Ensure to include the information of the government notice on your training programme and how the company will implement control measures.
  4. The employer must inform all employees that they must not return to work if they are sick or have any symptoms associated with COVID-19, but instead visit a registered medical practitioner to obtain a medical certificate for paid sick leave in terms of Section 22 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme,and/ or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  5. The employer must appoint a manager to address employee or workplace representative concerns and to keep them informed and, in any workplace in which a health and safety committee has been elected, consult with that committee on the nature of the hazard in that workplace and the measures that need to be taken. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Coordinator Appointment Letter
  6. The employer must ensure that all control measure as per the risk assessment are strictly complied with through monitoring and supervision. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Compile a checklist based on the control measures set out in your risk assessment, and perform regular audits to ensure risk assessment is implemented as required.
  7. The employer must as far as practicable, minimize the number of workers on at the workplace at any given time through rotation, staggered working hours, shift systems, remote working arrangements or similar measures in order to achieve social distancing. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment Include rotation, staggered working hours, shift systems, remote working arrangements as control measures within your risk assessment if practical.
  8. The employer must take measures to minimize contact between workers as well as between workers and members of the public. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice Ensure that employees are made aware to reduce their interaction and contact between co-workers and the public.
  9. The employer will have to provide workers with information that raises awareness in any form or manner, including where reasonably practicable leaflets and notices placed in conspicuous places in the workplace informing workers of the dangers of the virus, the manner of its transmission, the measures to prevent transmission such as personal hygiene, social distancing, use of masks, cough etiquette and where to go for screening or testing if presenting with the symptoms. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice Ensure that all employees are informed regarding COVID-19
  10. If a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19, an employer must  inform the Department of Health and the Department of Employment and Labour; and investigate the cause including any control failure and review its risk assessment to ensure that the necessary controls and PPE requirements are in place; and  it must give administrative support to any contact-tracing measures implemented by the Department of Health. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Procedure for reporting ill health and COVID-19 Compile a procedure on how employees can report ill health and COVID-19 results, ensure that the procedure indicates how the employer will deal with an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. This procedure must be included on your COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme or/and on a notice board.

Social distancing control measures

  1. Every employer must arrange the workplace to ensure minimal contact between workers and as far as practicable ensure that there is a minimum of one and a half metres between workers while they are working. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  2. If it is not practicable to arrange work stations to be spaced at least one and a half metres apart, the employer must arrange physical barriers to be placed between work stations or erected on work stations to form a solid physical barrier between workers while they are working; or if necessary, supply the employee free of charge with appropriate PPE based on a risk assessment of the working place. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  3. Every employer must ensure that social distancing measures are implemented through supervision both in the workplace and in the common areas outside the immediate workplace through queue control or within the workplace such as canteens and lavatories. These measures may include dividing the workforce into groups or staggering break-times to avoid the concentration of workers in common areas. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice This control relies mostly on the enforcement and team work of your employees.

Health and Safety Measures

Symptom Screening

  1. Every employer must take measures to screen any worker, at the time that they report for work, to ascertain whether they have any of the observable symptoms associated with COVID-19, namely fever, cough, sore throat, redness of eyes or shortness of breath (or difficulty in breathing); DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Access Control Procedure This can be implemented by using a “no-contact digital thermometer” at access points and a simple questionnaire sheet.
  2. Require every worker to report whether they suffer from any of the following additional symptoms: body aches, loss of smell or loss of taste, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue, weakness or tiredness. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Procedure for reporting ill health and COVID-19 Compile a procedure on how employees can report ill health and COVID-19 results, ensure that the procedure indicates how the employer will deal with an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. This procedure must be included on your COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme or/and on a notice board.
  3. If a worker presents with those symptoms, or advises the employer of these symptoms, the employer must –
  • not permit the worker to enter the workplace or report for work; or
  • if the worker is already at work immediately isolate the worker, provide the worker with a FFP1 surgical mask and arrange for the worker to be transported in a manner that does not place other workers or members of the public at risk either to be self-isolated or for a medical examination or testing; and
  • assess the risk of transmission, disinfect the area and the worker’s workstation, refer those workers who may be at risk for screening and take any other appropriate measure to prevent possible transmission;
  • ensure that the worker is tested or referred to an identified testing site;
  • place its employee on paid sick leave in terms of section 22 of the BCEA or if the employee’s sick leave entitlement under the section is exhausted, make application for an illness benefit in terms of clause 4 of the Directive issued on 25 March 2020 on the COVID-19 Temporary Employer Relief Scheme under regulation 10(8) of the Regulations promulgated in terms of section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act;
  •  ensure that the employee is not discriminated against on grounds of having tested positive for COVID-19 in terms of section 6 of the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act No. 55 of 1998);
  • if there is evidence that the worker contracted COVID-19 as a result of occupational exposure, lodge a claim for compensation in terms of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (Act No. 130 of 1993) in accordance with Notice 193 published on 3 March 2020.
  • If a worker has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and isolated in accordance with the Department of Health Guidelines, an employer may only allow a worker to return to work on the following conditions:
    • The worker has undergone a medical evaluation confirming that the worker has been tested negative for COVID-19;
    • the employer ensures that personal hygiene, wearing of masks, social distancing, and cough etiquette is strictly adhered to by the worker; and
    • the employer closely monitors the worker for symptoms on return to work. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Procedure for reporting ill health and COVID-19. Compile a procedure on how employees can report ill health and COVID-19 results, ensure that the procedure indicates how the employer will deal with an employee who tested positive for COVID-19. This procedure must be included on your COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme or/and on a notice board.

Sanitizers, disinfectants and other measures

  1. Hand sanitizer must be one that has at least 70% alcohol content and is in accordance with the recommendations of the Department of Health. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  2. Every employer must, free of charge, ensure that there are sufficient quantities of hand sanitizer based on the number of workers or other persons who access the workplace at the entrance of, and in, the workplace which the workers or other persons are required to use; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  3. Every employee who works away from the workplace, other than at home, must be provided with an adequate supply of hand sanitizer. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  4. If a worker interacts with the public, the employer must provide the worker with sufficient supplies of hand-sanitizer at that worker’s workstation for both the worker and the person with whom the worker is interacting. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  5. Every employer must take measures to ensure that all work surfaces and equipment are disinfected before work begins, regularly during the working period and after work ends; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Sanitizing Schedule Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  6. All areas such as toilets, common areas, door handles, shared electronic equipment are regularly cleaned and disinfected; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Sanitizing Schedule Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  7. Disable biometric systems or make them COVID-19-proof. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  8. The employer must ensure that there are adequate facilities for the washing of hands with soap and clean water; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  9. Only paper towels are provided to dry hands after washing – the use of fabric toweling is prohibited; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment checklist. Indicate on your risk assessment control measure that this is a requirement.
  10. The workers are required to wash their hands and sanitize their hands regularly while at work; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  11. The workers interacting with the public are instructed to sanitize their hands between each interaction with public; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  12. Surfaces that workers and members of the public come into contact with are routinely cleaned and disinfected. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Sanitizing Schedule DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice

Cloth Masks

  1. The main benefit of everyone wearing a cloth mask is to reduce the amount of virus droplets being coughed up by those with the infection and transmitted to others and to surfaces that others may touch. Since some persons with the virus may not have symptoms or may not know they have it, the Department of Health requires that all persons wear cloth masks when in a public place.
  2. For the reasons underlying the Department of Health’s requirement, every employer must  provide each of its employees, free of charge, with a minimum of two cloth masks, which comply with the requirement set out in the Guidelines issued by the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition, for the employee to wear while at work and while commuting to and from work; and require any other worker to wear masks in the workplace. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: PPE Register Ensure that facemasks have been approved by the department of trade, industry and competition
  3. The number and replaceability of cloth masks that must be provided to an employee or required of other workers must be determined in accordance with any sectoral guideline and in the light of the employee or worker’s conditions of work, in particular, where these may result in the mask becoming wet or soiled. This can be included on the risk assessment.
  4. Every employer must ensure that workers are informed, instructed, trained and instructed as to the correct use of cloth masks. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  5. An employer must make appropriate arrangements for the washing, drying and ironing of cloth masks.

Measures in respect of workplaces to which public have access

  1. every employer must arrange the workplace to ensure that there is a distance at least one and a half metres between workers and members of the public or between members of the public; or put in place physical barriers or provide workers with face shields or visors; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment DOCUMENT REQUIRED: COVID-19 Awareness Training Programme, and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice This can also be enforced by supervision.
  2. if appropriate, undertake symptom screening measures of persons other than the employees entering the workplace with due regard to available technology and any guidelines issued by the Department of Health; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Risk Assessment and/or DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Access Control Procedure This can be implemented by using a “no-contact digital thermometer” at access points and a simple questionnaire sheet.
  3. if appropriate, display notices advising persons other than employees entering the workplace of the precautions they are required to observe while in the workplace; DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice
  4. require members of the public, including suppliers, to wear masks when inside their premises. DOCUMENT REQUIRED: Notice

Small Business

  1. Employers with less than 10 employees must take the following measures:
  • Arrange the workplace to ensure that employees are at least one and half metres apart or, if not practicable, place physical barriers between them to prevent the possible transmission of the virus.
  • Ensure that employees that present with the symptoms are not permitted to work.
  • For employees showing symptoms, immediately contact the COVID-19 hotline: 0800 02 9999 for instruction and direct the employee to act in accordance with those instructions;
  • Provide cloth masks or require an employee to wear some form of cloth covering over their mouth and nose while at work.
  • Provide each employee with hand sanitizers, soap and clean water to wash their hands and disinfectants to sanitize their workstations
  • ensure that each employee while at work washes with soap and sanitizes their hands; and
  • ensure that their workstations are disinfected regularly;
  • take any other measures indicated by a risk assessment.

Click Here to look at our Covid-19 workplace risk assessment downloadable application

Covid-19 workplace risk assessment adding control measures then converts to PDF report.

For more informaton on COVID-19 look here THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR COMMUNICABLE DISEASES (NICD)

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi there to every one, the contents existing at this website are really amazing for people experience, well, keep up the good work fellows. Lorilyn Alaric Demona

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