Reinterpreting Health and Safety due to COVID-19

22nd October 2020

Sarah Haffenden

– by Nkosingiphile Ntshangase

COVID-19 has affected many businesses worldwide and has highlighted the importance of compliance to health and safety measures. Merely meeting the minimum commitment to compliance is not an option anymore, and the aim is for better practice to address Health and Safety concerns due to the pandemic. On the 13th of October UKZN Extended Learning (UEL) hosted a webinar on ‘Compliance or Better Practice: Health and Safety in uncertain times’, which discussed the Health and Safety culture and the current climate in the South African context. COVID-19 has prompted a rapid response from businesses, and these changes are guided by legislation thus slowing down the implementation process. The red-tape is often the scapegoat for compliance complacency and organisations need legislation for that extra push to act.

This webinar elaborated on how the South African industry is governed by “pillars” of relevant laws holding up our compliance standards such as the Constitution, Occupational Health and Safety Act, Labour Relations Act, and Skills Development. Understanding these laws and their effects on Health and Safety, more especially during the pandemic, will determine a less hazardous or risk-free environment for your organisation or business. A running theme throughout the industry is the need for a cultural shift, one that encourages proactiveness instead of waiting for the next tragedy to occur.

Despite these challenges, the country is close to running full steam ahead while adhering to the Department of Health’s regulations. The disruption and abrupt change in the climate have affected business operations, as processes have been delayed and projects postponed or cancelled. The health and safety of stakeholders in the industry is a top priority, and making sure practitioners are well equipped, trained as well as educated within their spaces of influence, is of importance. UEL offers a Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Management programme designed to teach delegates the skills needed to assist their companies in managing compliance with South African legislation, and to implement and maintain robust safety, health and environmental management systems.

To watch Professor Haupt’s full webinar, click here.

For more information about or to register for the Safety, Health and Environment programme, please click here.

You can also contact us directly for more information:

Percy Sishi

T: +27 31 260 1853