Coronavirus workplace ‘inspections’ to continue in South Africa until the end of the year

The Department of Labour has published its latest coronavirus inspection data, showing that a large number of South African businesses are still not compliant with health and safety rules during the lockdown.

The department’s inspectors are provided a risk assessment and checklist which businesses are expected to follow in line with a health and safety guideline published on the department’s website.

The Department of Labour has the power to close non-complaint businesses down, with Covid-19 related inspections set to continue throughout FY 2020/21, it said in a parliamentary presentation on Wednesday (22 April).

Most of the inspections conducted were at retail stores, and the department said that it had received numerous complaints from concerned workers who felt that their employers were not taking the Covid-19 issue seriously.

The Department said that after 15 April and 11 days of inspections, employers were found to have a compliance level of just 55%. A total of 1,135 inspections have been conducted, with 621 businesses found to be complying and 514 not complying.

107 prohibition notices were served over the 11 days and a number of companies were closed in some instances for endangering the lives of the workers, the department said.

Some of the biggest issues identified by inspectors include:

  • Employers were in possession of false certificates to operate as essential services;
  • Workplaces inspected had no risk assessments –  this is seen as a key contravention;
  • Failure by some companies to implement some of the best practices to prevent the virus from spreading.

Read: New tax measures to assist businesses and workers during lockdown

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Coronavirus workplace ‘inspections’ to continue in South Africa until the end of the year