The Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) published a Corona Virus (COVID-19) planning guidance for the workplace. The COVID-19 planning guidance was developed based on traditional infection prevention and occupational hygiene practices. It focuses on the need for employers to implement engineering, administrative and work practice controls and personal protective equipment (PPE), as well as considerations for doing so. Employers and workers should use the planning guidance to help identify risk levels in workplace settings and to determine any appropriate control measures to implement. Additional guidance may be needed as COVID-19 outbreak conditions change. In the event that new information about the virus, its transmission, and impact, becomes available companies may have to modify their plans accordingly.
Furthermore, the DEL announced measures that the Department will put in place to contain the spread of the COVID-19 and its impact on Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) contributors. The UIF will compensate affected workers through its Illness and Reduced Work Time benefits. The guide is applicable to all employers who are registered with the UIF and who make contributions as required by the Contributions Act of 2002. These measures are contained in a Directive published on 26 March 2020. On 8 April 2020, DEL published an amendment of the above mentioned Directive.
The DEL recommends that employers:
Be cognizant of the prescriptions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the applicable regulations in safeguarding workplaces;
Review and regularly update risk assessments, taking into account the new hazards posed by exposure to COVID-19;
Prepare as far in advance as possible for potentially worsening outbreak conditions; and
‘go back to basics’ by conducting hazard identification and risk assessment, determine the level of risk exposure, and communicate with employees.
Attached are the following documents for information: