Occupational Health & Safety in the Work place
In any working environment, employees can be injured or fall ill whilst performing their duties. Regardless of whether or not their injuries (or illness) were caused as a result of the work they perform, it is the duty of the employer to ensure they receive immediate and appropriate medical attention.
The Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 as amended by the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Act No 181 of 1993 states that an employer must take all reasonable steps that are necessary under the circumstances to ensure that employees in the workplace receive prompt first aid treatment in the event of injury or medical emergency.
The Act also states that when:
- more than five employees are employed at a workplace, the employer must provide a suitable first aid box which is accessible in the workplace for the treatment of the injured
- more than 10 employees are employed at a workplace, the employer must ensure that for every group of up to 50 employees at that particular workplace there is at least one person readily available during normal working hours who is in possession of a valid first aid certificate issued by an organisation approved by the chief inspector (DOL).
When should first aid boxes be provided?
The Regulation makes provision that first aid facilities must be provided ”Where more than five employees are employed at a workplace”
Correct placement of the first aid boxes:
‘The employer must provide a first aid box or boxes at or near the workplace, available and accessible for the treatment of injured persons at that workplace.”
How many first aid boxes should be provided?
The number of boxes required should be determined by the employer, taking the following into account:
- the type of injuries that are likely to occur at a workplace,
- the nature of the activities performed and
- the number of employees employed at such workplace
What should the first aid box contain?
Suitable first aid equipment, as listed in the prescribed Annexure. (You will find the Annexure at the back of the General Administrative Regulations)
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General remarks and comments:
- Articles used for first aid purposes should always be replaced as soon as possible after it has been used.
- The employer must perform regular inspections of the first aid boxes in the workplace to ensure that the boxes contain the prescribed ”minimum contents.’
- Items contained in the box should also be inspected for expiry dates. All expired equipment should be discarded and replaced immediately.
- A formal first aid register must be provided for the purpose of recording all incidents where first aid had to be provided.
- A name list of the certified first aider(s) could also be kept in or near the first aid box.