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    What is occupational health and safety?

    Occupational health and safety is a multidisciplinary line of work that is concerned with protecting the safety, health and wellbeing of employees and people entering the labour force. It is also concerned with protecting the safety of co-workers, family members, employers, clients, suppliers, nearby communities and other members of the public affected by the working environment. Occupational health and safety is concerned with:
    • Protecting the rights and interests of workers in the workplace so that they can work in conditions that do not pose risks to their health and safety;
    • ensuring that employers meet their obligations with respect to creating and maintaining workplaces that do not pose risks to employees' health and safety
    • The prevention and reduction of working-time and production losses, the loss of trained personnel and expenditure necessitated by the retraining and treatment of injured personnel and the training of new personnel; occupational health and safety therefore also play a very important role in the economic sustainabilty of the business; and
    • Controlling the negative effects of occupational injuries and diseases in terms of the applicable compensation legislation.
    However, it goes beyond safe and healthy workplaces because it also deals with the establishment and maintenance of a safe and healthy culture, in other words, it also deals with the mindset of all people, whether at home or wherever they may be, to accept responsibility for their own safety and health as well as for the safety and health of other people who are with them.
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    Occupational health and safety in the workplace

    Occupational health in the workplace is mainly regulated by:

    The Occupational Health and Safety Act (No. 85 of 1993, or OHSA); and
    the Mine Health and Safety Act (No. 29 of 1996, or MHSA).

    These two Acts contain comprehensive regulations that have the same legal force as the Acts. The provisions of these Acts are too extensive to discuss here and therefore we provide general information only. Read Further

    Test your knowledge

    What is acceptable with respect to safety in the workplace and what is not? What does the law say about health and safety issues in the workplace? Test your knowledge here and stand the chance to win a prize!


    The following legislation is among the most important legislation regarding occupational health and safety. Click here

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