On 1 October 2020, the Department of Employment and Labour quietly published new consolidated Covid-19 regulations to which workplaces must adhere.
Although much of the previous regulations have been retained, there are a number of significant amendments which places a massive additional administrative burden on already-overstretched employers.
The new amendments are as follows:
- Employers with more than 50 employees must submit a record of its risk assessment, as well as its policy regarding the protection of workers from Covid-19 to its Health and Safety Committee and to the Department of Employment and Labour, within 21 days from 1 October.
- These documents must be sent to the Chief Provincial Inspector. This requirement was previously reserved for employers with more than 500 employees
- Employers with more than 50 employees must submit data to the National Institute for Occupational Health in respect of prescribed categories of data
- This data must be provided once in respect of each employees’ vulnerability status for serious outcomes of a Covid-19 infection and weekly, before Tuesday, in respect of data pertaining to infected or high-risk employees for the previous week
- The 14 day isolation period for Covid-19 positive employees has now officially been reduced to 10 days, providing that the employee wears a surgical mask for 21 days from date of diagnosis, the employers closely monitors his/her symptoms and that personal hygiene in respect of masks, social distancing and cough etiquette is strictly adhered to
- In the instance of a high-risk exposure, employees so exposed must remain in quarantine for 10 days and be placed on sick leave in terms of the BCEA or, if sick leave has been exhausted, apply for an illness benefit
- Dispute resolution procedures in respect of employees who refuse to work due to a serious risk of Covid-19 exposure have been introduced
You can view the complete regulations here.