Appointment of responsible and competent persons under the Mine Health and Safety Act, No. 29 of 1996 (“MHSA”) and the Regulations has always been challenging for several reasons including (a) various key appointments are still required under the old Regulations that survived from the Mines and Works Act, 1956, the Minerals Act, 1991, and now under the provisions of Schedule 4 to the MHSA (such as the engineering appointments and responsibilities), (b) the promulgation of new Regulations under the MHSA, where, in several instances, the responsibility is on the “employer” and not the “manager” as was often the case with the old Regulations, and (c) there are certain appointments that are required under the sections of the MHSA. All of this means that there are numerous appointment provisions throughout the MHSA and Regulations, and the implementation of a compliant appointment structure requires a deep knowledge and understanding of how the various Regulations and the Sections of the MHSA work together to ensure that the statutory appointment structure is implemented correctly.
I have been practicing for over 27 years in the specialised health and safety area, and for as far back as I can recall, there have been various projects initiated to consider consolidating the MHSA with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, No. 85 of 1993, and to simplify and consolidate the appointment structure required, with a more defined allocation of duties and responsibilities.
The initiative to consolidate the appointments, duties and responsibilities, in one chapter has gained momentum, and the discussions surrounding a new Chapter 2 of the MHSA Regulations, is progressing well.
This means that mines should start considering the draft Chapter 2 of the MHSA Regulations as a matter of urgency, so that a proper transitional plan can be prepared, for the implementation of the new appointment structures and allocation of duties and responsibilities, as soon as the new Chapter 2 is promulgated.
If you require any assistance with understanding the proposed duties and responsibilities (appointments) under the new Chapter 2, and how these requirements will need to be implemented, please contact me.
~ Warren Beech, CEO.