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On 11 June 2021, the Minister of Employment and Labour gazetted the consolidated directions on Occupational Health and Safety (“OHS”) Measures in Certain Workplaces (“the consolidated directions”).

Importantly, the direction does not apply to:

  • a workplace excluded in terms of section 1(3) of the OHSA (being mines, mining areas or works in terms of the Minerals Act, and ships, boats or cranes in terms of the Merchant Shipping Act); and
  • any other workplace in terms of which another Minister has issued a direction dealing with the health and safety of employees.

The consolidated directions have implications for employers who are intending on implementing a mandatory vaccination programme in respect of COVID-19.

In terms of Regulation 3(1) of the consolidated directions, all employers are mandated, within 21 days of 11 June 2021, to undertake a risk assessment on whether it intends to make the vaccination mandatory and, if so, to identify those employees who by virtue of the risk of transmission through their work or their risk for severe COVID-19 disease or death due to their age or co-morbidities that must be vaccinated.

Once the risk assessment has been completed, the employer must then develop a plan which, amongst other things, outlines the measures that the employer intends to implement in respect of the vaccination of its employees in accordance with the consolidated directions, taking into account the guidelines contained in Annexure C of the consolidated directions. The consolidated directions further oblige the employer to consult on the plan with any representative trade union, as contemplated in section 14(1) of the Labour Relations Act (“LRA”), as well as any health and safety committee in terms of section 19 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”), or any health and safety representative designated in terms of section 17(1) of the OHSA.

As always, Beech Veltman Inc. is available to advise employers on the consolidated directions, as well as the development and implementation of the risk assessment and plan as outlined in the consolidated directions.

For any further information, please contact Melanie Hart at melanie@bv-inc.co.za or Bryan White at bryan@bv-inc.co.za