Covid-19 and your workplace in South Africa

What must employers do before they re-open their business premises?

Before reopening their business, each employer must ensure that social distancing measures are implemented throughout the workplace, including areas such as the canteen, bathrooms, and monitoring queue control. Measures may include dividing the workforce to avoid heavy concentration of workers in common areas. We address the expectations on employers to ensure employee safety and to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.

Prior to opening, employers must have a Covid-19 plan in place which should be visible and retained for inspection purposes if needed. In addition to a Covid-19 action plan, businesses must also designate a Covid-19 compliance officer who will monitor the implementation and adherence to the hygiene and health protocols within the workplace.

Covid-19 operating plan for small to medium businesses

Various arrangements will have to be made by employers to facilitate the opening of their business to avoid and reduce the spread of Covid-19. These precautions include among other things:

  • Sanitary (Disinfection cleaning) and social distancing measures
  • Screening facilities and systems
  • Rotational arrangements for staff where necessary
  • Arrangements for customers, clients, and any visitors to the premises
  • Use of decontamination cleaning services.


Covid-19 and your workplace in South Africa

Every employer must rearrange the workplace to ensure minimal contact between workers and anyone that visitors the premises such as clients or contractors. Reducing the number of workers may assist in achieving social distancing. Workers with comorbidities are required to stay at home and this is a huge factor in limiting the exposure of the virus.

Employers are to notify employees that if they are sick or have any symptoms associated with Covid-19, they must not come to work and are to take paid leave in terms of section 22 of the Basic Conditions of Employment. Employers are to notify all employees of the Covid-19 directives and how the company plans to implement new rules and regulations.


Employer workplace requirements for Covid-19

Hand Sanitizer

Every employer must provide, free of charge, sufficient quantities of hand sanitizer with a 70% alcohol content for workers and for any members of the public the worker may interact with.

General Hygiene

Employers need to ensure that work surfaces and equipment are disinfected before employees are allowed to return to work. Regular Covid-19 cleaning should also take place, including bio-hazard cleaning and remediation cleaning if there are any positive cases of Covid-19 in the workplace.

All employers must provide adequate facilities for washing hands with paper towels to dry the hands, fabric towelling is not recommended. Workers are required to wash and sanitize their hands regularly especially after interacting with any members of the public.


Additional Covid-19 safety recommendations

Employers should encourage sick employees to stay at home. Should any employees display acute respiratory illness symptoms, they should be separated from other employees and sent him immediately.

Employers are given a strict recommendation to schedule routine environmental cleaning, with specific regard to high traffic areas and surfaces such as workstations, bathrooms, countertops and doorknobs. Employers can also choose to provide employees with disposable wipes to clean commonly used surfaces throughout the day such as keyboards, remotes, desks, keys etc.

In the case of suspected exposure contact the Coronavirus hotline in South Africa: 0800 02 9999


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