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Draconian New Code Forced upon Employers

Draconian New Code Forced upon Employers

To comply or not to comply...

NEASA is currently preparing a High Court challenge to review and set aside the introduction of these measures.

Immediately upon the lifting of the National State of Disaster on 5 April 2022, employers were subjected to a range of new, ill-considered obligations, which will have far-reaching ethical, financial and legal consequences.

CATCH 22

The current Covid-19 state of affairs challenges NEASA and employers in the following manner: 

  • it is part of NEASA’s function to advise business to navigate safely through the myriad of government’s business-hostile regulations and red tape;
  • however, these latest regulations are not only unconstitutional (in the sense that it aims to disregard individual constitutional freedoms), but also downright unlawful, unreasonable, impractical and virtually impossible to implement; and
  • implementation will require substantial expense, this while the outcome of the litigation hangs in the balance. 

The question which consequently arises is: is it justified for NEASA to advise employers to implement something which we, on ethical, moral and legal grounds, are about to challenge in Court?

The dilemma is that employers are legally required to, as from 5 April 2022, comply with the Code of Practice: Managing Exposure to SARS-CoV-2 in the Workplace 2022 (‘the Code’), with non-compliance carrying severe penalties.

Although NEASA is in the process of challenging the legality of this Code, we can assist those employers who elect to comply therewith in the interim.

To this end, NEASA is developing a service offering aimed at ensuring compliance with the Code and the Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) regulations and more information will be provided once the product has been finalised.

This service offering will include: 

  • conducting a Hazardous Identification Risk Assessment, based on the requirements of the Code and the HBA regulations;
  • drafting a report and recommendation based on the outcome of the risk assessment;
  • advising as to:
    • control measures that need to be implemented;
    • administrative measures that need to be implemented;
    • engineering controls;
    • Covid-19 record keeping in compliance with POPIA and HBA regulations;
  • drafting or updating a plan in respect of implementation of control measures; and
  • drafting of all supporting documents in respect of disclosure of information by employees. 

The regulations and the Code are of a technical nature, and it is advised that employers should engage the services of NEASA, should they elect to comply with this Code.

Employers who require this service offering can contact the nearest NEASA regional office for more information.

 

 

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