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Promulgated ergonomics regulations of 2019

The Ergonomic Regulations were promulgated in December 2019.

Ergonomics aims to balance the interaction between various elements within the work-system including tools/technology, tasks, environment, organisation and persons in the workplace. It has a serious impact on the health and safety of employees as well as the productivity and performance.

The regulations speak to an ergonomics programme approach which should be integrated into existing occupational health and safety programmes. An ergonomics programme is a systematic process for anticipating, identifying, analysing and controlling ergonomic risks. The Regulations are intended to protect the health and safety of any person who may be exposed to ergonomic risks in the workplace.

ergonomics

Industry should take note of two (2) requirements in the Regulations, i.e. information, instruction and training (Regulation 3) and an Ergonomics Risk Assessment (Regulation 6).

Regulation 3 states that the employer shall ensure that employees who may be exposed to ergonomic risks, be made familiar with basic ergonomic principles and that a training programme be implemented. Training should be conducted on commencement of employment with ongoing training, based on the severity of the ergonomic risks.

Regulation 6 states that it is the duty of the employer to conduct a risk assessment for all tasks where an employee is exposed to ergonomic risks. The risk assessment has be to be conducted by a competent person (based on experience or qualifications).

A medical surveillance programme should be implemented based on the outcome of the risk assessment (Regulation 8).

As said before, these Regulations are new and the Department of Employment and Labour will host workshops for all role players to explain the impact and interpretations to all involved.

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Maritza Visser

Maritza Visser studied at the North West University (Potchefstroom) and obtained a M.Sc. Occupational Hygiene (Cum Laude) in 2001. She started as an Occupational Hygiene Assistant at FHG Scientific Services in 2001. In 2003 Maritza joined Geozone Environmental (then Margot Saner & Associates). Maritza is currently the Senior Occupational Hygienist and Business Development Manager at Geozone Environmental. She has a passion for the enhancement and improvement of human health in industry. Maritza is an avid weekend-warrior mountainbiker, a blog-writer and loves travelling.

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