Managing aspects of Health, Safety and the Environment requires a set of disciplines to holistically ensure all activities, processes, materials, equipment and operations are assessed for their impacts and appropriately dealt with. The impact on the environment, employees and even communities must always be considered when planning for and undertaking any activity with the aim to reduce company and individual risk in terms of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and those as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
The Occupational Health and Safety act was promulgated with the purpose of providing for the health and safety of persons in the workplace, persons using plant and machinery and the protection of persons against hazards in the workplace. The Act makes provision for an employer to, as far as reasonably practicable, provide a working environment that is safe and without risk to its employees or any other person who may be directly affected by their activities are not thereby exposed to hazards to their health and safety. These provisions in the act directly places a responsibility on an employer (and organisation) and where lack of required action is found as an offence, fines, conviction and/or imprisonment can be expected.
The National Environmental Management Act sets out offences that could result in fines or a jail sentence whereby the director(s) of an organisation be held directly and personally liable for offences occurring or previously occurred within the organisation. These offences can range from failing to comply with specific operating requirements stipulated in an environmental authorisation, unlawfully conducting activities without an environmental authorising or leading to significant environmental pollution among other. NEMA further includes a Duty of Care (Section 28) requiring organisations to take reasonable measures to prevent, mitigate and remediate environmental pollution.
Based on NEMA and OSHA, organisations have a combined duty and responsibility to ensure that their activities and actions have no risk or impact on communities, employees, or the environment and they must take action to minimise this risk. Minimisation of risk can take various forms as per activity and organisation specific requirements. This often includes workplace, activity and construction audits, provision of training on health and safety, general environmental awareness training, compulsory health and safety audits, contractor and safety file management, environmental & compliance monitoring and a range of other works that can ultimately ensure the risk is mitigated and a safe space created.
Contact ENVASS today for any assistance required in creating a safe space.