South Africa: Private Sector Records Slight Improvement in Safety Compliance

The Department of Employment and Labour's Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) has recorded a slight improvement in safety compliance in the private sector, while the government sector has seen a slight decline.

Inspector General Aggy Moiloa on Tuesday said the private sector has registered an improvement of one percentage point to 58%, while the public sector recorded a decline of 2%, bringing it to 45%.

"What should be noted is that the compliance rate for the general industry sector has been relatively constant at 57%, with very little variance... while the government sector, similarly, has been at a very low compliance rate of 47% over the same period... with very little variance.

"There were more than 533 prohibition notices served over this period, with a further 3 077 notices served overall," Moiloa said.

The figures come at the time when the department has noted increased claims to the Compensation Fund (CF), and has upped the ante in paying outstanding Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) lockdown benefits.

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), the department said, has also worked hard to limit the number of retrenchments and has repurposed its operations in anticipation of a jobs bloodbath.

A total of 4 433 inspections have been carried out in the private sector since 27 March 2020 to date, including 385 prohibitions notices served, 470 notices of improvements and 1 445 contraventions.

Moiloa said most notices have been served in KwaZulu-Natal, followed by the Western Cape.

In the public sector, Moiloa said out of 1 138 inspections, only 516 were compliant, while 622 were non-compliant.

"In the period, 148 prohibitions, 122 improvement notices and 507 contraventions notices were served. Cumulatively, 5 571 inspections have been conducted, with 3 070 compliant and 2 500 non-compliant - which is a cause for concern.

"We believe that all workplaces need to take extra care to ensure healthy and safe environments, especially with the pandemic upon us. The slight improvement is a positive step and we urge accelerated improvements in compliance," said Moiloa.

Prohibition notices

The manufacturing sector has had the biggest number of prohibitions at 43, followed by 33 in the hospitality industry, 17 in the construction industry, 15 in iron and steel, 14 in agriculture and forestry, nine in the financial industries, including call centres, as well as eight in the food and beverage industries.

In the public sector, the Post Office has been slated for leading in prohibition with 20 notices, followed by the Police with 19 notices, Education 18, municipalities 17, Justice and Constitutional Development 15, Home Affairs nine, whilst both Health and Community Services had 16 notices.

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