Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2016
On Wednesday, 06 May 2015, pre-eminent specialist attorneys from
ENSafrica conducted their annual seminar at Emperors Palace in
Johannesburg (in conjunction with LexisNexis) to discuss legal
principles and developments in mine health and safety law. The
attorneys and speakers at the seminar were Willem Le
Roux and Pieter Colyn (directors and
joint heads of the Mine and Occupational Health and Safety
Department at ENSafrica) and Celeste Coles and
Warren Hendricks, both directors in the
aforementioned department. A number of topics were discussed, with
the speakers and delegates interacting and considering certain
One of the first topics of discussion was the proposed
amendments to the Mine Health and Safety Act, No. 29 of 1996
("the MHSA"). Willem Le Roux
pointed out that the legislative processes started some time ago.
In November 2013, the previous Minister of Mineral Resources gave
notice of her intention to introduce a draft Mine Health and Safety
Bill, 2013 in Parliament. Interested persons were afforded 60 days
to submit written representations on the proposed Bill. In November
2014, Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, the current Minister of Mineral
Resources caused the draft Billto be referred to the National
Economic Development and Labour Council
("Nedlac") for consideration. Prior to the
referral of the draft Bill to Nedlac, the Department of Mineral
Resources ("the DMR") caused certain proposed
amendments to be made to the bill which are being debated at
Willem le Roux said that the most important
proposed amendment relates to the obligation of an employer to
provide training to employees. He explained that at present the
employer is required in terms of section 10 of the MHSA to provide,
as far as reasonably practicable, training to employees to ensure
that they may perform their work safely. The present obligation
accords with the Safety and Health in Mines Convention, 1995 of the
International Labour Organisation, which has been ratified by
Government. It is now proposed to delete the criterion of
"reasonable practicability" in section 10. This
will mean that the training obligation on the part of the
obligation will become absolute, which is extremely onerous and
also in breach of the International Convention.
Willem also highlighted a number of the proposed
amendments to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and
Diseases Act, No. 130 of 1993 which will be very onerous for
employers if implemented.
Pieter Colyn discussed the legal principles
governing the obligation of an employer to prepare a report in
terms of section 11(5) of the MHSA in respect of a reportable
accident, serious illness or health threatening occurrence.
Pieter also discussed the legal position
extensively and debated whether the benefit that may be derived
from such a report (in terms of which, amongst others, an employer
is required to identify the cause(s) of an accident and implement
remedial measures flowing therefrom) is undermined by the fact that
by recording such aspects, an employer may be incriminating itself
or individual employees. Practical examples and suggestions were
also highlighted regarding the completion of the requisite reports,
which may prevent an employer from incriminating itself.
A comprehensive presentation was also made in respect of the
safety criterion prescribed in terms of the MHSA, and the steps to
be taken to facilitate compliance with the obligation to ensure a
working place is safe as far as "reasonably
practicable". Pieter also discussed the
elements that must be proven in respect of the criminal
transgression of culpable homicide with particular focus on the
concept of the "reasonable person".
Celeste Coles discussed aspects regarding legal
appointments and debated, amongst others, practical considerations
regarding appointment structures at a mine, with particular
reference to mandatory and discretionary appointments. The
importance of written appointments was emphasised and the
importance of such documents as part of a management tool was
highlighted. Warren Hendricks discussed the
requirements of section 11(8) of the MHSA and regulation 10.1 of
the Mine Health and Safety Regulations and summarised the duties
and responsibilities of an employer regarding an accident scene and
the obligation not to disturb the same. Warren pointed out that the
obligation is qualified in that the employer may disturb the scene
of an accident in order to prevent a further accident, to remove
the injured or dead or to rescue persons.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
The Ministry of Human Resources has recently issued a string of new ministerial resolutions and decrees designed to address gaps in the employment regulatory framework and reinforce existing legislation...
Employees must understand the notice periods stipulated by law. When an employee gives notice of their resignation to an employer, they is advising the employer that they will cease to work for the employer from a certain date.
Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic located on the west coast of Africa. Modern Nigeria has its origins as a British colony through the 19th and 20th century until it achieved independence in 1960.
Under Saudi Arabian law, the employment relationship between employer and employee is governed comprehensively by the Labor and Workmen's Law (the Labor Law).
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).