On 4 June 2020, Notice R.639 was published in Government Gazette No. 43400, in terms of which the Minister of Employment and Labour issued a Consolidated COVID-19 Direction. The Consolidated COVID-19 Direction replaces the COVID-19 Direction on Health and Safety in the Workplace issued by the aforesaid Minister on 29 April 2020 (Notice 479 of Government Gazette No. 43257).

The Consolidated COVID-19 Direction seeks to ensure that the measures taken by employers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 ("OHSA") are consistent with the overall national strategies and policies to minimise the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Consolidated COVID-19 Direction also stipulates measures that must be taken by employers in order to protect the health and safety of workers and members of the public who enter their workplaces or who are exposed to their working activities. The workplaces to which the Consolidated COVID-19 Direction apply are set out in clauses 13 to 15, and relate to industries outside of the mining industry. The measures provided for in the Consolidated COVID-19 Direction, include: 

  • workplace risk assessments;
  • engineering and administrative controls;
  • health and safety work practices/measures; and
  • personal protective equipment 

The Consolidated COVID-19 Direction also provides for the obligations of employees and matters relating to the refusal by employees to work due to exposure to COVID-19.

The Consolidated COVID-19 Direction does not reduce the existing obligations of the employer in terms of OHSA, nor does it prevent an employer from implementing more stringent measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at workplaces.

The Consolidated COVID-19 Direction came into effect on the date of its publication on 4 June 2020.

Click here to view a copy of the Consolidated COVID-19 Direction.

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.