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Health and Safety Inspection Statistics Released by Department of Labour in South Africa

 Feb 2017

In a recent South African Parliamentary Committee meeting, the Labour Department performance self-assessment of 50% has been described as ‘depressing and unacceptable’.

DOLSA-logoThe key findings of the annual report on labour inspections, industrial relations, legislation impacts, employment equity, training of job seekers, and DOL IT problems, (for 2015-2016), were presented by Department of Labour (DOL) director-general, Tobile Lamati earlier in January to the ‘Portfolio Committee on Labour’ in Cape Town.

While the average DOL performance of just 50% against its own targets, this was an improvement on the figure of 44% of the previous year (2014), but unsurprisingly did not meet with MP approval with many labour relations projects and planned Impact of Legislation reports not realised. The DOL attributed its’ underperformance largely due to insufficient staff numbers and capacity being at just 44%.

International Sales Manager at Astutis, Joe Large commented:

“Recognising areas for improvement against targets is the first step to paving a more positive path for improved health and safety records. Understaffing seems to be a key issue here with a clear need for more qualified health and safety experts to be available to meet labour force inspection demands. Having seen a surge in the number of people taking recognised qualifications such as NEBOSH and IOSH in South Africa, I would hope to see these figures lowered as an increasing number of qualified professionals enter the labour force.”

Key Findings:

  • Occupational Health and Safety Act inspections were 63% against DOL targets for its Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) head office
  • 172,000 workplaces were inspected by Labour inspectors who acted on most of the non-compliant employers which resulted in prosecutions
  • Western Cape health and safety inspections totalled 12 454, although this was contrary to another figure represented at 6092, and enforcement notices as 5324 – it is hoped that clarification on this point will be released shortly
  • Winelands agriculture inspections were not relevant to labour problems in the other provinces according to a Gauteng MP
  • Free State inspections: 876 (55% on finalisation); enforcement notices: 804
  • Mpumalanga inspections: 1358 (48% on finalisation);  enforcement notices: 1274
  • North-West inspections: 851 (44% on finalisation); enforcement notices 845
  • Northern Cape inspections were found to be below target – distances were the reasoning behind the figures
  • Incident investigations ought to be completed in 90 days, the DOL’s target is 60 days
  • Delays were found to be a result of time delays in available health and safety technical experts/incident witnesses

Source: Parliamentary Monitoring Group (PMG) audio recording, January 2017


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