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News & Press: Health & Safety

Prevention of Occupational Injuries and diseases

Saturday, 02 September 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Ernest Roper
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In the industries workers are exposed to all kinds of hazards, these hazards could immediately affect their health. it reported that accidents were more likely to happen when there were inadequate company policies, unsafe practice, poor management commitment and insufficient training of workers (Hassanein A.G. & Hanna R.S; 2007: 257). From this a model was developed of occupational health service and was introduced to most of the companies.

The aim of OHS programmes is to promote the health of workers by means of preventing; controlling of occupational diseases and accidents and eliminating occupational hazards to health and safety in the workplace; develop and promote a healthy and safe work environment; enhancement of physical, mental and social well-being of workers. OHS procedures include health risk assessment; risk based medical surveillance; identifying and monitoring of vulnerable groups and chronic illness; treatment of non-occupational illnesses through primary health care; absenteeism and presentism management; employee wellness; health education and health promotion; counselling and referral services.

Causes of Occupational Injuries and diseases

Unsafe and unfavorable working conditions
Short cuts 
Working in unhygienic environment
Negligence in all aspects
Mental distractions
Excessive noise

Hazards of exposure

- Dust
- Fumes
- Sulphuric acid
- Carbon 

Legislation of Occupational Injuries and diseases

The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, Act 108 of 1996.
Mine Health & Safety Act and Regulations, Act 29 of 1996.
Minerals Act & Regulations, Act 50 of 1991.
Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act.
Occupational Health & Safety Act and Regulations, Act 85 of 1993.
Compensation for Occupational Injuries & Diseases Act, Act 130 of 1993.
Labour Relations.
Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Act 75 of 1997.
National Environment Management Act, Act 107 of 1998.

Prevention measures

1. Risk assessment

This can be implemented in the management process in the company. It consists of:
- Step 1. Identifying the hazards and those at risk
- Step 2. Evaluating and prioritizing risks
- Step 3. Deciding on preventive action
- Step 4. Taking action
- Step 5. Monitoring and reviewing

2. Hierarchy of hazard control.

1st priority: Elimination
2nd priority: Substitution
3rd priority: Engineering control
4th priority: Administrative controls
5th priority: Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

3. Health Education

4. Policies and Procedures

5. Training and Education

6. Audit


The health and safety programs must be implemented always. They must be formal, providing the workers information about the hazards present, rules and regulations of the company, the OHSA that applies to them, the consequences that will occur when they do not comply according to them. Policies and procedures of the company must be addresses. The health and safety team must also be present and remind workers of what they have observed and environment work that they do. The managers also must make time to also raise their views. The health and safety programs won’t be effective if some of the members of the company do not get involved. The participation of the multidisciplinary team is essential. Re-evaluation is very effective, and the practice of the prevention measures will help reduce occupational accidents and diseases in the workplace.

Master Builders KwaZulu-Natal Occupational Health Clinic

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