Blitz inspections condcuted by the Departmentof Labour in the agricultural sector yield surprising but encouraging results
Blitz inspections in the Agricultural Sector painting a positive picture as cases of non-compliance are not as bad as anticipated. As part of this year’s Workers Month campaign, the Department of Labour in the Free State conducted inspections at Green Park Farm, Yukon Farms and Stols Farm in Bothaville. These inspections are conducted by inspectors representing all competencies within the Inspection and Enforcement Services Directorate of the Department. Out of three farms inspected, only Yukon Farms was found to be in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
This company failed to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its employees, its electrical installations did not conform to safety regulations as their distribution boxes were not covered and labelled, and had loose wires running about in the workplace. There were no proper safety signs and notices in terms of safety standards. The employer’s incident register was there just for compliance purposes but no incidents were recorded on the register while there were incidents that took place in this workplace. Contravention notices were then served to the employer and they will be required to rectify all the non-compliances within 60 days.
The other two companies were found to be in compliant with all provisions of labour laws. “We would really like to commend those employers who are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that they comply with our labour legislations. On the same token, we call on those who are still lagging behind to follow suit or face the full might of the law. It is inconceivable and mind-boggling that at this day and age, we still have employers who are disregarding labour laws and therefore putting the safety of their workers in jeopardy,” lamented Nomfundo Douw-Jack – Head of the Department of Labour in the Free State.
Coupled with these inspections were advocacy sessions where workers were taken through different pieces of labour legislation, and the services of the Department of Labour as per the mandate bestowed on the Department by the country’s Constitution. Workers were also afforded an opportunity to tell the Department if and/or where it is failing them. This is part of pro-active measures the Department adopted to ensure that its interventions are in keeping with the issues, concerns and suggestions made by workers who are, in turn, the end users of the services of the Department.
‘It is required by law that you give your employer notice of termination of service should you get another job elsewhere. You need to give the employer a 1 week, 2 weeks and a 1 month notice if you worked for such employer for zero to six months, six to twelve months, and one or more years respectively,” Ishmael Nala – Labour Inspector, told workers.
Workers were also taken through other provisions of the Sectoral Determination 13: Farm Worker Sector stipulating the different types of leave employees are entitled to, hours of work and the need to have written particulars of employment with their respective employers.