12. HEALTH SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES
During this reporting period, SAHPRA continued to implement planned Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) management activities. These activities entailed the effective identification and mitigation of safety, health and environment risks through ensuring ongoing safety, health and environment compliance and training. OHS monthly meetings were held, and all compliance measures are up to date. SAHPRA continues to demonstrate commitment to health and safety of its employees through its occupational health and safety structures. This is to ensure that it creates a conducive environment for all staff members.
SAHPRA regards a proper working environment as key to service delivery. It, therefore, has an approved OHS Policy that guides management on health and safety matters within the organisation. SAHPRA’s OHS Policy was approved by the Chief Executive Officer in June 2021 and the amended OHS Policy was approved in October 2021.
Section 8(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act No. 85 of 1993) as amended requires the Accounting Officer to provide as reasonably practicable, working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees. SAHPRA established the OHS Committee which consists of OHS representatives who are assigned with duties of responsibility as outlined in Section 17 and 18 of the OHS Act (1993). SAHPRA complied with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (1993) to ensure health and safety in the workplace.
SAHPRA has appointed an OHS Committee, and Safety, Health and Environment representatives from regional offices are part of the OHS Committee. The Committee is functional, and meetings are held on a quarterly basis. OHS representatives have also been appointed to identify hazards within SAHPRA’s offices.
The new Safety, Health and Environment representatives from the Cape Town Regional Office have been appointed. SAHPRA’s OHS Committee comprises of employees, management, and unions. Its function is to ensure continuous improvement to health and safety systems within the SAHPRA. The Cape Town Regional Office Safety, Health and Environment representatives have undergone accredited training on evacuation and management procedure, to ensure the team is capacitated to assist in responding to emergencies in order prevent or mitigate adverse consequences.
SAHPRA also has a COVID-19 Steering Committee. The Committee is functional and meetings are held on a bi-weekly basis. The committee plays a key role in ensuring that employees comply with COVID-19 protocols aimed at protecting them against the virus.
An Emergency Plan for SAHPRA’s Head Office and Cape Town office was approved as well as SAHPRA’s Risk Assessment Plan.