Employers have a duty under the Environment Regulation for workplaces of 1987 Section 2 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. This includes developing hot and cold environment policies and procedures to protect workers in hot and cold environments.
When you work in extreme temperatures, your body has to adapt. Employers has certain responsibilities to protect employees against such environments:
1) Subject to the provisions of subregulation (2), no employer shall require or permit an employee to work in an environment in which the time-weighted average dry-bulb temperature taken over a period of four hours is less than 6°C, unless the employer takes reasonable measures to protect such employee against the cold and further takes all precautions necessary for the safety of such employee:
Provided that, where outdoor work is performed, the employer shall take such measures and such precautions in an environment in which the actual dry-bulb temperature is less than 6°C at any time.
2) No employer shall require or permit an employee to work in a refrigerated environment in which the actual dry-bulb temperature is below 0°C unless –
a) the maximum exposure of the employee does not exceed the periods as indicated in the following table:
|Temperature °C||Maximum exposure|
|0° to -18°||No limit.|
|Lower than -18° but not lower than -34° degrees||Maximum continuous exposure during each hour = 50 minutes. After every exposure in a low-temperature area at least 10 minutes must be spent, under supervisions, in a comfortably warm environment.|
|Lower than -34° but not lower lower than -57°||Two periods of 30 minutes each, at least 4 hours apart.Total low- temperature exposure: 1 hour per day.|
|Lower than -57°||Maximum permissible exposure = 5 minutes during any 8-hour period.|
b)the employee is provided with the following protective clothing:
i) A nylon freezer suit or equivalent and, where the said temperature is below -34°C, such suit or equivalent shall be of double layer;
ii) a woolen Balaclava or equivalent;
iii. fur-lined leather gloves or equivalent;
iv) waterproof outer gloves with knitted woolen or equivalent inners as well as a waterproof apron where wet or thawing substances are handled;
v) woolen socks; and
vi) waterproof industrial boots or equivalent.
Provided that an employee who works in a low-temperature area in which the temperature is not lower than – 18°C for periods not exceeding five minutes in every hour need only be provided with an ordinary overall, gloves shoes, or equivalent;
c) the employee is, beforehand and thereafter, at intervals not exceeding one year, certified fit to work in such environment by a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse according to a protocol prescribed by such practitioner, and such employee is issued with a certificate to that effect; and
d) all the clothing worn by the employee is dry prior to entering the low-temperature area.
3) Where hand-held tools which vibrate at a frequency of vibration of less than 1 000 Hz are used at an actual dry-bulb temperature below 6°C, the employer shall provide an employee operating such tools with lined gloves, and ensure that he wears them.
4) Where the time-weighted average WBGT index, determined over a period of one hour, exceeds 30 in the environment in which an employee works, the employer of such employee shall –
- a) if practicable, take steps to reduce the said index to below 30; or b)
where it is not practicable to reduce the said index to below 30 and where hard manual labour is performed-
- i) have every such employee beforehand and thereafter, at intervals not exceeding one year, certified fit to work in such environment by a registered medical practitioner or a registered nurse according to a protocol prescribed by such practitioner, and every such employee shall, if found fit to work in such environment, be issued with a certificate to that effect by such practitioner or nurse; ii) ensure that every such employee is acclimatised to such working environment before he is required or permitted to work in such environment; iii. inform every such employee of the need to partake of at least 600 millilitres of water every hour; iv) train every such employee in the precautions to be taken to avoid heatstroke; and v) provide the means whereby every such employee can receive prompt first-aid treatment in the event of heatstroke:
Provided that, where the question arises as to whether any particular type of work does in fact constitute hard manual labour, the decision of an inspector shall be decisive.
For your heat stress or any other medical requirement, contact us on 0861 873 477 or email@example.com
Distributed by HSP Group SA (Pty) Ltd 17/5/2016