racist Coronavirus panic-buying

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Labour department cracks the whip on non-compliant retailers

The department has cracked the hip on non-compliant retailers who have failed to comply with the rules and regulations of the lockdown.

racist Coronavirus panic-buying

Image via wikimedia commons

The department of employment and labour inspectors in Gauteng on Monday closed two retail store outlets for failing to comply with Covid-19 regulations and not adhering to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act.

A blitz inspection by the department’s inspectors in the Pretoria central business district (CBD) led to the closure to two retail stores “to protect the lives of the employees and the public”, it said in a statement on Monday.

‘We will shut you down’

Department of employment and labour Gauteng provincial chief inspector, advocate Msiza observed that it seemed that those to whom courtesy and generosity have been extended to trade in these time of crisis are not complying with the laws of the country.

Msiza said the inspections have just begun, and if the conduct of non-compliance continues the inspectorate will be left with no option but to shut down non-compliant employers.

“We are conducting inspections in this time of need to give effect to government’s efforts to fight the spread of Covid-19. In our case our role is in the workplaces.

“As a result we are prioritising inspections in terms of OHS Act section 29 – which gives us powers to inspect workplaces with a specific emphasis on Hazardous risks posed by Biological Agents (HBA), its regulations, and environmental regulations as promulgated in terms of the aforesaid Act,” he said.

PPE liability lies with employer

The department of employment and labour blitz inspections conducted today yielded the following:

  • * U-Save/Shoprite store at Francis Baard opposite the department’s head office – was issued with a prohibition notice and ordered to close. The store did not issue personal protective equipment (PPEs) to its cashiers, social distancing was not enforced and there was no risk assessment plan in place at the store.
  • * Kit Kat Express – the store was issued with an improvement notice. The employees were issued with personal protective equipment’s, however were not using them.
  • * Shoprite in Middestad centre – was ordered to close after it was issued with the prohibitive notice. Workers were not provided with PPE’s and the store was also not complying with HBA regulations.
  • * Centre Walk Pick ’n Pay – was found to be compliant.
  • * The Tramshed (Die Tremloods) Pick ’n Pay – was found to be compliant with OHS and HBA regulations.

Msiza cautioned employees against using the PPE provided by the employer. He said the liability for the use of PPEs lies with the employer. He said an employer had a duty to ensure the use of PPEs and an employee refusing to use them could be charged for misconduct.

“Our focus is to check as to whether workplaces are hygienic, clean and healthy, [and] are not contaminated,” he said.

Msiza said the blitz inspections will continue for the duration of the lockdown and will in the main focus on the retail sector, pharmaceuticals, and food chains.

“The bottom line is that if you are not healthy, hygienic and observing laws to protect workers – we close! The public must take this [coronavirus] issue very serious for the sake of their own health and that of their families,” he warned.

– African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Naomi Mackay