Covid-19: What your workplace must be like from 1 May

With some 1.5 million people about to return to work from 1 May as South Africa enters stage 4 lockdown, there is some confusion about what rules will apply in the workplace.

Speaking at a media briefing today (28 April) Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane gave an overview of what was expected.

“The guidelines will help employers identify risk levels in the workplace and determine what appropriate control measures to implement. The focus is on engineering controls, administrative controls, safe work practices and personal protective equipment,” she said.

The following guidelines are to be used by employers resuming business from 1 May:

  • Installing high-efficiency air filters and increasing ventilation rates in the work environment
  • Encouraging sick workers to stay at home, minimising contact among workers, clients and customers by replacing face-to-face meetings with virtual communications
  • Minimising the number of workers on-site at any given time through rotation or shift work and discontinuing non-essential travel
  • Developing emergency communication plans, including a task team for answering workers’ concerns and internet-based communications
  • Provide personal hygiene resources such as no-touch refuse bins, hand soap, alcohol-based hand rubs, disinfectants, and disposable towels
  • Provide gloves, goggles, face shields, facemasks, gowns, aprons, coats, overalls, hair and shoe covers and respiratory protection where appropriate.

According to the minister, the purpose of these rules was to ensure that the health and safety of workers and the members of the public who enter the workplaces was protected at all times.