Wednesday | 22 April | 2020
By Reon Janse van Rensburg
According to Solidarity, the lockdown, in its current format, will implode. In light of this, Solidarity submitted comprehensive proposals to President Ramaphosa and the relevant ministers regarding possible changes to the lockdown measures.
A memorandum was sent to the President, which included, among other things, smart suggestions on how South Africans can return to their jobs in a healthy and responsible manner while a fearless battle is being fought against the coronavirus
The current lockdown measures are not sustainable; therefore, adjustments are needed to protect the economy and the livelihoods of South Africans.
Some of the proposals include amending the regulations to make it possible for people who can work in a healthy manner to return to work.
What do Solidarity’s risk-based assessments entail?
- Risk management in the workplace
Appropriate risk analyses must be done, and a daily analysis on the number of Covid-19 cases in the workplace should be performed. A written record of these risk analyses must be kept.
- Phasing in and ‘normalising’ production and work
Lifting of restrictions on work should be implemented in phases. For example, for the first two weeks employees may return to work on half the normal number of working days. Thereafter it increases to two-thirds of the normal number of working days for the following two weeks, and only thereafter the normal number of working days may be implemented.
- Restricting the number of people in the workplace
A rotation system may be implemented by means of a shift roster.
- Mass screening of workers at large workplaces
The workforce should be screened weekly on the premises to determine if any of the employees display symptoms of Covid-19.
- Safety equipment and protective clothing
It must be compulsory to wear protective clothing in the workplace. It must also be compulsory to wear appropriate masks, safety goggles and gloves where contact with colleagues and clients cannot be avoided, and these items must be provided and funded by the employer.
- Occupational health and safety guidelines
Employers should develop and implement a plan of action to provide for cases of direct exposure to someone with Covid-19, or for an employee that tests positive for Covid-19. This plan of action should include reporting, noticification, monitoring, reorganisation of work and decontamination.
Hand washing facilities, posters that indicate the best hand washing practices, hand sanitisers, facial masks and gloves, and dustbins with closed covers must be available. All cleaning personnel must be trained in cleaning techniques and they must be equipped with gloves and sufficient cleaning materials.
- During the pandemic, vulnerable employees such as people suffering from chronic illnesses, pregnant and breastfeeding women, people over 60 etc. should not be allowed to work unless they can do it from home.
“South Africa is a country of workers – and the unfortunate reality of the economy grinding to a halt is that workers will bear the brunt. It is in this spirit that Solidarity proposes stringent conditions under which we can get most of South Africa back to work during the lockdown period. We need to do everything we can to enable the South African workers to once again earn their living, and to enable workers to protect themselves, the vulnerable, the destitute and the lonely in our society.” – Flip Buys, Chairperson of the Solidarity Movement.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.