Thursday, 02 April 2020 20:18

Labour inspectors close Mpumalanga co-op

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A Department of Employment and Labour blitz inspection in Standerton, Mpumalanga, has led to the closure of Pax Agricultural Primary Co-operation Limited. 


The employer was found to be non-compliant with the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act standards and also not adhering to COVID-19 regulations.

The blitz inspections were triggered by a number of anonymous complaints, which were reported to the department.

The inspection found that the employer failed to conduct a risk assessment in order to implement precautionary measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Among other findings, employees were not trained on the precautionary measures to be taken in order to protect themselves against any harm to their well-being, particularly on the risks caused by exposure to hazardous biological agents like COVID-19.

Employees were also not given sanitisers, water and soap for basic personal hygiene, and were not furnished with personal protective equipment, as per the OHS standards.

“Readiness from the side of the employer to deal with COVID-19 and to protect workers was non-existent,” said the department’s Mpumalanga Chief Director of Provincial Operations, Margaret Mazibuko.

As a result, the employer was served with a prohibition notice and will remain closed until measures in line with COVID-19 guidelines from the Department of Health are put in place.

Immediate prosecution was recommended by the inspector and a criminal case was also opened with the South African Police Service (SAPS) in Standerton, after the employer illegally conducted business at a prohibited place.       

During the inspections, one inspector was assaulted by a farm owner in Charl Cilliers, and an assault case has been opened with SAPS in Standerton.

Other workplaces visited were Albany Bakery in Secunda, where the employer was found not compliant and not observing the precautionary measures of social distance.

Spar Carolina and OK Value Market in Middleburg were found to be compliant and had sanitisers for both employees and clients.

There was also control of the number of clients inside the shop and the employees at till points were provided with masks.         

Mazibuko said due to the high number of queries and complaints that the province is receiving on non-compliant employers, the province will conduct more blitz inspections from 6 - 10 April around Malelane and Komatipoort, with a specific focus on the agriculture and retail sectors.

Last modified on Thursday, 02 April 2020 20:29