Lenient occupational safety laws allowed local companies to get away with inadequate safety measures, the Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene said yesterday.
Deon van Vuuren, the institute's president, said almost every industry in the country was dangerous if not properly controlled. People who worked in Mpumalanga, Limpopo and the North West were at most risk. Most mines and their refineries, as well as steel companies, the most dangerous industries, were based in those provinces.
Most firms did not carry out risk assessments every two years, as required by law, because government inspections rarely took place, Van Vuuren said. "America and Europe are at least 20 times stricter than we are."
Though the law was clear on what companies should do, it did not indicate how frequently government inspections should be conducted.
"The quality of the inspections is very poor because occupational hygiene is a specialised field," said Van Vuuren. Just over 100 labour inspectors had to handle 15 different sets of regulations. Less than 20 inspectors specialised in occupational safety.
full story from Business Report here