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THE ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SUSTAINING HUMAN CAPITAL

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THE ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SUSTAINING HUMAN CAPITAL Professor Avinash Govindjee Faculty of Law, NMMU CCMA Conclusion and questions Key issues How ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: THE ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN SUSTAINING HUMAN CAPITAL


1
THE ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN
SUSTAINING HUMAN CAPITAL
Professor Avinash Govindjee Faculty of Law,
NMMU CCMA
2
Key issues
  • How can the South African human capital /
    workforce be sustained through good health and
    safety laws and practices?
  • Are there international standards / best practice
    experiences which can inform the South African
    position?
  • Does the South African constitutional framework
    impact in this area?
  • How to view occupational health and safety in the
    emerging South African context?

3
Is occupational health and safety (still) a
global issue?
  • Amount of compensation paid and number of cases
    reported increase yearly
  • Overall annual rate of occupational fatal and
    non-fatal accidents is estimated at 270 million
  • 160 million workers suffer from work-related
    diseases Two-thirds cause a loss of four or more
    working days
  • Economic impact (including compensation,
    training costs, medical expenses, loss of working
    days) roughly 4 of GNP
  • ILO figures

4
Is occupational health and safety (still) a real
issue in SA?
  • The DoL has acknowledged the cost of
    non-adherence to OHS (amendments promised)
  • Death, disability, loss of income, decline in
    GDP, general cost to the country
  • Over 230 000 workplace accidents / 10 000
    diseases reported per annum (excludes
    self-employed and ICs, issue of under-reporting
    in Southern Africa)
  • Estimated at R30 billion a decade ago (3,5 of
    GDP)
  • Costs to employers, workers and their families
    and the state (CF paid R2,3 billion last year)

5
  • Unfortunately, the most creative social
    protection systems cannot confront a tidal wave
    of health problems from insecure, hazardous and
    low-quality jobs
  • An awareness of the social cost or injuries /
    diseases is seriously lacking

6
The approach
  • International perspective
  • The regional position
  • Best practices
  • Constitutional framework and legal issues
  • Developing world / globalisation /
    informalisation / GFC considerations
  • General remarks

7
International framework ILO Standards
  • Occupational Safety and Health Convention No. 155
    of 1981 (ratified in 2003) (tripartite
    occupational health systems, rights and
    responsibilities)
  • Each member shall, in consultation with the most
    representative organisations of employers and
    workers, formulate, implement and periodically
    review a coherent national policy on occupational
    safety, occupational health and the working
    environment.
  • Identify functions and responsibilities of all
    stakeholders (but recognise complementary
    character)
  • Review national policy at regular intervals
  • Adequate and appropriate system of inspection and
    enforcement adequate penalties for violations
  • States must provide guidance to employers and
    workers to assist them to comply with their legal
    obligations
  • No cost to workers

8
Occupational Health and Safety Convention No. 155
of 1981
  • Addresses the standard of reasonably
    practicable
  • The Convention also provides for the protection
    of a worker from unfair consequences - removal
    from situation of imminent and serious danger (SA
    cases)
  • Prescribes that the coverage of safety and health
    law is to apply to all branches of economic
    activity and to all branches of activity covered
  • Safety and Health in Mines Convention No. 176 of
    1995

9
Other (unratified) Conventions
  • Occupational Health Services Convention No. 161
    of 1981
  • Safety and Health in Construction Convention
    No.167 of 1988
  • Chemicals Convention No 170 of 1990
  • Prevention of Major Industrial Accidents
    Convention No 174 of 1993

10
Promotional Framework for Occupational Safety and
Health Convention, 187 of 2006
  • Attempts to raise the profile of OHS as an issue
    both nationally and internationally
  • Safe work is an integral part of the ILOs decent
    work agenda
  • Fundamental building blocks of a global OHS
    strategy are the building and maintenance of a
    national preventative safety and health culture

11
A national preventative safety and health
culture
  • Right to a safe and healthy working environment
    is respected at all levels
  • Governments, employers and workers actively
    participate to secure a safe and healthy working
    environment through a system of defined rights,
    responsibilities and duties and
  • The principle of prevention is accorded the
    highest priority

12
Building the culture
  • Requires making use of all available means to
    increase
  • General awareness,
  • knowledge and
  • understanding of the concepts of hazards and
    risks and how they may be prevented or controlled

13
Other key elements
  • National policy in consultation with
    representative organisations
  • Develop a national OHS system containing the
    infrastructure to implement the policy
  • Analyse the national OHS situation
  • Implement over a specific period of time
  • Collaboration with any occupational injury
    programme

14
Safety and Health Standards in the SADC
  • Does SADC comply with international standards,
    specifically the ILOs Occupational Safety and
    Health Convention No 155 of 1981?
  • Most recent legislation, eg SA, mostly compliant
  • Applies to more than just employees
  • Tripartite council (although advisory)
  • Training obligations (inform employees and health
    and safety reps)

15
OSH Standards in the SADC
  • Challenging aspect how to extend the legal
    coverage to include small-scale enterprises,
    rural workplaces and the inspection of machinery
    and equipment prior to the installation thereof
    in the workplaces
  • Enforcement is a problem
  • Lengthy court processes
  • Unwillingness to prosecute

16
  • The need to institute a common standard in the
    SADC region, given that it is now more integrated
    and there is a greater flow of labour, goods and
    services (Art 12 of the Social Charter)
  • Bi-partite / multi-lateral agreements
  • Protocol on Mining and Protocol on Health exists
    (co-operation / best practice sharing)
  • National Institute for Occupational Health / SADC
  • SADC Ministers meeting pressurising ratification
  • Technical Co-operation Programme 1996
  • Training programmes

17
Comparative experiences / Best practices
  • Kenya National Occupational Safety and Health
    Policy (June 2010)
  • Follows the creation of a Common Market Protocol
    for the East African Community (EAC)
  • Increased mobility of labour foreseen
    developing an OSH culture seen as a key part of
    this progress
  • Policy developed following an extensive
    consultative process
  • Collaboration planned for the road ahead

18
Australia Harmonising Occupational Health and
Safety Regulation (2008)
  • Conducted a national OHS Panel review
  • The First Report of the Panel was then commented
    on by stakeholders / academics, prior to a second
    review
  • EG commented on meaning of reasonably
    practicable
  • Previously fragmented
  • Basic model for occupational health and safety
    laws developed (with flexibility for States)
  • Regular comparison and bench-marking with New
    Zealand

19
Korea and China Occupational diseases
  • Mesothelioma surveillance system developed
    collects data on workers who have been exposed to
    certain hazardous substances
  • Might result in occupational diseases after a
    long latency period (eg asbestos-related
    diseases)
  • Rebate system in China

20
The South African Constitution and legal position
  • Fair labour practices
  • Right to a safe environment that promotes health
    and well-being
  • Right to have access to social security
  • Freedom and security of the person
  • Life (Taskin v Turkey), human dignity, equality
  • Mankayi interpreting the common law in line with
    the Constitution

21
Comparative perspectivesProblems in lower
income countries
  • Loewenson
  • In industrialised countries, standard setting in
    unclear situations may err on the side of
    controlling risks, but in poorer countries this
    often errs on the side of continued exposure
  • Immediate costs to enterprises sometimes limit
    efforts to improve work safety (same issue re
    treatment of disabled in workplaces?)
  • The burden of uncertainty is borne here by
    workers
  • Add to that the least human, technical and
    financial resources to demonstrate the risk
  • Also an outflow of occupational health
    professionals

22
Globalisation effects
  • Increasing proportion of manufacturing and
    industry shifted to the developing world
  • Leads to higher level of injury and disease risk
  • 50 of South African still employed in hazardous
    sectors (mining, construction, transport,
    agriculture and manufacturing)
  • Job insecurity, contingent work arrangements and
    rising informality have adverse OHS outcomes
  • Rise in injury rates, diseases rates, hazard
    exposures and work-related stress
  • Temporary workers, sub-contractors and
    self-employed persons tend to have a very limited
    understanding of their own responsibilities /
    inadequate training in OHS procedures
  • OHS design does not cater for this

23
Informalisation and OHS
  • High level of occupational accidents and
    diseases
  • Indicate that laws and strategies aimed at
    prevention can / should be improved
  • Re-evaluate regulatory strategies also because of
    growing informalisation (non-standard contractual
    arrangements / self employment / workers in the
    informal economy / role of unions /
    regulation???)
  • Share of the those engaged in informal work is as
    high as 90 in some African countries
  • Increasing proportion of workers not protected by
    compensation or prevention laws
  • Many small employers dont have the capacity to
    comply with OHS standards

24
The effect of globalisation on health and safety
  • Liberalisation associated with deregulation of
    production laws
  • Add to the pressures on OHS standards
  • OHS laws sometimes do not apply in some EPZs
  • Penalties for breach of occupational health laws
    have been set at absurdly low levels (relative to
    other production costs)
  • Patchy law enforcement
  • Criminal sanctions for breach rarely invoked
  • Inadequately resourced government inspection
    systems
  • Non-application of laws in the informal sector

25
Globalisation effect (cont.)
  • Rapid and uneven production changes have not been
    accompanied by the necessary transfer of
  • Information
  • Technology
  • Skills
  • Regulatory capacity

26
  • The health problems emerging from liberalized
    competitive production processes demand that
    production be organized to meet sustainable
    development goals, not only in terms of economic
    growth, but also in the development and health of
    human resources

27
  • ILO The economic crisis has impacted negatively
    on OHS since 2008, especially regarding migrant
    workers (women, children also worst affected)
  • Growth of small businesses and the growing
    informalisation of work is an issue
  • Lack of capacity to take preventative measures
  • Informal workers more than 7 times as likely to
    be involved in accidents than those in the formal
    sector

28
General remarks
  • Data problem (also makes comparisons difficult)
  • Globalisation and informalisation
  • Focus problems
  • Worker focus vs family focus
  • Formal places of work vs non-standard workplaces
  • Lack of attention regarding work must inform
    the poverty-and-health debate and the
    disability-and-poverty debate

29
Work, poverty, health and safety
  • Employment does not always address poverty
  • Can cause increased vulnerability
  • Increase in precarious work
  • People unprotected in terms of social security -
    forced to keep working
  • Poor OHS arrangements lead to injury / disease
    further associated health costs / downward
    mobility in affected households
  • Impact of occupational injury and illness on
    poverty?
  • A number of studies illustrate that the cost of
    occupational injuries and diseases falls on
    informal workers themselves

30
From employer-focus to employee-focus
  • Change the attitude of employees and their
    representatives towards safety (given the limited
    expectation on employers)
  • Act already places an obligation on employees
  • In the long term, reduce risk by improving
    knowledge or introducing improved methods of
    operation
  • The role of trade unions?
  • Should benefit from the global spread of info
  • Increased focus (globally) on OHS
  • Innovation required

31
The effect of Mankayi on OHS
  • Content given to the employers duty of care
  • Likely to instil accountability in these
    employers?
  • A strong statement regarding the rights of a
    particular category of worker
  • A floodgate of claims?
  • Or an amendment to the legislation?
  • Or a change in (employer) approach risk
    management
  • A paradigm shift linking labour law to human
    rights
  • Systems of OHS / compensation-focus cannot
    operate in isolation or disregard human rights

32
An integrated approach Prevention,
Re-integration / rehabilitation, Compensation
  • An opportunity for change in South Africa towards
    Win Win Win?
  • Will require a horizontal and vertical
    re-alignment / defragmentation
  • No state institution has capacity or
    responsibility to assume leadership role in all
    sectors?
  • Develop synergies between prevention,
    compensation (and rehabilitation)
  • A close institutional link will promote
    prevention (improve quality of info etc)

33
The likely effect of rehabilitation on OHS
  • Requires a fundamental change in approach
  • Allocation of (limited) CF resources to
    prevention / re-integration activities
  • Depends on how it is incorporated / staffed /
    resourced
  • How broad will this role be?
  • Gather / disseminating information?
  • Link to assessments / rebates (ito COIDA)?
  • Knowledge-base creation
  • Publication
  • Awareness
  • The role of an audit-tool on OHS?

34
Conclusion and questions
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