Beware the risks of small enterprise

Beware the risks of small enterprise

While being an important part of the South African labour market, employees of micro and small businesses are often the victims of ineffective risk management

South Africa has advanced occupational health and safety (OHS) legislation and regulations, together with best international practices. However, the country continues to have a high “injury on duty” accident rate.

Although occupational accidents and work-related diseases have been of interest for a long time, there has been a lack of research into the effectiveness and economic aspects of accident-prevention activities of emerging contractors.

Unskilled workers are more likely to work in high-risk occupations. This increases the risks and consequences of work-related hazards and may lead to permanent disabilities and premature death.

Within the current context of negative growth in employment creation by both large enterprises and the government sector, emerging micro and small-business contractors have a major socio-economic role to play in job creation.

Studies have proved that they absorb a significant part of the unemployed labour force, which helps to reduce crime and government expenditure. However, the sad reality is that there is a high failure rate of start-up companies in South Africa. Most of these companies experience severe cyclical financial difficulties.

As a PhD candidate in Construction Management, these are some of the critical challenges I aim to understand and find solutions to through my studies.

In small and micro enterprises a lack of available funding results in a lack of resources to implement safety and health initiatives and interventions. There is also less time and energy available for “non-core” tasks, which safety and health management is sometimes perceived to be.

Risk assessments can be costly and confusing to complete, particularly if a business lacks the resources to do so effectively.

Employing unskilled labour is often hard to manage and may be risky. As my study progresses, I will include information of possible solutions and recommendations relating to emerging contractors in articles going forward.

Workers must constantly be reminded about what would happen to their family if they were to be seriously injured at work.

News from Saiosh

Saiosh successfully held free OHS continuing professional development (CPD) workshops. All five events were fully booked and, to enable a larger audience, the workshop was broadcast as a webinar. The link was emailed to all Saiosh members and viewed by more than 2 700 with the benefit of automatically earning one CPD point.

The next round of Saiosh OHS CPD workshops, during October, has been secured and Advocate Raynard Looch will be the main presenter.

Saiosh members are urged to ensure their membership is paid up and that they practice according to their professional registration.

It has been brought to our attention that certain members have provided health and safety services, issuing legal compliance certificates by using their suspended Saiosh membership certificate as proof of professional registration.

In accordance with a notice issued by the Department of Higher Education and Training, only Saiosh Graduate Members, or higher, are allowed to conduct audits for registered private higher-training institutions.

A majority of the members voted that they wanted Saiosh to negotiate and secure adequate professional indemnity insurance on their behalf. The Saiosh Council decided to recommend Marsh and Widesure to its members for professional indemnity insurance. Please visit the Saiosh website for further information.

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SHEQ Management

SHEQ MANAGEMENT is the definitive source for reliable, accurate and pertinent information to guarantee environmental health and safety in the workplace.
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