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To operate safely during lockdown and most likely beyond, each company must commit to fulfilling new safety protocols and identifying a COVID 19 Safety officer within the company that is related to reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
According to the Occupational health and safety act (OHS) the goal of these new regulations put in place by the Department of labour is to define the role and responsibilities of COVID-19 Safety Officers and to document the delegation of COVID-19 safety tasks. These responsibilities serve as the first level contact and response for COVID-19 safety and compliance concerns as well as communicate safety information.
The aim of the OHS ACT is to provide for:
- The health and safety of persons at work;
- The health and safety for persons in connection with the use of plant and machinery;
- The protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with the activities of persons at work;
- To establish an advisory council for occupational health and safety and to provide for matters connected therewith.
COVID-19 Safety Officer Secondary Responsibilities: The CSO(s) is/are responsible for overseeing and supporting these safety efforts but these tasks may be delegated to other lab members (secondary safety officers). These secondary tasks are listed in Table 2.
COVID-19 Safety Officer (CSO) Primary Responsibilities and over:
- Communicate COVID-19-related safety practices and protocols to all employees.
- Ensure that all personnel know and follow established safe work procedures.
- Promote compliance with safety protocols and procedures
- Develop a COVID-19 taskforce in the workplace (committee, safety committees, safety officers, and the HR representatives)
- Ensure proper representation from every section in the taskforce.
- The developed policy should clearly define the accountability and responsibility of committee members.
- Communicating and implementing COVID-19 policies and procedures through worker training (induction training, training of safety and participation committee or trade union, and posting names of COVID- 19 committee members)
- Regular review, coordination, and updates to the plan as COVID-19 policies and procedures.