Under Health and Safety legislation, all have duties, including employees. This Toolbox Talk Employee Duties highlight that you cannot comply with your duties unless you understand them, and a safe working environment cannot be properly maintained without employee cooperation.

There are five main employee responsibilities:

Section 14 of the OHS Act 85 of1993: General duties of employees at work.-Every employee shall at work-

a) take reasonable care for the health and safety of himself and of other persons who may be affected by his acts or omissions;

b)as regards any duty or requirement imposed on his employer or any other person by this Act, co-operate with such employer or person to enable that duty or requirement to be performed or complied with;

c)carry out any lawful order given to him, and obey the health and safety rules and procedures laid down by his employer or by anyone authorized thereto by his employer, in the interest of health or safety;

d)if any situation which is unsafe or unhealthy comes to his attention, as soon as practicable report such situation to his employer or to the health and safety representative for his workplace or section thereof, as the case may be, who shall report it to the employer; and

e)if he is involved in any incident which may affect his health or which has caused an injury to himself, report such incident to his employer to anyone authorized thereto by the employer, or to his health and safety representative, as soon as practicable but not later than the end of the particular shift during which the incident occurred, unless the circumstances were such that the reporting of the incident was not possible, in which case he shall report the incident as soon as practicable thereafter.

Discussion points:

  • Importantly these duties are not confined to your specific activity or area, but to all site activities.
  • Do not hesitate to tackle colleagues, or report to line management, wherever any unsafe activity, procedure or equipment is seen or suspected.
  • Employ the “buddy buddy” system and look after your workmates as well as yourself.

Download the full Toolbox Talk document on the Employee Duties Inspection below: