Health and Safety Act: The Importance of being Informed

In order to illustrate the vitality of educating your staff in, and remaining up-to-date with relevant rules and regulations, such as the Health and Safety Act; Strat Training invites you to learn from the following case study:

In the year 1999 Mrs Nel* was visiting the drive-through of a popular fast food chain in the Western Cape, along with her two daughters, aged 4 and 2. Having placed an order Mrs Nel proceeded to the window to make her payment; somewhere between point A and point B her car’s left rear wheel dropped into an uncovered manhole. The manhole was not demarcated in any way; there were no warning signs, no caution tape, and no orange cone denoting the missing manhole cover. Not only was the vehicle stuck, it sustained serious damages to the tune of R10 000. While the owner of the franchise was reluctant to accept any responsibility for the occurrence, Mrs Nel, whose husband was an engineer with additional certifications in health and safety, was however well-informed of her rights and was eventually able to secure payment of the repair costs to her vehicle by the franchise owner.

What can we learn from this case study?

  • Had the franchise employees been educated on the mandatory procedures and demarcations for uncovered manholes according to the Health and Safety Act; the entire fiasco could have been successfully averted. The option also existed to temporarily close the drive-through option at the fast food establishment – but employees lacked this initiative. The lesson to learn here is thus that educated employees who can make informed decisions may save you money, and from court-cases, in the future. Compliance with Health and Safety standards are mandatory for all enterprises and are vital to the Health and Safety of both employees and patrons.
  • Mrs Nel was well-informed of her rights according to the Health and Safety Act. This knowledge saved her from being manipulated by a corporation who rightfully owed her money.

This illustrates just how important it is, not only for businesses to be educated in the Health and Safety Act, to possess adequate knowledge of your rights to be able to fend for yourself in a corporate world.

Is prioritizing safety an inconvenience?