Frequently Asked Questions
Is it a health and safety regulatory requirement for the employer to install non-slip strips on the stairs?
Can you advise on the instance where an employee slips and falls, but there was no cleaning done at the time, so no wet floors and there were no obstacles in the way that would have caused the fall. Is it an IOD?
No, there is no requirement in the National Building Regulations for ‘anti slip tread strips’. There are however very definite specifications for the design and building of stairways. One of the reasons why stairway anti slip tread strips are not a requirement is due to the large amount of various materials stairs can be made of and the fact that they could be indoors or outdoors. These anti slip tread strips could become more of a hazard than not having them at all. What does prevent falls is responsible human behaviour and handrails being fitted to all stairways with more than three risers
With regards to an individual who falls in the stairway, this does happen and is very difficult to show negligence. There are many factors to the cause of falls in staircases: Footwear, human behaviour (as in not paying attention and not holding onto the handrail when moving up or down) and incorrect design of staircase.
I would recommend treating a fall injury as a Compensation Fund case and claim.
Compliance with the regulations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993, as well as the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act No. 130 of 1993, are legal requirements for all employers. The consequences of non-compliance are severe and may result in criminal liability:
- The CEO of every business is personally accountable to ensure compliance. Penalties for non-compliance may be as high as R100.00 and/or imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years.
- The KING II Report on Corporate Governance requires a company to “reflect a committed effort to reduce workplace accidents, fatalities and occupational health and hygiene-related incidents. There should also be regular measurement against bare minimum legislative ad regulatory requirements. Performance should be disclosed to stakeholders.” (Section 5, Chapter 3).
- The new ISO Standard (ISO 9001:2000) requires a company to “determine statutory and regulatory requirements” and to ensure that “the organisation has the ability to meet the defined requirements” (Clause 7.2.1, 7.2.2).
- The Promotion of Access to Information Act No. 2 of 2000 requires all public and private companies to make available records of public interest. This may include “information about Health and Safety”.
- A growing number of Corporate Clients request contracting firms to sign Contractual Agreements whereby the responsibility for Health and Safety matters relating to the work performed by the contractor are the sole obligation of the contractor (Section 37(2) of the OHS Act).
- Global Best Practice on Employee Well-being suggests that the employer make a concerted and visible effort to ensure that all workplaces are healthy and safe, and that management continually review the company’s compliance status.
- Tender Requirements: Tenders issued by government, parastatals and corporates now often include the requirements for disclosing your compliance status and incident history. Compliance is now becoming a pre-requisite for tender opportunities.
- To qualify for Insurance Payout on Claims, one must comply with all respective legal requirements. If found not to be compliant, any claims may be repudiated.
Compliance is non-negotiable. As from 1 January 2004, within the promulgation of the amended Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers can no longer distance themselves from the responsibility of compliance with the Act.