As a South African business what must you do before you can operate from your business premises

New regulations were published by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional affairs on 29 April 2020 (the “Regulations”, gazette no. 43258) outlining the rules applicable during Alert Level 4 and the Department of Employment and Labour (the “DEL”) provided a briefing to media, addressing expectations on employers to ensure employees’ safety and mitigate the spread of the virus in the workplace.

Initial steps: Workplace Plans

Prior to operating from their premises, businesses must develop a “COVID-ready” Workplace Plan in terms of Regulation 16. According to the guideline provided in Annexure E of the Regulations, there are a number of requirements that the Workplace Plan must comply with. 

In addition to the Workplace Plan, businesses must designate a COVID-19 Compliance Officer to oversee the implementation of the plan and to ensure adherence to the standards of hygiene and health protocols at each workplace (office/location). 

For medium to large businesses, the Workplace Plan must include the following:
1. The date the business will open and its operating hours.
2. A timetable setting out how employees will return in phases (to enable appropriate measures to be taken to avoid and reduce the spread of the virus in the workplace).
3. Steps taken to get the workplace COVID-19 ready.

4. A list of staff:

  • 4.1. who are able to work from home;
  • 4.2. who are 60 years of age or older; and
  • 4.3. who have comorbidities who will be required to stay and/or work from home.

5. Arrangements the business will make for staff on premises; including:

  • 5.1. sanitary and social distancing measures and facilities, at the entrance and exit of the workplace;
  • 5.2. screening facilities and systems;
  • 5.3. an attendance-record system and infrastructure;
  • 5.4. the work-area of employees;
  • 5.5. any designated area where the public is served;
  • 5.6. canteen and bathroom facilities;
  • 5.7. testing facilities (for businesses with more than 500 employees); and
  • 5.8. rotational arrangements for staff (for businesses where fewer than 100% of employees are permitted to work).
6. Arrangements for customers, clients or members of the public, including sanitation and social distancing measures.
7. The contact details of the COVID-19 Compliance Officer.

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