Four employer obligations for proper ventilation in the workplace

Simangele Mzizi, 11 Jun. 2013

Tags: health and safety, workplace ventilation, employer obligations for ventilation, ventilation and health and safety, why you need to ventilate your workplace,

If you don’t provide proper ventilation in your workplace, your employees can report you to the Department of Labour and the Department of Health! They can fine you with penalties and even shut your business down! Are you prepared to take that risk? Here are your four obligations when it comes to proper ventilation in the workplace.

Poor ventilation is a hazard.

And like all hazards, it poses a risk to your employees’ health so you must seek ways eliminate or control this hazard.

If you don’t, it’ll slow down productivity in your workplace and result in increased sick leave.

That’s why you must ventilate your workplace by either natural (wind), or mechanical (aircon, fans) means. “Failure to comply with this regulation can lead to a fine of R1 000 or imprisonment of up to six months,” says the Health and Safety Advisor. If you continue with the offence, you’ll face an additional fine of R5 per day or additional imprisonment of one day for each day the offence continues, up to 90 days.

So make sure you comply with your four legal obligations when it comes to proper ventilation in the workplace.

Your four obligations when it comes to ventilation in the workplace

According to the Health and Safety Advisor, you must ensure:
#1: The air employee’s inhale doesn’t cause harm to their health or safety. For example, employees working in a dusty environment must wear the necessary PPE, like dust masks respiratory to minimise their risk and exposure to dust;

#2: The time-weighted average concentration of carbon dioxide (C02) taken over an eight hour period doesn’t exceed 1.5% by volume of air. In addition, make sure the C02 content doesn’t exceed 3% by volume air as this displaces the oxygen;

#3: The prescribed exposure limits for airborne substances aren’t exceeded to prevent displacement of oxygen; and

#4: The concentration of any explosive or flammable gas, vapour or dust doesn’t exceed the lower explosive limit of that gas, vapour or dust.

There you have it. Knowing your obligations for proper ventilation in the workplace will ensure you comply.

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