The ongoing platinum strike shows how important keeping the unions on your side is – even when it comes to health and safety

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 13 Jun. 2014

Tags: workers unions, health and safety procedures, safety issues, health and safety representative, safety plans

The platinum mine strike has been going for almost six months now. It’s cost the country R13 billion. And the miners themselves have lost millions of Rands in wages.

And all because of unions. They’re the driving force behind the strike as they’re the ones involved in the wage negotiations.

If this teaches you anything, it’s how important it is to keep the unions on your side.

This applies to health and safety too...

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The unions are the voice of your employees, even in health and safety

You can’t run your business without your employees. And you also can’t implement good health and safety without involving them.
As the Health and Safety Advisor points out, you can have as many rules as you like, but if your employees don’t implement them, none of it’ll help.
But involving your employees isn’t just about telling them “do this and do that”. Involving them means listening to what they have to say and working with them to create better health and safety. 
This is where unions come in. They act as the united voice of your employees and, therefore, it’s important you listen to their suggestions and complaints.
This can help you drastically improve your health and safety procedures. The International Labour Organisation did a study that showed accident rates drop when employees feel they have a say in health and safety issues.
But it’s not just a good idea to involve the unions. In certain cases, it’s a legal requirement...
*********** Hot off the press  ************
Do you have more than 20 employees?
Don’t ignore this health and safety obligation or else!
The DoL will slap you with a R50 000 fine or 1 year in jail if you don’t have a health and safety representative. 
Here’s how to avoid it…

You’re legally required to involve the unions in health and safety issues

For example, when you make your important appointments, such as a health and safety representative, you’re legally required to involve the unions. 
This will ensure your employees as a whole fairly choose the employee you appoint.
So involve your workers’ unions and give your employees a voice in your health and safety plans. 

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