Compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act: A Must for Small Businesses in South Africa
12 May, 2023

The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act 85 of 1993 is a vital piece of legislation in South Africa that aims to protect the health and safety of workers in the workplace. But do small businesses need to comply with the OHS Act? The short answer is yes. All businesses, regardless of size, must adhere to the OHS Act to ensure a safe and healthy working environment for their employees and others. In this blog, we will discuss the reasons behind the importance of compliance with the OHS Act and the steps small businesses can take to ensure their adherence to this legislation. SafetyCloud, a leading South African provider of workplace health and safety solutions, is here to help businesses comply with the OHS Act and create safer and healthier working environments.


Why do Small Businesses Need to Comply with the OHS Act?


Legal Obligation

All businesses in South Africa, including small businesses, are legally obligated to comply with the OHS Act. Failure to do so can result in severe consequences, including fines, penalties, workplace and process stoppages and even imprisonment. By adhering to the OHS Act, small businesses protect themselves from legal repercussions and promote a culture of good health and safety workplace practices.


Employee Health and Safety

The primary goal of the OHS Act is to ensure the health and safety of employees in the workplace. Small businesses are not exempt from this responsibility. By complying with the OHS Act, small business owners demonstrate their commitment to the well-being of their employees and others, leading to increased job satisfaction, productivity, and loyalty.


Reputation and Customer Perception

Compliance with the OHS Act can enhance a small business’s reputation in the eyes of its customers and the general public. A safe and healthy working environment not only reflects positively on a company’s commitment to its employees but also its dedication to quality, professionalism, and customer satisfaction.


Financial Benefits

Compliance with the OHS Act can lead to reduced costs associated with workplace incidents, injuries, illnesses and diseases. These costs can include medical expenses, lost productivity, and potential legal claims. By proactively addressing health and safety concerns, small businesses can reduce these costs and improve their bottom line.


Steps to Ensure Compliance with the OHS Act



Conduct Risk Assessments

Identify potential hazards in the workplace and assess the risks associated with them. This process should involve input from employees and result in an action plan to address the identified risks.


Implement Health and Safety Measures

Once risks have been identified, small businesses must implement appropriate control measures to eliminate or minimise these risks. This can include implementing safe work procedures, providing appropriate training to employees, and providing personal protective equipment (PPE).


Regularly Review and Update Policies

Small businesses should regularly review and update their health and safety policies to ensure ongoing compliance with the OHS Act. This can include updating procedures, conducting additional training, and addressing new hazards as they arise.


Partner with SafetyCloud

SafetyCloud offers a range of services to help small businesses comply with the OHS Act, including diverse training, auditing and consulting services. By partnering with SafetyCloud, small businesses can access the resources and expertise needed to create a safer and healthier working environment and ensure compliance with the OHS Act.