HEALTH and SAFETY continued...
The employer must provide and maintain a safe and healthy working environment at all times. What is safe one asks? Safe means free from any hazards...and What are hazard? Hazards are the source of or an exposure to danger/extreme. What is danger you ask then? Danger is anything that can cause harm to people, property, processes, products and or the environment. So the minimum standard is then the working environment that is free from any exposure to anything that can cause harm to people, property, products, processes and environment.
The second that needs to be understood about the Act is that the Act is it self self-regulatory concept. This means that nor the government nor the Department of Labour will be implementing day to day compliance, because the responsibility of implementing and enforcing this Act is placed on the employer. This Act will inform the employer what is required by law, but not how to implement it in order to achieve and maintain compliance. The onus of how to implement and enforce the Act in the work situation is the responsibility of the employer and even the employee.
When an incident or accident happens in your workplace the Department of Labour will come not only to determine whether you have complied with the minimum standards of the Act but also to verify whether you are actually enforcing this Act. This is what is called vicarious liability, meaning that the employer has the power and authority to enforce safety measures in their work situation. According to vicarious liability if an employee acts contrary to, or omits to act in accordance with, the safety measures in place, it is deemed that the employer did not exert his authority, bestowed by the Act, to ensure his employees act responsibly in maintaining a safe working environment free from hazards.