An Occupational Health and Safety Inspector in Gauteng has tested positive for COVID-19.
As a result, all his Employment and Labour Provincial office colleagues who may have come into contact with him have been advised to self-isolate while their health is being monitored and necessary protocols are effected. These officials have been in contact with the Department of Health.
The infected employee self-reported after undergoing medical tests following a consultation with a medical practitioner who advised for further testing after initially presenting flu-like symptoms.
“As we have indicated before, as the Department we recognise that the pandemic is also likely to affect us as well especially frontline workers like inspectors. To the extent possible, we are urging our officials to proceed with extreme care in their duties. While faced with this challenge, we accept the responsibility to monitor workplaces and their conformity to safe operating guidelines as Minister Thulas Nxesi has directed especially with the partial reopening of the economy.
“The possible further easing of restrictions as indicated by the President calls on the Department of Employment and Labour to play a critical role in monitoring workplaces and we will continue discharging our duty diligently while also ensuring that our officials are shielded as far as possible from the virus”, said Director General Thobile Lamati.
The Department has also arranged counselling for the infected employee and all those who were in contact with him. In addition, the department took a decision to disinfect and deep clean the relevant office as per the protocols from the Department of Health.
“Our officials are an important cog of the working of the South African economy and as such, we will also ensure that they are as safe as possible. We have also invested heavily in appropriate personal protective equipment to allow our inspectors to be able to play their oversight role. COVID-19 has changed the playing ground but we continue to adapt and effect new ways of doing things to ensure that we stay on top of our game”, Lamati concluded.