Gauteng occupational health and safety inspector tests positive for Covid-19

The Department of Employment and Labour says the individual and everyone he has been in contact with is in quarantine, but inspections of employers' premises will still continue. 

The Department of Employment and Labour has released a statement announcing that an Occupational Health and Safety Inspector in Gauteng had tested positive for COVID-19.

As a result, all his colleagues at the provincial office who may have come into contact with him have been advised to self-isolate while their health is being monitored and the necessary protocols are implemented.

The infected employee self-reported after undergoing medical tests following a consultation with a medical practitioner who advised for further testing after initially presenting with flu-like symptoms.

The Department’s director-general Thobile Lamati said in the statement that the possible further easing of restrictions would require that inspectors like the infected individual to play a critical role in monitoring workplaces and that the department would continue discharging its duty diligently while also ensuring that officials are shielded from the virus

"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,” said the director-general. 

"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 having the 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", 

The Department has also arranged counselling for the infected employee and all those who were in contact with him. In addition, the Department will be disinfecting and deep-cleaning the relevant office as per the protocols from the Department of Health.