Crim­i­nal sanc­tion

Business Day - Business Law and Tax Review - - BUSI­NESS LAW & TAX RE­VIEW -

with its obli­ga­tions to en­sure a healthy and safe work­ing en­vi­ron­ment is a crim­i­nal trans­gres­sion and em­ploy­ers may be crim­i­nally charged in this re­gard. If such fail­ure led to a per­son be­ing fa­tally in­jured, then the em­ployer may also be charged with cul­pa­ble homi­cide. In ad­di­tion to the afore­men­tioned con­duct con­sti­tut­ing crim­i­nal trans­gres­sions, an ad­min­is­tra­tive fine may also be im­posed on the em­ployer in terms of the act.

The min­eral re­sources min­is­ter pub­lished a draft Mine Health and Safety Bill dur­ing Novem­ber 2013.

One of the pro­posed amend­ments in the bill re­lates to the max­i­mum fine that may be im­posed should an em­ployer be found guilty of con­tra­ven­ing the pro­vi­sions of the act and reg­u­la­tions bind­ing in terms thereof. It is pro­posed that a fine may be im­posed “…not ex­ceed­ing 10% of the com­pany’s an­nual turnover for the pe­riod dur­ing which the com­pany has failed to com­ply with the rel­e­vant pro­vi­sions…” This pro­vi­sion (if en­acted) will place a heavy fi­nan­cial bur­den on mines.

It re­mains ex­cep­tion­ally im­por­tant for an em­ployer to con­tin­u­ally as­sess and an­a­lyse its sys­tems and mea­sures, in­clud­ing em­ploy­ees’ com­pli­ance with their du­ties and obli­ga­tions, by means of an ap­pro­pri­ate risk as­sess­ment and man­age­ment process to pro­vide a healthy and safe work­ing en­vi­ron­ment, as far as rea­son­ably prac­ti­ca­ble.

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