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.