Shock findings in labour blitz

2010-05-26 00:00

HUNDREDS of establishments in KwaZulu-Natal’s hospitality sector have been found to be flouting labour laws governing safety and health measures.

The provincial Labour Department revealed yesterday that of the 674 workplaces visited by a team of its 100 inspectors to check working conditions in the hospitality sector last week, a whopping 42% were found to be flouting labour laws.

Labour spokesperson Page Boikanyo said establishments such as hotels, restaurants, B&Bs, game resorts and food outlets were visited during the blitz.

He said inspectors found that some employers have failed to ensure safety and health measures are in place for their employees and clients.

Among the contraventions was a lack of clear designated emergency exit routes, and in some cases evacuation routes were obstructed.

Boikanyo said safety and health representatives were not properly trained. Although the representatives hold appointment documents, the inspectors found that many of them could not identify risks in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

“From rest rooms and locker facilities to kitchens and coldrooms, a lot was just not in proper form,” said Boikanyo.

“We served contravention notices and written undertakings on 284 employers for not complying with the OHSA, Employment Equity Act as well as the sectoral determination for the hospitality sector.

“The department will not hesitate to initiate enforcement procedures after a series of follow-up inspections,” he said.

Director of Pietermaritzburg Tourism Melanie Veness said the rules and requirements are made clear to licence applicants, and those who do not meet the standards are not licensed.

“These matters are discussed regularly by owners of the establishments in the sector to see if they are still in line with the labour laws. I can only give a broader comment once we know that the establishments in question are registered or not,” she said.

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