Economy

Firms face higher costs in safety rules

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Summary

  • Draft rules published by the Labour Ministry Monday show companies will now pay Sh120,000 from Sh90,000 to the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services.
  • Employees will pay Sh800 from Sh500 for their general medical examination under the new rules.

Employers and workers will dig deeper into their pockets to comply with safety requirements in the work place after the government increased compliance, training and inspection costs by more than a third.

Draft rules published by the Labour Ministry Monday show companies will now pay Sh120,000 from Sh90,000 to the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services to train their workers on occupational safety and health in compliance with the law.

Employees will pay Sh800 from Sh500 for their general medical examination under the new rules. They will in addition pay higher amounts of between Sh800 and Sh1,500 for specific tests such as lung, liver and chest function testing.

Under the new rules, every workplace with more than 500 workers shall be required to have a first Aid room or clinic managed by a nurse, clinical officer or a doctor.

To approve architectural plans for work places, the Directorate of Occupational Safety and Health Services has raised approval fee upto 200 per cent to Sh10,000 from Sh3,225.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act 2007, requires employer to provide "instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure health and safety at work of his/her workers."

The rules spare small businesses from the high compliance costs by giving the "low-risk businesses" a chance to start up and operate without registering under the law for a period of one year.

"The Secretary Occupational Safety and Health Services invites members of the public to submit written comments," said the Labour Ministry in a public notice yesterday.

Employers are required by law to protect the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment.

Employers must ensure that all the persons involved in work receive appropriate instructions regarding safety and health risks including emergency procedures during their activities at the workplace and actions to be taken in case of an emergency.

If an employer fails to comply with these provisions, he/she commits an offence and is liable to a fine up to Sh200,000 or to imprisonment up to six months or to both.

Under the law, it is the responsibility of an employer to provide free protective equipment including clothing and appliances, and where necessary, suitable gloves, footwear, goggles and head coverings to the workers involved in hazardous work.