COVID19 RESPONSE POLICY

PURPOSE:

The purpose of the policy is to ensure a safe working environment at Thandeka Vocational Education Trust (Pty) Ltd (TVET SA) for all employees/learners and to stop the spread of COVID-19 virus. 

Section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 “OHSA” requires every employer to provide and maintain, as far as reasonably practicable, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees/learners. Similarly, the OHSA also imposes a duty on employees/learners to take reasonable care for their own health and safety and that of their fellow employees/learners 

SCOPE:

At this stage the outbreak of COVID-19 is a developing story and more information is being provided by the authorities daily. This policy applies to all TVET SA employees/learners unless otherwise specified in writing. 

 

Introduction

How does COVID-19 spread?
  1. Coughing or sneezing – one can contract COVID-19 if one is standing within one meter of an infected person by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by the ill person.
  2. Close personal contact, such as when shaking hands or touching others.
  3. Touching an object or surface on which the virus is found (after an ill person coughs or exhales close to these objects or surfaces such as desks, tables or telephones), then – before washing hands – touching the mouth, nose, or eyes.

 

Primary symptoms of COVID-19
  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

 

What to do if you develop symptoms

People who contract COVID-19 may take anywhere from one (1) to 10 days to develop symptoms. Even if you do not have a history of travel to a COVID-19 affected region or contact with an individual who has contracted the illness, you must still inform your healthcare provider if you present with symptoms of COVID-19. Alternatively, contact the COVID-19 Hotline as per the Department of Health website: 0800 029 999.

Employees/learners who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are advised to seek medical treatment and diagnosis as soon as possible.

Employees/learners with acute respiratory illness symptoms are advised to stay home until they are cleared for work by a registered medical practitioner. It is important to note for an employee to qualify for sick leave, a valid medical certificate booking them off is required. 

Employees/learners should notify their manager and stay home if they are sick and have been booked off. All employees/learners should follow TVET SA’s sick leave policy in such situations.

 

COVID-19 Workplace Measures

COVID-19 Workplace Committee
  1. The employer must appoint a manager (from within the existing structure) to address the concerns of employees and workplace representatives.
  2. The designated manager at TVET SA will be assisted by a Committee to ensure that COVID-19 measures are communicated to all employees/learners and are adhered to at all times.

 

Symptom Screening upon arriving at TVET SA
  1. Employees/learners and visitors entering the premises will be screened for symptoms of COVID 19.  
  2. If a person’s temperature taken is above 37.4 degrees, the person will not be allowed onto the premises.
  3. Employees/learners must immediately inform the designated manager or a committee member if they experience symptoms while at work.
  4. Employees/learners presenting with symptoms will be placed in isolation and the designated manager or committee member will discuss the process for testing as stipulated by the Department of Health and the employee/learner will be required to leave the premises and seek medical treatment and or testing immediately. If this instruction is not followed, it will be regarded as gross insubordination and disciplinary steps will be taken as it could put other employees/learners at risk.
  5. Employees who recover from COVID19 may return to work after a medical evaluation and will be subject to ongoing monitoring.
  6. The management of TVET SA must report any diagnosis of COVID-19 at work to the Department of Health and the Department of Employment and Labour, investigate the cause and take appropriate measures.
  7. All employees/learners of TVET SA must support any contact tracing measures initiated by the Department of Health.

 

Self-isolation

If an employee / learner has been in close contact with an individual who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, the employee / learner must immediately inform TVET SA Management and the Department of Health. If, after informing the Department of Health, they require an individual to self-quarantine, then TVET SA will apply the following policies:

  1. If you are able to work remotely during this period and it is possible in your position, then there is no requirement to submit a sick leave or annual leave request. You are, however, required to report daily to your line manager. 
  2. Should you become sick during this period, the normal sick leave policy will apply.

 

Hygiene in the workplace
It is the employer’s responsibility to:
  1. Provide sufficient quantities of hand sanitiser with at least 70% alcohol content; 
  2. Ensure that work surfaces, equipment and common areas such as toilets, door handles and shared equipment are regularly cleaned and disinfected; and 
  3. Provide adequate facilities for hand washing with soap and clean water and sufficient paper towels. 

 

All employees/learners and visitors entering the premises must adhere to the following hygiene protocols:
  1. Sanitise their hands on entering the premises.
  2. Cover their cough or sneeze with a tissue, dispose of the tissue in the relevant waste bin.
  3. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects, including workstations, and surfaces using specified disinfectants or wipe as supplied.
  4. Sanitise or wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing their nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  5. Avoid touching their face.

 

Social Distancing
  1. The Management of TVET SA will ensure that a minimum distance of 1,5 meters is maintained between all employees/learners in the workplace.
  2. Employees/learners must practice social distancing at all times and must REFRAIN FROM/AVOID physical contact with other employees/learners or visitors including handshakes and hugs. 

 

Wearing face masks

As Mandated by Government Legislation, it is compulsory for all employees/learners and visitors to wear a face mask when entering the premises.

 

Travel 
  1. In line with the Statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the 15th March 2020, all non-essential travel particularly by air, taxis and busses is discouraged. 
  2. As such, all domestic flight travel has been suspended until further notice unless of critical importance as determined by the parties concerned and with permission from the Directors. 

 

Meetings
Until further notice unless of critical importance as determine by the parties concerned and with permission from the Directors: 
  1. All meetings will be conducted via digital platforms such as Zoom, MS Teams or similar
  2. No face-to-face meetings will be allowed on the TVET SA premises.
  3. No off-site meetings at Client premises will be  permitted

 

Seminars, Training and Conferences
  1. No employee may attend external seminars, training or conferences, unless these are presented online. 
  2. All attendance of external event, must be duly motivated and will be subject to approval by the Managing Director.

 

Consequence of breach
  1. If an employee breaches this policy the necessary disciplinary action will be taken. 
  2. It is important to note that TVET SA’s sick leave policy will not be adjusted or become flexible during the outbreak of COVID-19. The normal sick leave policy, which is in line with Labour Law, will still apply.

 

Conclusion
  1. TVET SA will continue to monitor the situation in South Africa and this policy may be updated depending on the ongoing spread of the virus. 
  2. It is the employee’s/learners responsibility to contact management should he/she have any queries.