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Covid-19 now listed as a hazardous biological agent

Photo by CDC

The Regulations for Hazardous Biological Agents 2022 (HBA Regulations) lists Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome-2 (SARS CoV2) (Covid-19) as a Group 3 HBA.

As the EOHCB (Employer’s Organisation for Hairdressing Beauty Cosmetology) points out, this therefore places legal responsibilities on employers to limit the exposure and mitigate the risk of infection by Covid-19.

Says the EOHCB: “Group 3 HBA is an HBA that may cause severe human disease, which presents a serious hazard to exposed persons and which may present a risk of spreading to the community, but for which effective prophylaxis and treatment is available.

“In particular, in categorising Covid-19, the Regulations specify that a registered vaccine is available for use in South Africa and can, in terms of regulation 10(4)(g) be made available to control exposure to the HBA in the workplace, where reasonably practical.

“This amendment to the Regulations will assist employers who have implemented vaccination requirements in the workplace (or who intend to do so) to justify their requirements of vaccination as a control measure. It can further be relied upon as a means of demonstrating what would be considered ‘reasonably practical’ for the purposes of complying with an employer’s legal duties in terms of Section 8 of the Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) to provide and maintain as far as is reasonably practical, a working environment that is safe and without risk to the health of its employees.

“The Regulations are applicable to every employer or self-employed person at a workplace where, amongst other things, exposure to an HBA (i.e. Covid-19) may occur. Overall the Regulations place a number of legal duties on the employer.”

To read more about these legal duties click here


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