DOL Hazardous Biological Agents seminar in November

The SA Department of Labour hosts a seminar on the dangers of Hazardous Biological Agents (HBA) in health care work, on 11-12 November 2015.

The vision towards promoting Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) in the South African health sector, and compliance, will be taken a step forward, said the DOL.

The seminar will on 10 November 2015 be preceded by a training session of labour shop stewards focusing on;

• The OHS Act and its Regulations
• Applications of HBA Regulations in the Health Care sector
• Management of chemicals in the Health Care sector
• Illness and injury prevention program in the Health sector
• Prominent areas of non-compliance in the healthcare sector in KwaZulu-Natal
• Cross-contamination and infection control
• Reporting of injuries and diseases.

In South Africa employees in the Health Sector are exposed to Hazardous Biological Agents due to their exposure to patients suffering from various infectious diseases.

Some of the sources of infection can be found in human waste, blood and other body fluids, respiratory discharges such as coughs and skin when coming into contact with infectious substances.

A biological agent is defined as any micro-organism, cell culture or human endo-parasite, including any which have been genetically modified, which may cause an infection, allergy or toxicity, or otherwise create a hazard to human health.

Based on the findings of 2014/2015 inspections in the inland public Hospitals prominent areas of non-compliance ranged from:
• risk assessment not being conducted
• evaluation of hazards to exposure and control measures not carried out
• employees not inducted and trained on sources of exposure
• medical surveillance not conducted and carried out in accordance to HBA regulations
• non-provision of personal protective equipment to employees.

The seminar is expected to be addressed by;
• DOL Deputy Director-General of Inspection and Enforcement Services, Aggy Moiloa
• Chief Inspector, Tibor Szana
• Chief Director: Provincial Operations (KwaZulu-Natal), Thembi Nene-Shezi
• Acting Chief Director: Statutory and Advocacy Services: Fikiswa Mncanca
• Director: Occupational Health and Hygiene (OHH), Milly Ruiters.

Key topics of discussions will focus on:
• OHS inspection feedback
• health risk assessment
• medical surveillance and biological monitoring
• TB and HIV in the health care sector
• waste management in public hospitals
• management and rehabilitation of injured and diseased employees in the health sector
• engineering control measures to micro-organisms
• ergonomics case studies for radiographers.

Shop steward training will be provided by DOL KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Chief Inspector, Edward Khambula; Deputy Director: OHH Jabu Mhlope; Department of Labour Deputy Director: Occupational Health & Hygiene, Bulelwa Huna; Department of Labour’s deputy director: OHH Elize Lourens.

During the seminar, there will also be speakers from the National Department of Health who will deliver a paper on the subject of “The vision of the Department of Health’s interventions to reduce occupational diseases and injuries in the health sector”.

There will also be speakers from the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH); the Provincial Health Department; South African Society of occupational Health Nursing Practitioners; South Africa Society of Occupational Medicine and the Southern African Institute for Occupational Hygiene.

The seminar is on 10-12 November 2015, at Square Boutique Hotel, Umhlanga Rocks, from 9am.

• Source; DOL