It is now a legal requirement for all businesses with more than 50 employees to submit weekly data on Covid-19 cases to the National Institute for Occupational Health (NIOH).
This will enable the NIOH to expand the Covid-19 national occupational health surveillance system (OHSS) which requires the collection, analysis and interpretation of occupational health related data for planning, implementation and evaluation of workplace interventions.
The NIOH is a division of the National Health Laboratory Service which supports the country’s occupational health and safety agenda through surveillance of occupational diseases.
The NIOH said the consolidated directive on occupational health and safety measures in certain workplaces, as amended on September 28 last year, makes it a legal requirement for employers to submit relevant information of all workers who test positive for Covid-19 to the institute.
The institute said surveillance has been ongoing since the outbreak began in SA. It said that with the amendment, businesses with more than 50 employees must now submit weekly data on symptomatic employees and positive cases, as well as a one-off submission on vulnerable employees.
“The information submitted will provide us with an in-depth understanding of the Covid-19 infection spectrum in the South African workforce through dynamic data analytics and visualisation into all phases,” said Dr Nisha Naicker, head of epidemiology and surveillance at the NIOH.
Naicker said through the collection and analyses of the data, the institute aims to strengthen Covid-19 workplace programmes to help mitigate the transmission of the disease.
Naicker said through the surveillance system, it aims to ascertain early identification of sectors and occupational groups at high risk of infection to inform appropriate interventions.
It also aims to provide regular updates on the trajectory of the pandemic in various economic sectors.
Naicker said there were three different ways to submit workplace data on the OHSS, and guidelines on how to submit are available on its website.
TimesLIVE (TMG Digital)