Authors: WF Mudenha, M. Chadyiwa, N. Naicker

Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa, 2018 Vol. 23 No. 6 Nov/Dec.



Background: Five employee health and safety responsibilities are outlined in Section 14 of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) (Act No. 85 of 1993). All employees must be aware of these in order to protect their health and safety at work.

Objective: This study aimed to assess if contract cleaning workers are aware of their health and safety responsibilities as well as to determine the effect of training.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, a structured questionnaire was used to collect data from 118 cleaners employed by five contract cleaning companies in Johannesburg. Descriptive statistics were used to summarise the data.

Results: Seventy-five (63.6%) of the cleaners had received training on their health and safety responsibilities in the previous 12-month period, predominantly through in-house, on-the-job training. Compared to cleaners who had not been trained, significantly higher proportions of trained workers were aware of the OHS Act, had access to it and had read it. Training significantly increased awareness of only one of the five health and safety responsibilities: awareness to report unsafe working conditions to the employer or safety representatives. Many cleaners (n = 100, 84.7%) stated that they would like to receive additional training to improve awareness of their health and safety responsibilities.

Conclusion: Although cleaners received training, awareness of their health and safety responsibilities was poor. Training on health and safety responsibilities must be a continuous process for all contract cleaners.