Die Toepassing van die Wet op Beroepsgesondheid en -Veiligheid en ander Veiligheidsmaatreëls by Skole se Tegnologiewerkswinkels / The Application of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other Safety Measures at Schools' Technology Workshops





Occupational Health and Safety Act, technology education, occupational training, schools, technical workshops, South African Schools Act, safety regulations, state liability


Empirical research conducted by education researchers over a period of approximately 20 years confirms that uncertainty exists whether the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) apply to technology workshops at academic, technical and special schools; whether compliance with the safety provisions of the OHSA is lacking; and whether serious injuries at technology workshops at schools occur from time to time. A comparative study of foreign law regarding occupational safety at technology workshops at high schools confirms that many countries have national or federal occupational safety and health statutes that apply to workplaces as well as public schools, although some have specific statutes or regulations addressing occupational safety at public schools. Countries like Germany, the Netherlands and some states of the United States of America define school-going children and students as "workers" in terms of their occupational safety legislation. Germany includes all school-going children in its statutory accident insurance scheme to provide for faultless compensation in case of injury. In determining whether the OHSA applies to technical workshops at high schools, the fundamental rights, as well as its spirit and purport, must be considered through the prism of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. Applying the traditional literalist-cum-intentionalist approach to the interpretation of the OHSA, the conclusion is that this Act does indeed apply to technology workshops at schools. In terms of section 60(1)(a) of the South African Schools Act state liability for damages occurring as a result of school activities does provide essential legal protection. However, the South African Schools Act, school safety policies and school infrastructure regulations do not make explicit provision for the application of health and safety standards at school premises that use potentially dangerous machinery and equipment in places such as technical workshops and science laboratories. It is therefore recommended that the OHSA, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, the Schools Act and the School Infrastructure Regulations be amended to provide legal certainty in respect of the application of occupational safety to technical workshops at high schools.


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Author Biography

Marius H Smit, North-West University

BCom (law) (RAU), LLB (US), LLM (Environmental law) (Unisa), PhD (NWU). Professor at the School of Education, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa. Email: marius.smit@nwu.ac.za. https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9707-3270.




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How to Cite

Smit, M. H. (2022). Die Toepassing van die Wet op Beroepsgesondheid en -Veiligheid en ander Veiligheidsmaatreëls by Skole se Tegnologiewerkswinkels / The Application of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other Safety Measures at Schools’ Technology Workshops. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 25, (Published 31 January 2022) pp 1–37. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2022/v25i0a11952




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