Matching New Ergonomics Regulations to Stakeholder Competence in South Africa

  • Andrew Ivan ToddEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 820)


In 2013 the South African department of labor convened a new technical committee to develop ergonomics regulations for the country and in 2016 a draft of the regulation was released for public comment. Although the existing occupational health and safety act refers to ergonomics, the new regulations would be the first to emphasize the requirement for South African employers to have an established ergonomics program. In order to further contextualize these regulations, it is important to understand several key factors relating to each of the four identified stakeholder groups (business, government, labor and specialists) identified in the regulations. Firstly, the nature of business ownership in the country. The small and medium size enterprise sector contributes approximately 36% of the gross domestic product and constitutes up to 90% of formal businesses, while the informal economy contributes a further 8% of gross domestic product. These sectors typically function under several constraints and whether these sectors have the finances and resources required to effectively implement the regulations is questionable. Secondly, it is necessary to ensure that the department of labor and their inspectors are in a position to not only implement the regulations but also to assist the various sectors of the economy in the development of their programs. Currently, only a small proportion of the inspectorate have any formal training and the necessary skills in ergonomics. Thirdly, from a labor perspective the level of knowledge and training of the workers and those likely to be responsible for the actual implementation and running of the ergonomics program needs very careful consideration and better understanding. Lastly, due to the fact that the number of ergonomics practitioners (at all levels) and training programs in South Africa are small there is a very real risk that they are inadequately resourced to deal with the increased demand associated the regulations being introduced. It is clear that within each group of stakeholders there are legitimate barriers to the effective implementation of the regulations. In order to overcome these barriers, it is imperative that the level of competence of each stakeholder is matched to the demands placed on them by the new regulations. This presentation will highlight the ways in which the stakeholders have gone about trying to address the issues of ensuring their competence to deal with the introduction of the new ergonomics regulations. It will further explore some of the challenges that remain to be overcome and question whether or not the system (and the various stakeholders) are currently mature enough to cope with the introduction of broad and wide ranging ergonomics regulations.


Regulations Stakeholders Constraints 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Kinetics and ErgonomicsRhodes UniversityGrahamstownSouth Africa

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