Court Cash Hall’s Health & Safety Problems

South Africa. An employee‘s complaints about poor ventilation caused the cash hall at the Knysna Magistrate‘s Court to be closed down for days.

Since last Thursday it was closed in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after an employee complained to the Department of Labour that her working environment was making her ill.

But after air-conditioners were apparently switched on, the cash hall was reopened yesterday and about 100 members of the public queued up for service.

Labour lawyer Leonie Baynes, representing Denise Burmeister who worked in the cash hall but has since resigned, yesterday said the matter had been brought to the attention of the department of justice
as early as 2003.

The labour department inspected the premises in November 2006 and issued a notice to the justice department, and specifically to the Knysna court manager, instructing them to take steps within 60 days to
rectify the problem.

The Labour Department said failure to comply with requirements would constitute a criminal offense. The letter was received and signed for by the court manager on January 17 last year.

The windows inside the hall can only open a few centimetres.

Baynes is taking further legal steps in Burmeister‘s labour complaint.

Source: The Herald Online

By: Katherine Wilkinson

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