The Department of Health has published directives which requires companies who employ more than 50 employees to submit information on a weekly basis via a special portal.
The information that is required on a weekly basis is the following, and is quoted directly from the directive issued which can be accessed here Government_Gazette.
- Vulnerable Worker Data:
All employers are legally required to identify those employees who are vulnerable for the more severe outcomes of the COVID-19 infection. Since this is a key component of the screening of workers, this data must be submitted by employers.
The vulnerability status of each worker that is submitted is not dependent on the availability of detailed medical information being available to the employer. This once off submission is submitted when collected by the workplace, and any subsequent occasion when new appointments are made, or an employee’s status requires updating.
- Daily Symptom Screening Data:
All employers are legally required to screen all employees entering their work premises daily. This screening must be based on the prescribed set of symptoms as has been defined by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases to determine those persons likely to be presenting with a COVID-19 infection, and therefore should be referred for further assessment.
This daily collected data must be submitted by employers, for those employees that are symptomatic. The data must be submitted on a weekly basis should there be symptomatic workers recorded during the calendar week. The submissions should occur before Tuesday for the previous calendar week commencing on Sunday.
- COVID-19 Testing Data:
Based on their daily symptom screening, or on their employees’ presentation to their health provider, employees are referred to health providers / health laboratories for testing for the presence of the COVID-19 virus.
In terms of managing the pandemic in the workplace, the employer is expected to be notified of the results of the tests. The results of the laboratory tests of all employees who test positive must be submitted by employers, upon receiving the results of such tests.
This submission occurs only when an employee tests positive for COVID-19 and should be submitted on a weekly basis should there be positive workers identified during the calendar week.
- High exposure risk Workplace Contact – tracing:
When an employee tests positive within the workplace, all those in contact must, as per the Department of Employment and Labour Direction, be assessed for a high risk or low risk of exposure.
A high risk of exposure is defined as being in proximity (<1.5m) for a prolonged period of time (>15 minutes) without the use of personal protective equipment and/or a face mask. Those employees with such a high risk of exposure are expected to be placed in quarantine.
- The total numbers of employees placed in quarantine:
Details on high exposure workers should be submitted on a weekly basis should there be positive worker/s identified during the calendar week.
- Post infection outcome and Return to Work Data:
Recovery from the infection will vary based on vulnerability and other risk factors. Understanding the outcomes of the infection among employees provides critical information.
All employers who indicate employees have tested positive must submit information about the outcome of the infection, and the return-to-work decision. No confidential clinical information is required. This data must be submitted once only when the employee returns to work.
Employers must access this link: https://www.nioh.ac.za/home/national-resources-directives-guidelines
Important: In collecting this information from their employees, employers are obliged to inform employees about the submission of this data to the Department.
The National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH), is the statutory entity designated by the Department of Health for the collection, analyses and reporting of the data from workplaces.
This clause does not remove the legal obligations by employers to report COVID 19 related information to specific government Departments (Department of Employment and Labour, Department of Public Service and Administration and Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Department of Trade, Industry and Competition etc.).
It is recommended that all the data be submitted in electronic format. In instances where employers are already using electronic applications, they can submit data to the NIOH data either through CSV data files and/or secure API transfer.