No more masks for South Africa, but what about the workplace?

No more masks for South Africa, but what about the workplace?

Business, Coronavirus Reliefs, Human Resources

Author: Delene Sheasby

There have been numerous changes recently relating to the management and exposure to SARS-COV-2 in the workplace, particularly with regards to the Covid protocols with which we have had to comply during the past 2 years. Most notably, masks were in, now they’re out – but how does this affect the workplace? Here’s what you need to know when it comes to the legislative requirements for employers in the office.

On the 22nd June 2022, the Minister of Health issued a gazette repealing the regulations of Notifiable Medical Conditions, with immediate effect.  Essentially, this meant that the wearing of masks in public indoor places, restrictions on gatherings at events, as well as restrictions on people entering the borders in South Africa, were removed.

It’s important to understand that the repealing of this regulation under the Department of Health does not change the labour laws which are still applicable to employers under the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993 (OHSA). What this means is that although there is no requirement to wear masks in public, employers must still comply with the Code of Good Practice to manage Covid in the workplace, and ensure the health and safety of their employees as required by the OHSA.

In addition, the repeal does not impact the continued operation of the Hazardous Biological Agents Regulations (“the HBA Regulations”) published on the 16th March 2022. These regulations classify Covid as a Group 3 Hazardous Biological Agent (HBA), and place several legal obligations on employers. These include conducting a risk assessment and developing an action plan for the implementation of the recommendations arising from the risk assessment.  Because Covid is still with us, employers are legally required to conduct risk assessments and implement measures to prevent infection and transmission of the virus, or mitigate the risk of serious illness or death in their workplaces.

On the 24th June, a Code of Good Practice to managing the exposure to SARS-COV-2 in the workplace was released by Mr T W Nxesi, MP Minister of Employment and Labour and Government Notice No. R 2191. It outlines the following:

  • Updated risk assessments and action plan
  • Administrative measures, including isolation, ventilation, vaccination, monitoring and symptom reporting

For more information download the Code of Good Practice here:

And if you have any questions or require more clarity, please email [email protected].