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Mandate and purpose of OHSE

The Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) division is responsible for ensuring compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 85 of 1993 and all health, safety and environmental regulations pertaining to the University of Cape Town (UCT). 

The OHSE division's branding promotes and identifies our safety processes and practices and assists with embedding safety into the university's everyday culture. OHSE encompasses safety, occupational health, environment and emergency management.

Health, Safety, Environment and Emergency Management Strategic Plan

UCT's Health, Safety, Environment and Emergency Management Strategic Plan provides five (5) key strategic objectives that align with the vision of UCT as a safe environment where health and safety are the topmost priority for all staff and students.

The five key strategic objectives are:

  1. Develop, effectively maintain and manage safety, organisational hazards and risks;
  2. Provide training and support whilst motivating our staff and students to effectively identify, report and investigate workplace risks, hazards and incidents;
  3. Develop a culture that embeds health and safety into all university activities and continuously improve performance;
  4. Ensure preparedness through structured emergency preparedness and management, business continuity planning, and response practices; and
  5. Support the health and safety of the university staff and students and ensure appropriate injury and illness management.

Creating a health and safety culture

Critical components of a good health and safety culture are:

  • A tangible commitment by top management
  • Transparent methods of informing and consulting with the workforce
  • Recognition of the fact that everyone has a role to play
  • Co-operation between employees
  • Open, two-way communication
  • High-quality training and support

A clearly defined occupational health and safety (OHS) management system is an essential element of a good health and safety culture. Such system includes:

  • Integration of health and safety into the institution's strategic corporate objectives
  • An understanding of the OHS risk profile of the institution
  • Clearly defined responsibilities and accountabilities for all staff
  • Effective communication and consultation on OHS
  • Development of OHS competency across the institution that supports the management system
  • Integration of OHS management into the institution's planning processes.
  • Allocation of sufficient resources for the management of OHS
  • A meaningful set of OHS performance measures
  • The ability to review the execution of the OHS management system and learn from experiences, whether they be positive or negative
  • To hold the right people to account when it is fair to do so and not to seek to blame people for genuine errors and mistakes