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Tuesday, 27 June

The Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) Unit is the Labour Division’s arm that ensures employers are aware of their legal obligations under the country’s safety at work laws.

The Unit also conducts inspections to ensure that businesses prioritise and comply with these health and safety laws.

What are Solomon Islands’ main safety at work laws?

Solomon Islands’ main legislation that regulates health and safety at work is the Safety at Work Act 1982. This Act protects the health, safety and welfare of people at work. This protection covers the employee and employer as well as self-employed people.

What are employer’s main responsibilities under safety at work laws?

An employer’s main responsibilities under the safety at work Act are:

  1. To ensure the health, safety and welfare of all employees as defined by the Act.
  2. To inform, instruct and supply all relevant information to all employees.
  3. To ensure that all work areas, equipment and systems are without risk to employee health and safety.
  4. To ensure that all hazardous materials or processes are either eliminated or adequately controlled.
  5. Ensure that adequate training is supplied to staff where applicable.
  6. Ensure the health and safety of non-employees such as visitors and contractors to employer’s place(s) of work.

How can an employer manage health and safety at work?

An employer can manage occupational safety and health issues at his or her workplace by putting in place an Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) system. This system must comply with national OSH laws and regulations and should act as a guiding policy for workplace safety. It should also involve the participation of both the employer and his or her employees’.

For more information on OSH management and on what an OSH policy should entail, please visit the  Labour Division’s OSH Unit website.

What must employers know about hazard management?

An employer is responsible for ensuring that all hazards at his or her place of work are identified, assessed and that effective control measures for those hazards are developed and implemented.

For more information on these hazard management measures, please visit the  Labour Division’s OSH Unit website.

What is a workmen’s compensation?

A workmen’s compensation is an amount paid by employers to employees who are injured or become sick due to conditions at his or her place of work.

When an employer is liable to pay such an amount and the amount due is regulated by the  Workmens Compensation Act Cap 78.

What is the process for reporting work related accidents, diseases and deaths?

When an employee is injured or contracts a prescribed disease as a result of his or her work, that employee may be entitled to a compensation from his or her employer, subject to the terms and conditions of the Workmen’s Compensation Act (Cap 78)

The Process:
  1. If an employee covered under the Workmen’s Compensation Act (Cap 78) is prevented from attending work for more than 3 days due to an injury sustained at that employee’s workplace or if that employee contracts an occupational disease that affects his or her mental, physical or psychological capacity and provided that the disease occurs within 12 months prior to the employee becoming affected, his or her employer must report the case to the Commissioner of Labour by doing the following:

  1. Fill out a LAB WCA 1 Form and;

  2. Fill out a LAB WCA 2 Form for medical assessment results (this must be filled by a legal medical practitioner)

  3. Submit the Form(s) to the Commissioner of Labour within 7 days of the accident or disease occurring.

  4. In a case where death occurs, the employer is to fill out a LAB WCA 5 Form.

  5. If the death is due to an injury, the employer must complete a LAB WCA 1 Form as well.

  6. If in any of the cases mentioned, an employer is found to be liable to pay compensation, a LAB WCA 3 Form, accompanied by a cover letter will be sent to that employer and a copy will be forwarded to the employer’s Insurance Firm where workers are inured under the Workmen’s Compensation Policy.

  7. The claim shall be settled in 3 months.

  8. The employer can make request for changes to the claim by directly contacting Commissioner of Labour.

  9. If however, the employer refuses to pay and refuses to make a request as outlined in (h), the matter will be referred to a Court of Law for deliberation.