Occupational Health, Safety and Environment

Occupational Health, Safety and Compensation law

Lawyers at our firm have been centrally involved in developing regulatory frameworks for occupational health and safety, both locally and internationally, including the drafting of laws, regulations, conventions and codes of practice. We played a key role in drafting the Mine Health and Safety Act, 1996 and its regulations, OHS and compensation related laws in other Southern African countries and the ILO convention on health and safety in mines. One of our lawyers chaired the Committee of Inquiry into the Establishment of a National Health and Safety Council appointed by the Minister of Labour and was the principal drafter of the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy.

The firm has represented clients in many judicial and other statutory inquiries into major occupational accidents in South Africa in mining, construction and other economic sectors, including the Leon Judicial Commission of Inquiry into Safety and Health in the Mining Industry. We have also litigated in major cases involving the interpretation of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 (COIDA) and the Occupational Diseases in Mines and Works Act, 1973 (ODMWA) and have developed significant expertise regarding compensation for occupational accidents and diseases.

Our lawyers have presented papers, authored books and developed client training manuals on occupational health and safety law.

Our specialist services include:

  • advising on all aspects of the regulatory framework governing occupational health and safety and compensation, including drafting legislation and advising on regulatory compliance;
  • representing clients at informal investigations, formal inquiries, inquests and criminal prosecutions relating to occupational health and safety and litigating on their behalf;
  • assisting clients in claiming compensation including increased compensation for occupational injuries and diseases; and
  • providing training to clients in occupational health and safety law.

Environmental Law

Our lawyers have a profound understanding of the regulatory framework governing the environment and its protection. We have been involved in drafting various laws, including the National Environmental Management Amendment Bill, 2003 and advised the Department of Environmental Affairs on its environmental law reform programme.

Professionals from the firm have provided extensive advice on environmental matters, including:

  • the draft Coastal Management Bill and the establishment of a national coastal planning system;
  • the alignment of the National Air Quality Management Bill, the National Waste Management Bill, and the National Environmental Management Act;
  • the alignment of the National Biodiversity Bill, the National Coastal Management Bill and the National Environmental Management Act;
  • the comparative analysis of the Land Use Bill and the Sustainable Utilisation of Agricultural Resources Bill.