Mythbuster: My plumber's health and safety is his problem

 Bruce McFadzean   2019-09-12  Comments Client
Fall

YOU'RE A HOMEOWNER OR TRUSTEE and you've recently appointed a professional plumber who is registered with The Institute of Plumbing SA. It makes sense that his health and safety on site is his problem, right?
 
WRONG
As absurd and counterintuitive as it may seem, the law makes YOU responsible for your contractor's health and safety.
 
Leslie Kobrin writes "It is a well-known principle in South African law that an employer is vicariously liable for the negligent act of his or her employee or agent, when the employee or agent acts negligently while in the course and scope of his or her employment.  " http://www.derebus.org.za/vicarious-liability-easy-understand-difficult-adjudicate/
 
BUT I’M NOT THE EMPLOYER, I'M A TRUSTEE and all I need is some plumbing work done, not all of these other hassles…
 
If you do not have an agreement in terms of Section 37(2) of OHS Act, you will be deemed to be the employer. For this reason, it is critical that you have someone assist you with your health and safety duties. This takes the risk off you, the trustee or homeowner. The average man in the street knows little or nothing about OHS law, and who has time to read 470 pages of fine print before calling the plumber?
 
The answer is, we do, and we have a simple solution for trustees and homeowners alike, as well as contractors.

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