Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act
- Commenced on 8 December 1997
- [This is the version of this document at 31 December 2014.]
- [Note: This version of the Act was revised and consolidated in the Fifth Revised Edition of the Laws of Malawi (L.R.O. 1/2018), by the Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice under the authority of the Revision of the Laws Act.]
Part 1 – Preliminary
1. Short titleThis Act may be cited as the Occupational Safety, Health and Welfare Act.
4. General applicationSave as is in this Act otherwise expressly provided, this Act shall apply to all workplaces as defined by this Act.
5. Application to workplaces belonging to the GovernmentThis Act shall also apply to—
Part II – Registration of workplaces
6. Register of workplacesThe Director shall keep a register of workplaces in which he shall cause to be entered such particulars in relation to every workplace required to be registered under this Act as he may consider necessary or desirable.
7. Premises not to be used as workplaces unless registered
8. Application for erection or alteration of workplaces
9. Application for registration of workplaces
10. Notification of changeIf, at any time after an application has been submitted to the Director in accordance with section 7 or section 8, any substantial change occurs with respect to the particulars set out in the application, the occupier of the premises to which the application relates shall forthwith inform the Director in writing of such change, and every applicant who fails to do so shall be guilty of an offence.
11. Transfer of workplaceWhen the right to occupy any workplace has been transferred, the transferee, or person acting in his behalf, shall forthwith send notice in writing to the Director stating the name and postal address of the transferee, the situation of the workplace and the nature of the trade or business to be carried on in the workplace, together with the prescribed transfer fee.
12. Fees for registration, etc.The Minister may make regulations prescribing fees which shall be paid in respect of registration of existing workplaces, the registration of new workplaces and renewal of registration, the transfer of a workplace and the issue of duplicate certificates of registration.
Part III – Duties and responsibilities
13. Duties of employers
14. General duties of employers and self-employed persons to persons other than their employees
15. Duties of other persons
16. General duties of persons in control of workplaces in relation to harmful emissions
17. General duties of manufacturers or suppliers as regard articles and substances used at workplaces
18. General duties of employees at workplacesIt shall be the duty of every employee while at a workplace—
19. Interference with or misuse of safeguardsNo person shall intentionally or recklessly interfere with or misuse anything provided in the interests of health, safety or welfare in pursuance of this Act.
20. Duty not to levy charges on employeesNo employer shall levy or permit to be levied on any employee any charge in respect of anything done or provided in pursuance of this Act.
21. Safety committeesIt shall be the duty of every employer to establish a safety committee in a workplace employing more than fifty employees or, having regard to the nature of the undertaking at the workplace, where the Director so directs.
Part IV – Health and welfare
24. Ventilation and temperature
26. Drainage of floorWhere any process is carried on which renders the floor at any workplace liable to be wet, and the wet is capable of being removed by drainage, effective means shall be provided and maintained for drainage and disposal of the wet.
27. Sanitary conveniences
28. Washing facilities
29. Drinking water
30. Change rooms
32. Facilities for meals
33. First aid
34. Medical examination
Part V – Machinery safety
35. Fencing and guarding of dangerous machinery
36. Provision as to unfenced machineryIn determining, for the purposes of section 35, whether any part of machinery is in position or of construction to be safe to every person employed or working on the premises as it would be if securely fenced—
37. Construction and maintenance of fencingAll fencing and other safeguard provided in accordance with the provisions of this Part shall be substantial construction, and shall be constantly maintained and kept in a position while the parts required to be fenced or safeguarded are in motion or in use, except when any such parts are necessarily exposed for examination and for any lubrication or adjustment shown by such examination to be immediately necessary, and all the conditions specified in section 36 are complied with.
38. Hoists and lifts
39. EscalatorsEvery escalator in a workplace shall be examined by a competent person after every period of six months, and a report of the result of every such examination in the prescribed form and containing the prescribed particulars shall be signed by the person making the examination and shall be submitted to the Director within fourteen days of the date of examination.
40. Cranes and other lifting machines
41. Chains, ropes and lifting tackle
42. Steam boilers
43. Notification of repairs, etc. to boiler
44. Additional information on new boilers
45. Exemption for steam tube ovens, etc.Section 42 (2), (3), (4) and (7) and section 43 shall not apply to steam tube ovens and steam tube hotplates used for the baking or heating of food:Provided that—
46. Steam receivers and steam containers
47. Air receivers
48. Gas plants
49. Gas cylindersCylinders for compressed, dissolved or liquified gases shall be—
50. FeesThe Minister may make regulations prescribing fees for any examination or test carried out under this Part, and such fees shall be paid in respect of each such examination or test.
Part VI – Health and safety
51. Hazardous substances
52. Vessels, etc., containing dangerous substances
53. Bulk storage of dangerous substances
54. Precautions in relation to explosives, etc.
55. Precautions in relation to work in confined spaces
56. Prevention of fire
57. Means of escape in case of fire
58. Protective clothing and appliancesWhere in any workplace workers are employed in any process involving excessive exposure to heat, cold, noise, wet or to any injurious or offensive substance, or any welding process, suitable protective clothing and appliances, including, where necessary suitable gloves, footwear, screens, goggles, ear muffs and head covering, shall be provided and maintained at no cost to the employee for the use of such workers as required by the Director.
59. Removal of dust and fumesIn every workplace in which, in connexion with any dust process carried on, there is given off any dust or fume or other impurity of such a character and to such extent as to be likely to be injurious or offensive to the persons employed, or any substantial quantity of dust of any kind, all practicable measures, including the supply of breathing masks, shall be taken to protect the persons employed against inhalation of the dust or fume or other impurity and to prevent its accumulating in any workroom, and where the nature of the process makes it practicable, exhaust appliances shall be provided and maintained, as near as possible to the point of origin of the dust or fume or other impurity, so as to prevent it entering the air of any workroom.
60. Protection of eyes
61. Ionizing radiation
62. Non-ionizing radiation
63. Noise and vibration
64. Lifting and handling of weights
65. Information and training
Part VII – Notification and investigation of accident, dangerous occurrences and industrial diseases
66. Notification of accidentsWhere any accident occurs in a workplace which either—
67. Dangerous occurrences
68. Notification of industrial diseases
Part VIII – Records
69. Posting of abstract of the Act, etc.There shall be kept posted in a conspicuous place in every workplace—
70. General Register
71. Preservation of registers and recordsThe general register and every other register or record kept in accordance with this Act shall be preserved and shall be kept available for at least two years after the date of the last entry in the register or record for inspection by any inspector.
Part IX – Administration
72. Appointment of inspectors
73. Powers of inspectors
74. Power to deal with cause of imminent danger
75. Inspectors not to disclose information
76. Improvement notices
77. Prohibition notices
78. Provisions on prohibition notices and improvement notices
79. Appointment of Arbitration Board
80. Appeal against improvement or prohibition notice
81. Certificate by the Director to be gazettedWhenever the Director issues any certificate approving or authorizing any person for the purpose of this Act or excepting any workplace from the requirements of this Act or revokes any such certificate, notification of the exercise of such powers shall be published in the Gazette.
Part X – Offences, penalties and legal proceedings
83. General penaltyAny person guilty of an offence under this Act for which no express penalty is provided shall be liable to a fine of K10,000 and if the offence in respect of which he was convicted continued after the conviction he shall in addition be liable to a fine of K500 for each day the offence continues.
84. Power of court to order contravention to be remediedWhere the occupier or owner of a workplace is convicted of an offence under this Act, the court may in addition to or instead of a penalty, order the occupier or owner, within the time specified in the order, to take such steps as may be so specified for remedying the matters in respect of which the contravention occurred, and may, on application, enlarge the time so specified, and where such an order is made, the occupier or owner shall not be liable under this Act in respect of the continuation of the contravention during the time allowed by the court, but if, after the expiration of that time as originally specified or enlarged by subsequent order, the order is not complied with, the occupier or owner, as the case may be, shall be liable to a fine of K500 for each day non-compliance continues.
85. Penalty in case of death or bodily injuryIf any person dies or suffers any bodily injury as a result of the occupier or owner of a workplace having contravened any provision of this Act, the occupier or owner of the workplace shall, without prejudice to any other penalty, be liable to a fine of K20,000 and to imprisonment for twelve months, and the whole or any part of the fine may be applied for the benefit of the family of the deceased person or the injured person, as the case may be, as the court may order.
86. Penalty on persons actually, committing offence for which occupier is liableWhere an act or default for which an occupier or owner of workplace is liable under this Act is in fact the act or default of agent, servant, worker or other person, that agent, servant, worker or other person shall be guilty of an offence and liable to the like penalty as if he were the occupier or owner, as the case may be.
87. Power of occupier or owner to exempt himself from liability on conviction of the actual offender
88. Proceedings against persons other than occupiers or ownersWhere, under this Act, any person is substituted for the occupier or owner of a workplace with respect to any provision of this Act, any order, summons, notice or proceedings which, for the purpose of any of such provision, is by or under this Act required or authorized to be served on or taken in relation to the occupier or owner, shall be required or authorized to be served on or taken in relation to that person.
89. Owner of machine liable in certain cases instead of occupierWhere in a workplace the owner or hirer of a machine or of an implement moved by mechanical power is a person other than the occupier of the workplace, the owner or hirer of such machine or implement shall be deemed to be the occupier of the workplace with respect to any offence under this Act committed in relation to a person who is employed in or about or in connexion with that machine or implement (and is in the employment or pay of the owner or hirer).
90. Special provisions as to evidence
91. Service of documents
92. Power to modify agreementsIf, by reason of an agreement between the owner and the occupier of premises the whole or any part of which has been let as a workplace, the owner or occupier is prevented from carrying out any structural or other alterations in the premises which are necessary to enable him to comply with this Act or in order to conform with any standard or requirement imposed by or under this Act, the owner or occupier, as the case may be, may apply to the High Court for the terms of the agreement to be set aside or modified; and the High Court, after hearing the parties and any witnesses whom they may desire to call, may make such an order setting aside or modifying the terms of the agreement as it considers just and equitable in the circumstances of the case.
93. Power to apportion expensesWhere in any premises the whole or any part of which has been let as a workplace, any structural or other alterations are required in order to comply with this Act, or in order to conform with any standard or requirement imposed by or under this Act, and the owner or the occupier, as the case may be, alleges that the whole or part of the expenses of the alterations ought to be borne by the occupier or owner, the owner or the occupier, as the case may be, may apply to the High Court for the expenses of the alterations to be apportioned between them; and the High Court, after hearing the parties and any witnesses whom they may desire to call—
Part XI – Miscellaneous provisions
94. IndemnityThe Director or any other inspector shall not be held liable in damages or otherwise to any person by reason of the exercise or non exercise in good faith of the powers conferred under this Act.
95. RegulationsThe Minister may make Regulations for the better carrying out of the objects and purposes of this Act and for prescribing things and matters required to be prescribed under this Act.
96. Repeal and savings
History of this document
08 December 1997