Why you really need to register your Workplace

It is recommended that a safety professional be engaged in the registration especially in filling the self-assessment report.

Why you really need to register your Workplace

Section 44 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007 requires that before any person occupies or uses any premises as a workplace in Kenya he shall apply for the registration of such premises by sending to the Director of Occupational Safety and Health Services a written notice containing the particulars set out in the Fourth Schedule of the Act. Section 45 (6) of the same Act requires that an occupier shall renew the certificate of registration annually.

Application for registration of a workplace is done by filling form MLSSS/DOSH 21A and completing a Workplace Self-assessment report available in the Ministry of Labour website. Applicants are also required to pay the OSH levy (Ksh. 3,000) and registration fee (Ksh. 2,000) to the DOSHS account and submit the deposit slip as well as the duly filled application form and self-assessment report to the DOSHS offices. The applicant is then issued with a certificate of registration.

When applying for the annual renewal of the certificate of registration, an occupier is required to fill in form MLSSS/DOSH 21B, submit a duly filled Self-assessment report and make payment for the OSH levy and registration fee.

The information required in completing both the registration and renewal forms is quite straight forward. These are basic questions that mostly require Yes/No answers. However, it should be duly filled with all relevant information to avoid any delay or denial of the Registration Certificate. This can be made easier if a safety professional is involved in the registration.

It is recommended that a safety professional should be engaged in filling the self-assessment report. This is because in addition to the general description of the workplace, personnel and facilities, the self-assessment also involves identification of hazards and proposing control measures. Information on existing health and safety policy is also required. As such, having professional help could help you save time and ensure quick processing of the application.

A performance audit by the Office of the Auditor General showed that as at April 2016, only 0.7% of the 1,700,000 workplaces in Kenya had been registered. The audit further found that as many as 75% of registered workplaces failed to renew their workplaces for the year 2014/15.  The low registration and renewal rates were attributed to inadequate staff and inadequate finances to finance the logistics as well as low levels of awareness among the occupiers and workers on the need for registration.

The OSH levy is paid into the OSH fund established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 2007 which is meant to enable DOSHS to among others;

  • Implement an effective system for the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases, ill health and damage to property at workplaces; 
  • Carry out research on occupational safety and health, including research on factors leading to occupational accidents and diseases; 
  • Develop and disseminate information materials, such as safety posters and pamphlets, newsletters and guidance notes on occupational safety and health including the holding of safety exhibitions, and awareness creation opportunities among employers employees and the general public
  • Promote occupational safety and health through the holding of annual safety award events for outstanding performance in safety and health among the enterprises and persons employed.  

Operating a workplace without having been issued with a certificate of registration under the provisions of OSHA, 2007 is likely to lead to a fine of up to Ksh 100,000 or imprisonment for a period of up to 3 months. Failure to comply following a conviction could make one liable for imprisonment for 7 days for each day on which the offence is continued. 

In 2017, DOSHS upgraded its Database in a process that saw all workplaces issued with a unique identifier. All registered workplaces are now required to use the number on their certificates as a unique identifier during the renewal process.

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