The deciduous fruit industry calls on all agricultural stakeholders to ensure the dignity and safety of agri workers when people are being transported. Stakeholders need to inform themselves of legislation and follow good practice guidelines. This is a serious matter that continuously and unnecessarily damages agriculture as a sector’s reputation and public image.
Vehicles used to transport workers must comply with legal requirements. Regulation 247 (National Road Traffic Act, 1996) stipulates very clearly that the part of the vehicle carried by the workers must be enclosed with material strong enough to prevent a person from falling off the vehicle, to a height of at least 350 millimetres above the surface on which the passengers sit; or at least 900 millimetres above the surface on which the people stand. Ideally, no person being transported should be standing on the body of the vehicle, but there is not any specific ban on this.
Producers/management of the business must always ensure that:
- Safe speeds are maintained when transporting employees.
- Passengers are seated or stand securely before driving. Note that the driver is also responsible here. No worker’s body should technically lean over a vehicle.
- No equipment, materials, or tools are transported with workers.
- The vehicle must be roadworthy and have a valid license, which means that all lights must work etc.
- The driver must be in possession of a valid driver’s license (PDrP) on a public road as contained in the National Road Traffic Act of 1996. On private roads, it is not necessary, but it is a SIZA recommendation to this have a license in place as an additional form of competency requirements.
- No school-going children may be transported in the back of a bakkie/truck
The greatest responsibility rests with the management to make sure the vehicle and driver are competent and safe. Furthermore, the correct policies and processes should be discussed with those being transported to make everyone aware of the safety rules and possible hazards, i.e., training and information must be given beforehand.
To empower your business, download two documents with guidelines and legislation. Let’s stay safe together.
- SIZA: SIZA-Transport-Guide
- AGRI Western Cape: VERVOER VAN WERKERS JAN 2021 (002)
- Information supplied by SIZA and Agri Western Cape
Pictured here: Western Cape Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Meyer, with George Hugo (left), an agri worker from Grabouw, showing good transport ideals.