Government has raised alarm over the rising number of work related deaths and injuries which it says has a huge impact on the quality of work in both the private and public sector.
An annual report by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) reveals that there is a sharp increase in deaths and injuries at workplaces due to a number of reasons, chief among them unsafe work practices for workers.
In a speech read on her behalf during a chief executive officers’ breakfast meeting on Occupational Safety and Health, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Sekai Nzenza said workplaces should be harnessed as safe havens for workers and measures must be put in place to ensure that workers get as much maximum security as possible.
“The high numbers of occupational death, injuries and diseases recorded by NSSA over the past five year are very worrying. We need to urgently address this challenge that is being experienced in our workplaces. It is also my hope that we will see a decline in the number of fatalities that are being recorded in our factories and workplaces,” she noted.
In 2015, there were 5380 serious injuries recorded of which 54 were fatal.
In 2016, there were 5364 injuries recorded and 63 deaths while the following year there was a slight decline as 5007 serious injuries were recorded but there was an increase in work-related deaths as 65 people lost lives.
In 2018, there was again an increase in serious injuries as 5965 people were seriously injured while 70 fatalities were recorded.
In 2019, to this day, 3250 have since been recorded with 33 fatalities.
Nzenza said there is an urgent need to address this increase as the country aims for vision Zero under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Centenary Declaration.
“These statistics are not pleasing at all and particularly as we are gearing towards the attainment of Vision Zero,” she said.
Nzenza called on captains of industries to take a leading role in making sure the vision is attained by ensuring safer working environments for their subordinates
In 2017, NSSA launched the Vision Zero Campaign aimed at reducing occupational injuries, fatalities and diseases.