Over 3 500 work-related injuries and 33 fatalities have so far been recorded since the beginning of this year, with the government expressing concern at the worrying statistics.
BY MUNESU NYAKUDYA
Addressing delegates at a National Social Security Authority conference on safety and health at workplaces on Wednesday, Labour and Social Welfare acting minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the statistics remained worrisome despite a decline in injuries and fatalities.
“An overview of the past three years shows that in the year 2013 there were 5 666 serious injuries with 76 fatalities,” she said.
“The year 2014 experienced 5 736 serious injuries and 106 fatalities. In 2015 there were 52 380 serious injuries and 54 fatalities. By August this year we had already recorded 3561 injuries and 33 fatalities. One injury or one death is already one too many.”
Nyoni urged the conference to learn and exchange good occupational safety health practices (OSH).
“Let us benchmark ourselves against the best we have, not only in Zimbabwe but regionally and globally,” she said.
“As your legislators, we are committed to providing a conducive environment. My ministry is working tirelessly to review occupational safety and health legislation in Zimbabwe.”
She also said that in a few weeks’ time, the labour ministry will be going around the country consulting people to contribute towards the OSH Draft Bill before its reading in Parliament.
“I implore all of you to review the draft bill and make relevant contributions that will result in law, which will turn around the safety and health of workers in Zimbabwe,” Nyoni said.
International Labour Organisation country director Hopolang Phororo said it was difficult to get information on workplace related stress since 94% of workers are employed in the informal sector. “The economic social challenges that Zimbabwe is facing are well documented, what remains unknown is the effect of these hardships on workers,” Phororo said.