About 65 workers died in work-related accidents last year, while 5 007 were injured as the country continues to experience “unacceptably high” work-related accidents, Labour and Social Welfare minister Petronella Kagonye (pictured) has said.
BY Everson Mushava
Kagonye revealed this when she officially opened a National Social Security Authority–organised safety and health engineers’ workshop in Harare yesterday.
The figure was up from the 59 fatalities recorded the previous year, after a decline in deaths at workplaces in the past three years.
Six fatalities out of 434 work-related accidents have been recorded so far this year in January and February.
She said the government was concerned by the high fatalities at workplaces and challenged health and safety engineers to come up with measures to ensure the safety of workers.
“A look at the statistics of work-related accidents and deaths in the past four years indicates a slight decline,” Kagonye said.
“In 2014, 5 491 workers were seriously injured at work, resulting in 98 of them dying while in 2015, 5 380 serious injuries were recorded of which 54 were fatal.
“In 2016, there were 59 fatalities from 5 360 injuries recorded while 65 fatalities occurred out the 5 007 serious injuries recorded in 2017.”
She added: “As for the current year, 434 injuries and six deaths have already been recorded for the months of January and February 2018.”
Kagonye said it was worrisome that the number of work-related fatalities and injuries have remained “unacceptably high”, posing a serious question on whether safety and health practitioners responsible for safe engineering designs in industries were living up to their roles.
“If we value occupational safety and health of our employees, we should strive to eradicate occupational injury. As safety and health gatekeepers, failure on your part, results in catastrophic consequences on the precious human lives,” she said.
Kagonye said NSSA has joined the Vision Zero, Strategy Global campaign, which is being spearheaded by the International Social Security Association, aimed at curbing work-related accidents.
The minister called on occupational safety and health stakeholders to play an important role in the preventing work-related accidents.