32 died at work this year

National Social Security Authority (NSSA) revealed that more than 1 440 occupational accidents occurred in Zimbabwe during the first quarter of this year

THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) yesterday revealed that more than 1 440 occupational accidents occurred in Zimbabwe during the first quarter of this year with 32 of them being fatal. SILAS NKALA STAFF REPORTER

Speaking during the World Day for Decent Work commemorations organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in Bulawayo, a NSSA official Lazarus Mawote said the world over 2,2 million people die each year from work-related diseases which correspond to a daily average of more than 5 500 deaths.

Mawote said was an unacceptable decent work deficit.

He also said it that 321 000 people die every year from occupational accidents, while there are 160 million non-fatal work-related diseases and 3,7 million non-fatal occupational accidents per year.

“In Zimbabwe statistics of accidents show that in 2011, there were 4 158 injuries and 75 fatalities recorded,” Mawote said.

“In 2012, there were 5 141 serious injuries while 107 workers died. The first quarter of this year saw 1 447 serious injuries and 32 fatalities,” Mawote said.

“The sad part of the scenario is that these statistics only reflect injuries and illness that occurred in the formal economic sector where employers and workers make efforts to report to NSSA.

“Therefore it is likely that statistics are higher than this when the informal sector is considered.”

Mawote said the human cost is obvious where the ultimate cost is life and NSSA was aware of certain jobs which were associated with high risks of premature deaths.

He said such incidents could not be the basis for growth, development or a sustainable enterprise strategy.

World Day for Decent Work commemorations was first marked in Zimbabwe in 2007 and is celebrated every year on October 7.

ZCTU president George Nkiwane said the umbrella labour body was taking stock of decent work achievements, intensifying campaigns on law reforms and lobbying for the need to protect and safeguard the existing democratic frameworks.

In a speech read on his behalf by ZCTU first vice-president Sithokozile Siwela, Nkiwane said: “The commemorations also highlight the workers’ rights denial, poor quality employment, unsafe working conditions and lack of income security.

“As labour, we will continue to call for poverty datum line-linked minimum wages as a starting point.” Nkiwane also said unemployment is hovering at around 90%. Twitter feedback @silasnkala