Nearly 5,000 occupational safety accidents recorded in two years

MINISTER of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Labour, Youth and Employment), Professor Joyce Ndalichako has said 4,993 occupational safety accidents were recorded between July 2019 and June 2021 in the country, with manufacturing and production sector leading.

Speaking to reporters here yesterday ahead of the International Occupations Safety Health celebrations, Prof Ndalichako said 249 workers contracted diseases related to safety and health issues at their work places during the stated period.

She noted that out of the 4,993 accidents, there were 217 deaths, insisting on the need for workers to enrol with the Workers Compensation Funds (WCF) to get their due in case of accidents.

She said the government insists of ensuring safety and health issues adherence at work places, saying those who contract diseases, their performance is also affected even after recovery.

“The statistics are not promising as far as workers safety and health are concerned; employers must ensure they adhere to the rules and regulations as indicated by Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA).

“We must ensure we deal with challenges that cause accidents and diseases in work places as they impact performance thus decrease productivity and the desired goals,” she said.

Prof Ndalichako noted that it is government’s commitment to have a safe and healthier workforce for sustainable development of the nation.

Thus, she assigned OSHA to regulate, facilitate, enforce and promote safe and healthy workplaces by implementing effective systems for prevention of occupational diseases, ill health, accidents and damage to property in order to reduce costs of production and improve productivity in all sectors of economy.

Speaking during the event, OSHA Executive Director, Ms Khadija Mwenda, said the entity is responsible for overseeing occupational safety and health by ensuring that all employers have in place infrastructure and systems to ensure safety and health at the work place.

She said in recent years, they have noticed an increase in the number of employers who voluntarily request OSHA to inspect their premises or ask for tailor-made occupational safety and health (OSH) training programmes for their employees.

“This is an important indicator of success. OSHA focuses on educating rather than penalising employers who do not adhere to OSHA requirements so that they see the need to ensure safety and health in the workplace,“ she said.

This year’s celebrations under the theme of ‘A Safe and Healthy Working Environment is a Fundamental Principle and Right at Work’ is meant to raise awareness and training on occupational health and safety.

A number of activities have been listed before the climax that will be tomorrow in Morogoro. The activities include training and capacity building to the informal sectors, entrepreneurs, persons with disabilities and small-scale miners and the industries where majority of accidents occur.

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