Protecting workers’ health, environment

HUMAN driven work is a pivotal activity towards generation of material wealth and sustenance of life as we know it.

Work has catapulted technological advancement which is catering and will always be catering other related advantages into health, economy, education and industries.

The 21st century has benefited from the past hard-work which brought forth the industrial revolution passing the torch to agriculture.

Every unit of human labor has to be sustainable, and secure for the longevity of human/ other living organisms lives and the environment at large.

However, through the tunnel of time various occupations have presented myriads of health and environmental risks.

What lies ahead is the ability to combat these growing risks and attend to occupational safety and health, because life has dealt us a strong hand and that’s human knowledge.

There are thousands of workplaces across Tanzania which generate decent incomes for people in each millisecond, these workplaces safety, health and welfare is vital goal that has to be observed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies occupational health to cut across all aspects of health in the workplace with the prime goal of hazard prevention.

WHO aligns with the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy (2009) which knows poverty alleviation goes together with improved working conditions by the provision of high end occupational health and safety services.

With the ongoing national development agenda of industrialising Tanzania.

It is imperative for development enthusiasts, technocrats and stakeholders to take heed into understanding deeply the essence of occupation safety and health because transport fatalities (drivers occupation) are higher in Tanzania compared to other occupations.

Construction workers, miners and other service sector workers are open to occupation risk in Tanzania. Over the last two years road accidents have shook the nation.

Motorbike rider and motor vehicle drivers have sustained alarming casualties at a very growing rate of 43.56 according to available independent demographic studies.

The past decade has demonstrated how, destructive fires still ravaged marketplaces, industries and learning institutions primarily boarding schools.

Construction site accidents are not fresh anymore. Manual labor workshops are still operated with no regard to human and environmental concerns.

Brick making spots welding workshops, roofing and window making workshops are extremely noisy presenting its workers open to hearing loss and psychological defects.

Occupational Safety and Health Authority (OSHA) is a Tanzanian authority that oversees that our workplaces are free from any form of occupational hazards that may engender our health at occupations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (2003) has stipulated on the promotion, coordination, administration and enforcement for occupational safety and health.

This institutional framework works as a watching tower to safeguard workers across the nation, open to occupational risks.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have aligned their perspective to foster the working conditions betterment.

In 1950, where these two international organizations depicted few things that are vital to occupational safety and health.

Maintaining and promoting workers health and working capacity, improvement of working environment for it to be conducive and promoting working cultures that steer health and safety in a good course.

Taking a close look in our sole environment, most of our workplaces apart from corporate entities have are apt to workplace accidents and health risks.

Our city garbage collectors for a start, in Dar es Salaam, Tanga and Arusha. These hardworking individual collect unsorted waste of various forms, with no occupational gear, that being nose/mouth masks, working gloves (not surgical gloves as some of them put on), heavy steel toe boots and attire.

These collectors are open to onsite biological hazards contamination from bodily discharges in litter. Farmers and landscapers are prone to animal bites and stings in their workplaces across Tanzania.

Joshua Lutambi a Sociologist based in Dar es Salaam, acknowledges the vitality of occupational safety, Lutambi highlights that through-out his tenure in the construction industry he came across few things on environmental, social health and safety.

He adds that people tend to work without being inducted and not issued appropriate personal protective equipment as per OSHA and Construction Regulatory Board certified standards and control registers.

Leering down into the real world, Ms Mwajuma an experience cleaner and guest attendant at a local inn in Muheza District expresses her views on occupational safety she cites that “I know the vitality of doing work under safety gear but we tend to work without them’’.

After talking to couple of workers from wielding, brick making and luxurious business workers, I came to the realisation that these individuals somehow find the knack behind having conducive working environment and having reliable and well-situated tasks at their workplaces.

The monster lurking behind is the reluctance of employers and related authorities to pressurize the vitality of it.

Sociologist Lutambi went ahead and threw a stone towards contractors, spotlighting negligence occurring on site abandoning appropriate supervision from OSHA and labor departments and project owners.

Lutambi straightforwardly indicate that, project owners, employers and industrialists wont and to some extent take less serious occupational safety and health if the governing and inspecting authorities don’t assume it to be a dire matter.

Mbeya and Arusha have bear witness to markets burning down to crisp, displaying critical flaws in their built environment designs and occupational safety procedures.

Miners are at constant risk in Mererani-Arusha and local operated mines in Geita, these sites need to be regularly checked and catered for in terms of technology and moral support.

OSHA and CRB and other regulating bodies ought to take more cover in ensuring that workers across the country are aware of occupational risks and health issues.

Fire extinguishing procedures ought be inducted to workers, protective gears usage, and demand if employers don’t comply.

It is imperative for the institutional framework to stronghold rules and regulations that milk every employer dry of any misconduct towards securing workers occupational safety and health.

  • Padili Mikomangwa is a Geographer and Environmentalist based in Dar es Salaam. Mob: 0 7 6 3 6 35 5 9 7 , Email:padilijm@ gmail.com

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