Concern over high number of work-related deaths Minister Nzenza

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Government is committed to ensuring that the current drive to attract investment into the country is guided by policies anchored on strict adherence to labour, safety and health environment management legislation to promote safety and health of workers.

This was said by Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister, Dr Sekai Nzenza, at the 56th Safety and Health at Work Conference held in Harare on Thursday.

The conference was running under the theme: “Vision Zero: Safety, Health and Wellbeing.”

In a speech read on her behalf by the Minister of State in Vice-President Kembo Mohadi’s office, Cde Davis Marapira, Dr Nzenza said there was need to promote economic development through decent work.

She said Government embraced the Vision Zero initiative, which was earmarked at achieving zero harm at all workplaces.

She expressed concern that Zimbabwe was losing many lives due to work related deaths.

“On average, Zimbabwe is losing more than 70 lives due to work related deaths every year, a statistic that is worrisome and indeed unacceptable considering the subdued capacity utilisation in most of our industries,” said Dr Nzenza.

“Let it be known that these statistics as acknowledged by the International Labour Organisation could be a far cry from reality owing to non-reporting and under reporting associated with workplaces in developing countries.

“It is vital to note that eradication of occupational risks pays off economically. According to the International Social Security Association, international research on the return on investment in prevention has proved that every dollar invested in safety and health generates a potential of more than two dollars in positive economic effects.”

Dr Nzenza challenged management to promote workplace safety and health through awareness campaigns.

“I, therefore, appeal to all company executives and top management to embrace the Vision Zero strategy and the ISO 45001 standard where possible, undertake extensive awareness programmes on Vision Zero using both electronic and print media,” she said.

“Let us lead in fostering an accident preventive culture through the adoption and implementation of a systems approach to management of occupational safety and health at all workplaces. Employers should develop clear guidelines and targets of embracing the Vision Zero strategy at all levels of work.

“Employee involvement and participation must also be central to operations and companies so as to ensure their buy in which is vital for the success of the initiative.”

In a speech read on her behalf by board member Mrs Nester Mukwewa, NSSA acting chairperson Mrs Daphne Tomana said the theme and the vision zero campaign were a recognition of the need to develop effective occupational safety and health management systems to effectively control and manage workplace hazards.

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