Tanaka Vunganai Herald Reporter
Government has urged the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to include the informal sector when gathering data on occupational health and safety.
Speaking at the official opening of the NSSA National Conference on Safety and Health at Work in Harare yesterday, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said the informal sector needed to be included in all programmes as they contributed significantly to the country’s economy.
“Our national Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) data on occupational injuries and fatalities for the past three years revealed that in 2014 we recorded 5 736 injuries and 106 fatalities. In 2015 there were 5 380 injuries and 54 fatalities and in 2016, 5 364 injuries and 63 fatalities were recorded. This year by August, 3 330 occupational injuries and 32 occupational fatalities were recorded. However, these official figures provide only a partial assessment of the situation, as they excluded our fast growing informal sector, which is contributing to the nation’s economy. Furthermore, there is an increasing need to demonstrate to external stakeholders such as regulators, insurance companies, shareholders, suppliers, contractors and members of the public that arrangements to control safety and health risks are in place, operating correctly and effectively,” said Minister Mupfumira.
She said Parliament would be presented with an Occupational Safety and Health Draft Bill aimed at improving the working environment.
“There is an OSH Draft Bill which will soon be tabled to the Parliament, aimed at regulating safety and health practices at all workplaces and improving reporting and notification of OSH data. Hence, Zimbabwe will be better placed to fulfil its commitment to implement and report on the global plan of action that aims to end poverty, protect our natural resources, and ensure prosperity for all our citizens,” Minister Mupfumira said.
“I challenge NSSA, as the regulatory authority, to educate the informal sector players about safety at work. This sector is currently excluded from the OSH programs yet it is what is driving our economy. In fact, informal is the new normal. It is imperative that we develop systems to gather data from this sector and develop responsive programs for prevention of occupational accidents, injuries, diseases and deaths.”