Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
GOVERNMENT is encouraging all companies operating in the country to adopt the “Vision Zero Strategy”, to significantly reduce occupational accidents.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Dr Sekai Nzenza, said this recently in a speech read on her behalf by Permanent Secretary Dr Judith Kateera during the occupational safety and health awards in Harare.
Zimbabwe adopted the “Vision Zero Strategy” last year, which is designed to drastically curb work-related accidents, injuries, diseases and fatalities.
Currently, occupational accidents are sky-rocketing, with 415 deaths and 25 630 injuries having been recorded between 2013 and August this year.
Worryingly, 51 fatalities and 3 841 injuries have been recorded between January and August this year.
Said Dr Nzenza: “I, therefore, encourage each and every establishment to come on board and adopt the ‘Vision Zero Strategy’.
“We must all recognise that a safe and healthy workplace will create healthy workers, increase productivity, contribute towards sustainable development and create a positive image for the organisation.”
Dr Nzenza explained that safe and healthy working environments are not only a legal and moral obligation, but they also “pay off economically”.
She said top management must lead the way by investing “sufficient” resources and ensuring that safety cannot be compromised.
Government is committed to continuously assisting other organisations to reach higher levels of safety and health at work, but encouraged safety practitioners to establish a network among themselves so that they “share best practices” and learn from each other.
Added Dr Nzenza: “I urge you to continuously adjust your occupational safety and health systems and to keep abreast with current developments in your industries, so that you may better guarantee a conducive working environment.
“There is need for persistence and strong determination. There are no shortcuts to good safety and health management.
“It requires painstaking efforts in a consistent manner to revisit safety issues, learn from safety mistakes and lessons, re-teach and re-train employees, re-evaluate work processes to make them even safer and to remind employees about safety every single day.”
Experts say occupational safety and health performance affects the competitiveness of a country’s economy.
Products from countries with high occupational accidents tend to perform badly on the global market.
Dr Nzenza said the country’s decision to adopt the ‘Vision Zero Strategy’ is a prime opportunity for Zimbabwe’s drive to curb accidents and make the economy competitive.