Thandeka Moyo, Chronicle Reporter
BULAWAYO’s Minister of State for Provincial affairs Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo has bemoaned the increase in the number of occupational accidents in the country which have surpassed the 5 000 mark annually since 2014.
Speaking during the World Day for safety and health commemorations on Friday, Minister Moyo said companies should work towards reducing workplace accidents.
“In 2016 we recorded 5 364 injuries and 93 fatalities compared to 2015 when we recorded 5 380 injuries and 54 fatalities and these statistics are not pleasing at all,” said Minister Moyo.
“Managing safety and health in a work environment is often viewed as an unnecessary luxury especially where the business approach is based on traditional concepts whose main focus is on production and profitability,” said Minister Mopyo.
She said such an approach led to an astronomical rise in occupational accidents and diseases.
“According to the International Labour Organisation more than 313 million non-fatal occupational injuries are recorded each year equating to an average of 860 000 people injured on the job daily. Everyday approximately 6 400 die from an occupational accident or disease which is more than 2,3 million deaths each year,” she said.
Minister Moyo said the country needed to develop a more reliable reporting system.
“We also have to take cognisance of the rapidly changing structure of our economy that is now driven by the informal and SME sectors. It is these sectors that require the greatest support in the occupational safety and health field,” said Minister Moyo.
She said effective information systems have proved to be one of the most effective tools in the management of business in the modern world.
“It is therefore imperative that occupational safety and health systems should be buttressed by effective gathering and utilisation of data, ” said Minister Moyo.
This year’s theme is: “Reinforcing occupational health and safety preventative culture through optimum gathering and utilisation of data”.
National Social Security Authority (NSSA) Matabeleland regional manager Mr Wellington Chinembiri said this year’s theme is timely considering that national accident statistics are still far from inspiring. “We need data on our workplaces’ risk profile where hazards are located,” said Mr Chinembiri.
He said the country’s performance in regard to data collection and utilisation particularly in industries was still far from where it should be and there was a need to improve.
The Apex Council of The Civil Service urged Government to speed up the occupation safety and health law reform to protect civil servants from work related injuries.