By Alois Vinga
AT least nine people have already died in 1 135 work related accidents since the beginning of the year, Labour Minister Sekai Nzenza has revealed.
Nzenza was addressing guests at an event held to commemorate World Day for Safety and Health at Work in Harare Friday.
She bemoaned the continuous loss of life and accidents which have also left many workers injured and disabled.
“Let us reflect on the prevailing status of occupational safety and health in our country over the past few years. We have seen the injury and fatality statistics remaining high and this year alone in the first three months, we have already recorded 1 135 injuries and nine deaths.
“In 2015, there were 5,380 serious injuries of which 54 were fatal, in the year 2016, there were 5,360 serious injuries and 59 fatalities, In 2017, we recorded 5,007 serious injuries with 65 fatalities and in 2018, we recorded 5,965 serious injuries with 70 fatalities,” she said.
Nzenza underscored that what is more depressing is the fact that the cost of unsafe work is grave because “each number read out represents a father, a mother, a husband, a wife, a son, a daughter, a bread winner for a family.”
“Government accords high priority to occupational safety and health. We will endeavour to regularly engage all social partners for development and sustenance of prevention.
“A culture that respects the sanctity of human life and respect of workers’ rights to safe work, is a prerequisite to fulfil the principles enshrined in the decent work agenda,” Nzenza said.
According to the International Labour Organisation, 2.78 million workers die worldwide each year from occupational accidents and work-related diseases.
In addition, another 374 million workers suffer each year from non-fatal occupational accidents. Official figures show that days lost at work globally due to accidents represent almost 4% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product.