Low turnout at World Day for Safety and Health

Only eight companies took part in this year’s World Safety and Health Day here, compared to 11 last year. John Mafukare, the Chief Executive Officer of the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCOZ), attributed this to the poor performance of the economy and the lack of funds by companies to retool so that they become competitive.

Closed shop...Workers at Cairns Holding packing jam.
Closed shop…Workers at Cairns Holding packing jam.

He said the few remaining companies still in business were operating well below capacity. Companies such as Cairns Holdings, Bhadhella Wholesalers and Mutare Board and Paper Mills have folded as a resulted of economic challenges.

Mafukare said the disappearance of the formal economy had created a serious deficit within the economy, making it difficult for companies to operate viably. He urged the government to step in and help revive the economy.

Meanwhile, according to National Social Security Authority (NSSA) occupational deaths, injuries and diseases have steadily increased over the last five years. Statistics show that for the past five years there have been immense accidents happening in workplaces resulting in serious injuries and deaths.

There were 3,122 serious injuries and 64 fatalities in 2009 while in 2010, 4,410 injuries and 90 fatalities were recorded. In 2011, 4,158 workers seriously injured at work and 75 died. In 2012, there were 5,141 serious injuries, of which 107 were fatal. In 2013, there were 5,666 serious injuries and 76 fatalities.

The first three months of this year have experienced 1,507 injuries and 34 fatalities. Many of the accidents occurred in the manufacturing industry and were caused by chemicals like methane, chlorofluorocarbons and carbon dioxide.

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