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Working in healthy and safe environment is a right – as Department of Labour celebrates World Day for Safety and Health at Work

by Lloyd Ramutloa last modified 2017-04-10 14:00

10-April-2017

The modern working environments are posing a greater risks to workers, and to alert workers to such dangers the Department of Labour will be hosting a campaign to celebrate the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

The department’s celebration on 28 April 2017 aims to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases in the working place. Its celebration ties with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) campaign for the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work, that focuses on the critical need for countries to improve their capacity to collect and utilize reliable occupational safety and health (OSH) data.

The day will be celebrated under theme – “Optimise the collection and use of occupational safety and health (OSH) data”. The event will be celebrated at the Alberton Municipality offices at Ekurhuleni, Alwyn Taljaard Drive.

The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held annually on 28 April and has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.

According to ILO estimates, a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease every 15 seconds. Every day, some 6,300 workers die from occupational accidents or work-related diseases, amounting to more than 2.3 million deaths a year. Furthermore, over 313 million workers suffer non-fatal occupational injuries each year, or in other words 860,000 people are injured on the job every day.

In addition to the tremendous human cost, estimates have identified the significant economic impact of inadequate occupational safety and health: four (4)  per cent of total global gross domestic product is lost annually (equivalent to US$2.8 trillion) by costs related to lost working time, interruptions in production, treatment of occupational injuries and diseases, rehabilitation and compensation. In this respect, the situation in the construction, mining and agricultural sectors appears particularly critical.

Department of Labour Chief Inspector, Tibor Szana said the department was planning to release an unprecedented and comprehensive report on the state of occupational health and safety in South Africa between September and December this year. Szana said the report will focus on the past two financial years (2015/2016 and 2016/2017).

Szana estimated that there were more than R2-billion worth of claims lodged annually with the department’s entity, the Compensation Fund for occupational injuries and diseases.

Szana said the OHS Bill to amend the current legislation will be unveiled for public comment before the end of the current financial year. He said one of the major changes in the Bill relates to the change in the administration of fines in cases of non-compliance.

Promoting the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally is part of a contribution to the implementation of one of Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the ILO some of the sectors accounting for a disproportionate number of fatal accidents at work include: agriculture, construction and mining. In South Africa some of the sectors identified as problematic include: chemical, iron & steel, construction and health sector.

Szana said the department was committed to ensuring that the “Zero Harm” initiative to promote health and safety in the workplaces in partnership with social partners was a success. He said to date the department has signed industry Accords with Chemical, Iron & Steel and Construction sectors as part of an effort to improve the status of occupational health and safety in various sectors in South Africa.

Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant; Department of Labour Director-General, Thobile Lamati; Department of Labour Deputy Director-General, Aggy Moiloa, speakers from business; labour and government are expected to address the celebration.

Also, a total of 300 delegates are expected to attend the department’s celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

There will also be more than 10 exhibitors displaying services of the department and those of the health and safety sector.

NB: Media is invited to attend the celebration of World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

Venue: Alberton Municipality offices at Ekurhuleni, Alwyn Taljaard Drive

Time: 09:30am

When: 28 April 2017

For more information contact:

Teboho Thejane

Department of Labour Spokesperson

082 697 0694


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