Department to celebrate World Day for Safety

Monday, April 24, 2017

Pretoria - Modern working environments pose 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 event will be celebrated at the Alberton Municipality offices in Ekurhuleni on Friday, 28 April.

The day aims to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases in the workplace. Its celebration ties in with the International Labour Organisation’s campaign for the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work, which focuses on the need for countries to improve their capacity to collect and use 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 World Day for Safety and Health at Work is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It is held annually and has been observed by the International Labour Organisation (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 (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 percent 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.

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.

He 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.

Zero Harm

Promoting the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally is part of a contribution to the implementation of one of the 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 and steel, construction and health sectors.

Szana said the department is committed to ensuring that the “Zero Harm” initiative to promote health and safety in workplaces is a success. He said to date, the department has signed industry accords with the chemical, iron and 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, and speakers from business, labour and government are expected to address the celebration.

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 the services of the department and those of the health and safety sector. – SAnews.gov.za

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