Members of the Kwakwani Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC), forestry officers and other stakeholders will soon benefit from a labour and Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) seminar to promote safe working environments and practices.
The exercise, which will be held in July, aims to equip participants with basic knowledge to develop and maintain safe systems, and methods to minimise workplace accidents. It will be conducted by the Ministry of Labour’s OSH department.
Minister, Joseph Hamilton, M.P, said that the seminar forms part of his ministry’s vision to increase general awareness, knowledge, and understanding of hazard zones in their respective workplaces. He noted that work-related deaths can no longer be acceptable, therefore, it is time for both employees and employers to embrace safe workplace practices for their benefit.
The seminar, the minister noted, also complies with the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Chapter 99:10.
“Mining [and] logging are some of the activities being done here [Kwakwani] and so we need to do these training because God has been good to you guys in the back dam based on what is happening. We do not pay attention to safety measures in this country, but we have to change that habit,” he implored.
The minister pointed out that since assuming office in August 2020, his ministry has made significant strides to protect workers’ rights and wellbeing, and provide access to services. It has increased the number of labour officers from 16 to 26, and OSH officers from 9 to 30.
Last month, a labour office and training centre were commissioned in the sub-district, as part of efforts to decentralise government services, as well as reduce transportation costs for residents there.
A Board of Industrial Training officer and co-op society officer are stationed at the office, while an OSH officer and a labour officer will be appointed soon.
Earlier this year, the ministry reported that there was a 16 percent reduction in work-related fatalities for 2021 in the mining and construction sectors. This achievement comes after the ministry’s 2020 report revealed 32 workplace fatalities and as such, it led to a rigorous campaign to create a safer workplace countrywide.
Persons benefitted from outreaches and public awareness activities conducted in mining communities in Regions One, Seven, Eight, and Nine.
The progress is also credited to the collaborative effort between the ministry, local businesses and support agencies. (DPI)