By Winnie Maina | Monday Apr 30, 2018
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work is marked on the 28th of April by ILO to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally. According to the ILO this campaign is intended to raise awareness and to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, diseases and fatalities worldwide. Across the world activities are organized by national authorities, trade unions, employers' organizations and safety and health practitioners to celebrate this date.
Kenya joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Day for Safety and Health at Work, at a conference which was opened by the Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yattani. The Safety Conference was held at the Technology and Development Centre in Athi River, Machakos.
During his opening remarks the CS announced that the government was going to build an occupational health and safety institute in Industrial Area which would cost 408 million. According to Mr. Yattani, The institute, which is one of a kind in the region, will offer training, research and development of specialized skills on occupational safety and health, adding that the curriculum has been drawn up by the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development.
He also noted that the informal sector, which employs a large number of young people, is fraught with occupational hazards.
To help ensure that emerging trends and challenges in occupational health and safety are adequately addressed, The CS said his ministry is reviewing the Occupational Safety and Health Act 2017 and the Work Injury Benefits Act 2007.
The CS said that the government would also draft the Occupational Safety and Health Practitioners’ Bill which would ensure that the Occupational Health and Safety profession sees the light of day when enacted.
In Uganda they celebrated the World Day for Safety and Health at Work with a number of companies and workers’ unions show casing the safety measures that they have put in place at their places of work. The function took place at the CHOGM grounds in Kampala.
The State minister for Gender, Peace Mutuuzo who presided over the function revealed that the government is in the process of revising the regulatory framework on safety and health at work to align it with the current situations in the world of work.
According to Mutuuzo, A National Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) profile is in place and has guided formulation of the draft National OSH Policy, after which, a national OSH programme will be formulated; all this is geared towards creating an enabling environment for enterprise development and competitiveness.
The Minister noted that the country was short of figures of occupational accidents and diseases mainly because of poor reporting on the part of duty holders, where by the poorest, least protected, least informed and least trained workers face the highest risks of which most are women, children and people with disabilities.
Several companies and organization including NWSC, UMEME, Cocacola, Eskom and UNATU among others were applauded for their initiatives in making workplaces safer.
Herbert Kanyali UMEME Head of Safety said that the world day for safety and health at work must serve as a wake-up call, highlighting that many work place accidents are entirely preventable through the use of tried and tested practices and adherence to standards.
“This day is very important for us because we have workers who we must ensure that they are safe; we work with a very dangerous product which is electricity and we must be very careful with the lives of our workers as well,” Kanyali said.
He emphasized that they make sure that all our workers have equipment such as, helmets, safety jackets, shoes, overall, fall-arrest harness to ensure they don’t fall off while climbing, bucket elevators to reach high heights among others.