Data released by the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) shows that most accidents occurring at workplaces are caused by human error, with inadequate supervision by management being the chief culprit.
According to the authority, 88% of accidents at workplaces are attributed to human error, with six percent stemming from machines and their layout, and 4% to environmental factors such as wet conditions, dust, heat, and poor visibility and the remainder to inevitable/natural causes.
While employers are expected to adhere to health and safety standards prescribed by the authority and various laws and regulations on such issues, workers too have a duty to be occupational safety and health compliant by making use of the supplied safety tools and in the correct way.
A former employee, who spent 16 years at one of the leading chemical manufacturing firm in Harare (ZIMPHOS), said it is important for managers and supervisors to inspect work premises and machinery regularly, so that no deviation from normal operation may escape notice. “Safety meetings should be carried out regularly where the Chief Safety Officer addresses managers, workers, or their representatives on safety matters,” said the former employee who preferred anonymity. He added that employees should not be shifted unnecessarily from one department to the other where they might not have enough knowledge on the department’s operations and safety requirements without proper induction and training.
He also stressed the importance of job cards explaining any mechanical faults on machinery for correction by specialists, and discouraged user servicing. He added that signage indicating hazards should always be in place.
The former long serving employee, cited negligence by some workers and managers as the major cause of accidents at workplaces. “Sometimes, employees put their lives and those of colleagues at risk by overlooking the need for safety tools, improper handling of tools and the use of wrong tools for a job,” he added.
Figures by the authority have shown that the year 2010 recorded 4,410 serious work-related injuries with 90 deaths. 2011 recorded 4,158 injuries and 75 fatal. The year 2012 recorded a very sharp increase with 5,141 serious injuries and 103 deaths. The period between January to September 2014 recorded a drop with 3,598 injuries and 71 deaths compared to 2013’s 5,141 injuries and 107 deaths respectively. The transport sector topped the list with mining, manufacturing and agriculture following.
Source (Weekly updates by NSSA)