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Employers warned on workers' safety

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th April 2013 01:17 PM

The Government will close firms that persistently neglect the health and safety of their workers, state minister for labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana has warned.

Employers warned on workers' safety

The Government will close firms that persistently neglect the health and safety of their workers, state minister for labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana has warned.

By Taddeo Bwambale

The Government will close firms that persistently neglect the health and safety of their workers, state minister for labour, Mwesigwa Rukutana has warned.

He sounded the warning during celebrations in Kampala to mark the World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

The minister was first irked by the low turn up by the public at the CHOGM gardens, where workers, employers and government representatives were meant to convene.

"The turn up is not as would have been expected, yet we continue talking about development, poverty eradication and transformation. With millions of workers, I had expected these gardens to be filled by workers, employers and all players to commemorate this day," he said.

"While I welcome and thank those who have turned up, next time we should be more sensitive to this day that recognises those who die at work places, and calls for action," he stated.

Later, the minister revealed that a recent assessment by the Government had shown that most companies have no basic facilities to guarantee their workers' safety.

"What we discovered was that only a few big companies have reasonable facilities for safety of their workers. Most of the smaller companies have zero compliance with our laws," he said.

He cited the absence of basic safety gear and safety committees at places of work, to handle emergency matters.

"We shall have no choice but to close down or subject such companies to punishment as stipulated by the laws," he said, in an exclusive interview with the New Vision.

Rukutana said the need to comply with safety standards was due to the rising cases of work-related accidents or diseases, precipitated by among several factors, technological advancements.

He advised workers to make use of safety equipment, always be alert and responsible while on duty.

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a worker dies from a work-related accident or disease globally every 15 seconds, translating into 2.3 million deaths annually.

At least 321,000 people die each year from occupational accidents alone, while 160 million non-fatal work-related diseases per year.

Workers' MP, Dr Sam Lyomoki said most workers, including civil servants lack health insurance and knowledge of workplace health and safety.

He appealed to the Government to operationalise the Workers Compensation Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, to guarantee workers' safety and compensation for injury.

 

Employers warned on workers’ safety

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