smoke worker abuse.jpgIn a clear case of workers rights’ violation and blatant disregard for occupational health and safety regulations, staff at a local company owned by Pakistan investors are being subjected to dangerous working conditions where they are being exposed to toxic substances without the necessary protection.



A thick blanket-like cloud of smoke is what welcomes every visitor to the Steel World premises in the Willowvale area.


To an on-looker the primary concern is the heavy air pollution, but getting closer one finds workers operating in the thick of the cloud of toxic gas without any protective equipment like face masks and helmets. 


Workers at the steel-manufacturing company say that they have been subjected to these inhuman conditions for a long time.


They say management has been promising them protective equipment, but nothing has been forthcoming.


“We do not have the necessary protective cloth and we fear for our health,” said one worker.


Others said they are worried of contracting lung diseases due to continuous exposure to toxic gases.


Said another employee: “We are worried that if we are continuously exposed to these gases we will die.”


The company’s Director, Mr. Rana Akbar who was not prepared to speak on camera assured the ZBC News crew that he will address the issue of protective equipment.


worker abuse shoess.jpgHe said: “We will sort this out. It’s a small issue, we will buy. If you come tomorrow they will be there. There is a container that is stuck in South Africa, but there is nothing we can do we will buy.”


Meanwhile, the Environmental Management Agency’s Education and Publicity Manager, Mr. Steady Kangata said such activities in which industries emit dangerous gases which affect the ozone layer should be stopped.


“What we urge them to do is to try and reduce the levels of emission from their activities. Failure to do that, we as the Environmental Management Agency will certainly evoke Section 115 where we come in with an order for them to cease operations,” Kangata said.


Although the country is on a major drive to attract investors, analysts believe those given the go ahead to invest must respect the laws of the country and uphold the rights of workers.

Occupational accidents do not only lead to loss of human resources but also affect workers physically and mentally.


It becomes mandatory therefore that employers make health and safety issues core operational requirements for their companies.