who.jpgZimbabwe on Thursday joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World Day for Safety and Health at Work with the local commemorations held under the theme, “A Safe and Healthy Workplace: Making Decent Work a reality.”

Scores of employees and employers gathered in Harare to mark day which is dedicated to remembering those who have died due to work related injuries and diseases.

Officiating at this year’s event, the Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Services, Dr. Tracy Mutinhiri, hailed government, employers and employees for their commitment to promoting and spearheading safe and healthy work places which contribute to saving lives.

“I wish to commend all the social partners gathered here today as we mark this important day, promoting and advocating for safe and healthy workplaces which in turn contribute immensely to the Decent Work programme,” she said.

Dr. Mutinhiri further implored stakeholders to work together to reduce the impact of HV and AIDS on the workplace.

She said, “May accurate steps and programmes be instituted in the workplace to control the epidemic. We need to retain our labour force and use their skills and professions to drive Zimbabwe forward economically and socially.”

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Deputy Director for Zimbabwe, Mr Alphonse Tabi-abodo, about 337 million people are victims of work accidents and more than 2.3 million people die annually due to occupational injuries or work related diseases.

Mr Tabi-abodo underscored the need for all concerned to use effective dialogue in maintaining occupational Safety and Health Management systems which will reduce occupational accidents and diseases.

“Building a successful and strong preventive safety and health culture depends on a strong commitment, collaboration and concerted action by governments, employers and workers and all stakeholders – it cannot be the sole preserve of experts.

“Occupational Safety and Health Management Systems cannot function properly without the existence of effective dialogue, whether in the context of joint safety and health committees, or other mechanisms such as collective bargaining arrangements,” he added.

In 2009, 3122 work-related injuries were recorded in Zimbabwe, rising to 4410 last year.

1 159 accidents have been so far recorded this year and should this trend continue  the number of injuries  will surpass the  figure recorded last year.