Observe safe, healthy environment for employees, urges Labour  CS 

CS CHELUGUI HEALTHY

Labour and Social Protection Cabinet Secretary Simon Chelugui has urged employers in workplaces to continue observing a safe and healthy environment for their employees as the country continues to battle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chelugui warned of increased cases of workplace disasters should employers cut spending on occupational safety and health in the wake of the financial crisis caused by the disease.

The Cabinet Secretary said consequences of slashing allocation of funding to occupational safety and health which constitutes between 10-15 percent of most firms’ budgets could be seriously felt in the labour market in the future.

He was speaking in Nakuru during a conference on good practises on prevention and occupational safety and health management, labour inspection, sustainable corporate action, the implementation of standards, the role of the social partners and social security.

While noting that levels of safety in workplaces in the country had deteriorated, the Cabinet Secretary indicated that in Nakuru County Kshs 18 million had been paid out as workmen’s compensation to employees who had been injured at workplaces since January.

Chelugui indicated that workers in the public and private sectors hold the future of the country’s economy adding that without sound safety and health systems in place, none of the sectors can thrive.

“Most organisations view safety and health as an expense because the return on investment is not felt immediately. However, the motivation workers get by working in a safe environment results to increased productivity and reduced man-hour loss,” he noted

The economic sense of investing in occupational safety and health management, the Cabinet Secretary pointed out includes reduced long-term health care and insurance premiums, reduced morbidity, mortality and fatality and reduced litigation.

Following its elevation to a city and its new industrial status, Nakuru observed Mr Chelugui should brace for workplace occupational safety and health challenges following an influx of job seekers and investors into the county.

He added “The future of this nation is a healthy workforce that is free from preventable conditions. Each employer is legally bound to protect the workforce from injuries, illness and fatality. Business entities must ensure that they uphold their employees’ safety and health at the workplace and must always ensure that they are within the law to avoid potential litigation stemming from non-observance of the law,”

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) indicates that there are around 340 million occupational accidents and 160 million victims of work-related illnesses annually.

An estimated 2 million people around the world succumb to work-related accidents or diseases every year.

This means that there are 6000 deaths or more every single day around the world.

Chelugui directed labour inspectors and occupational safety officers to ensure that all the persons involved in work receive appropriate instructions regarding safety and health risks including emergency procedures during their activities at the workplace and actions to be taken in case of an emergency from their employers.

“Employees are stakeholders of a business and guaranteeing their safety further enhances the image of the firm. Under the law, every workplace with more than 500 workers shall be required to have a first Aid room or clinic managed by a nurse, clinical officer or a doctor. it is the responsibility of an employer to provide free protective equipment including clothing and appliances, and where necessary, suitable gloves, footwear, goggles and head coverings to the workers involved in hazardous work,” affirmed the CS.

In some industries such as construction, mining, manufacturing and security services, Mr Chelugui observed there is a higher need for the employer to ensure safety of the employees due to the nature of work and hazards found in the work environment.

“Some big projects are being undertaken without safety concerns. This is against the law and makes projects incur unnecessary high extra costs. Workplace safety should be an important aspect of our organisational culture,” the CS pointed out

  

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