32 died at work this year


THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) yesterday revealed that more than 1 440 occupational accidents occurred in Zimbabwe during the first quarter of this year with 32 of them being fatal.


Speaking during the World Day for Decent Work commemorations organised by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) in Bulawayo, a NSSA official Lazarus Mawote said the world over 2,2 million people die each year from work-related diseases which correspond to a daily average of more than 5 500 deaths.

Mawote said was an unacceptable decent work deficit.
He also said it that 321 000 people die every year from occupational accidents, while there are 160 million non-fatal work-related diseases and 3,7 million non-fatal occupational accidents per year.

“In Zimbabwe statistics of accidents show that in 2011, there were 4 158 injuries and 75 fatalities recorded,” Mawote said.
“In 2012, there were 5 141 serious injuries while 107 workers died. The first quarter of this year saw 1 447 serious injuries and 32 fatalities,” Mawote said.

“The sad part of the scenario is that these statistics only reflect injuries and illness that occurred in the formal economic sector where employers and workers make efforts to report to NSSA.

“Therefore it is likely that statistics are higher than this when the informal sector is considered.”
Mawote said the human cost is obvious where the ultimate cost is life and NSSA was aware of certain jobs which were associated
with high risks of premature deaths.

He said such incidents could not be the basis for growth, development or a sustainable enterprise strategy. World Day for Decent Work commemorations was first marked in Zimbabwe in 2007 and is celebrated every year on October 7.

ZCTU president George Nkiwane said the umbrella labour body was taking stock of decent work achievements, intensifying campaigns on law reforms and lobbying for the need to protect and safeguard the existing democratic frameworks.

In a speech read on his behalf by ZCTU first vice-president Sithokozile Siwela, Nkiwane said: “The commemorations also highlight the workers’ rights denial, poor quality employment, unsafe working conditions and lack of income security.
“As labour, we will continue to call for poverty datum line-linked minimum wages as a starting point.”
Nkiwane also said unemployment is hovering at around 90%.
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  1. Mr Nkiwane and ZCTU are you aware that NSSA is contributing to the 90% unemployment rate you are mourning about by insisting that one must turn 60 years of age before they release pension benefits.My employer allows staff to opt for retirement once they turn 55, creating room the advancement or employment for younger people.Releasing pension benefits to those opting to retire early would enable retirees to embark on projects that would open job opportunities for the unemployed.Is NSSA not aware that life expectancy in Zimbabwe has gone down to about 37 years?Or is it their way of keeping payments to a minimum as few beneficiaries are unlikely to live much beyond 60?

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