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At least 1 507 people were injured while 34 died in the period from January to March 2014 through work related accidents.

There were 33 deaths and 1 446 injuries during the same year ago period. ZCTU president Mr George Nkiwane said the figures were not anything to smile about. “ZCTU is worried about the statistics of occupational injuries and fatalities at the work place. Already the period January to March has recorded a total of 1 507 occupational injuries and 34 fatalities,” he said.

He said there was need to come up with strategies towards the reduction or total eradication of workplace accidents.

According to statistics from NSSA, the last five years have showed a consistent rise in the number of occupational deaths, injuries and diseases. In 2008, 3 810 serious injuries and 65 deaths were recorded and in 2013 the number of serious injuries at work escalated to 5 141 serious injuries, 107 of which resulted in deaths.

Speaking at commemorations to mark World Safety Day, Mr Nkiwane also denounced proposed labour market flexibility and productivity linked wages. He said in essence the concept will contribute to an increase in the number of work related accidents and deaths as well as stress related illness in trying to reach good targets.

“We all need to reject the proposed policy forthwith and call on the Government to engage Labour over alternatives,” he said.

Cabinet agreed on amending the Labour Act Chapter 28:01 to deal with constraints in retrenchments, terminal benefits, downsizing, working hours and arbitral awards system after the realisation that the economy was operating on high costs and low productivity factors which had repercussions on its competitiveness.

However, the issue has been received with different ideologies and views. Mr Nkiwane said currently workers need PDL linked wages which would be work until the country gets its production processes to the levels that are internationally acceptable.

Source : The Herald