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At least 11 people have died while 1 420 others have been seriously injured in accidents at workplaces throughout the country, a cabinet Minister said on Friday.Speaking at belated commemorations for World Day for Safety and Health in the capital, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira said 13 cases of pneumoconiosis had also been recorded this year, as deaths and injuries at workplaces in the country continued to rise due to ignorance of accident preventive measures and negligence by employers.

Minister Mupfumira said despite intensive enforcement and awareness campaigns by regulatory authorities, the incidences were too high for a small economy.

“A review of the safety and health national performance in the last five years reveals that in 2010 there were 90 deaths and 4 410 serious injuries while 2011 recorded 4 111 serious injuries and 75 deaths,” she said.

“In 2012 at least 5 141 serious injuries and 107 deaths were recorded while 2013 recorded 5 666 serious injuries and 76 deaths.

Speaking at the same event ILO country director Hopolang Phororo said four per cent of the global gross domestic product which was equivalent to $2.8 trillion was drained annually by costs related to occupational injuries, diseases and deaths. Phororo said occupational injuries and deaths in Zimbabwe increased during 2008 to 2013 with more than 400 workers losing their lives and 25 000 others suffering injuries.

Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (EMCoZ) president Jack Murehwa said there was need to significantly cut the cost of production to promote competitiveness and resuscitate the economy. According to figures that ILO released, over 860 000 workers suffer non-fatal occupational accidents and an average of 6 400 people die from occupational diseases and accidents each day. Zimbabwe has so far ratified six Conventions on occupational safety and health. The commemorations ran under the theme “Join in building a culture of prevention on occupational safety health”.

Source : The Herald

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