HARARE, March 26 — A total of 98 people died in workplace accidents IN zIMBABWE LAST YEAR while 5,491 othersS were injured, says acting Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Walter Chidhakwa.

In 2013, the number of injuries were slightly higher at 5,666 with 76 deaths while 2012 witnessed 5,141 injuries and 107 deaths. Cumulatively, Zimbabwe recorded 24,866 occupational injuries and 446 deaths in the last five years, he said here Wednesday.

Speaking at an workshop for engineers on occupational safety and health, Chidhakwa said the Ministry was concerned with employers who did not prioritize workers’ safety. “This inevitably results in workplace accidents, injuries, illnesses and fatalities. We all agree these injuries and fatalities were and still are a burden to families and society as a whole; they were all preventable,” he added.

Chidhakwa said the government would come down hard on employers who fail to comply with safety and health laws that govern their operations. “Some workers, on the other hand, take short-cuts and engage in behaviour which endangers themselves and others. This call for strong denunciation and all possible deterrent action must be taken,” he said.

National Social Security Authority (NSSA) general manager James Matiza said his institution was working to end workplace hazards. “The management and staff of NSSA are implementing various strategies intended to bring to an end the numerous heinous occupational accidents, diseases and fatalities in our factories, agriculture, mines, roads, rail tracks and many other work places,” he said.

“The engineers’ workshop is part of our occupational safety and health promotions strategy. No country on earth needs a bloody economy and so is Zimbabwe,” said Matiza.