Every April 28, Tanzania joins the rest of the world in marking World Day for Safety and Health at Work.
It is an awareness-raising global campaign intended to focus international attention on emerging trends in the field of occupational safety and health and on the magnitude of work-related injuries, disease and fatalities worldwide.
World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a reflection of International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers that was initially observed 1996.
The commemoration was initiated by World Federation of Trade Unions (WTFU) funded by The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).
In 2003, International Labor Organization (ILO) became officially involved in the commemoration upon a request from World Federation of Trade Unions (WTFU).
Since then, ILO has been observing World Day for Safety and Health at Work capitalizing on its traditional strengths of social dialogue and tripartism.
Under ILO observance mandate, 28 April is seen as day to raise international awareness on occupational safety and health among trade unions, employers’ organizations and government.
ILO acknowledges the shared responsibility of key stakeholders and encourage them to promote preventive safety and health culture to fulfil their obligations and responsibilities for preventing deaths, injuries and diseases at workplace allowing workers to return home safely at the end of working day.
In Tanzania, this day was first observed in 2004 and since then, it has been a round-clock culture to annually observe this day and hopefully this year’s celebration the 16th.
As proximity matters, the commemoration has been hosted across the country carrying distinguished thoughtful themes.
Below are some of the regions that have hosted World Day for Safety and Health at Work: -
Dar es Salaam (2004, 2005, 2012, 2013 na 2014), Arusha (2006), Mwanza (2007), Mbeya (2008 na 2019), Dodoma (2009, 2015 na 2016), Morogoro (2010), Ruvuma (2011), Kilimanjaro (2017), Iringa (2018).
ILO prepares theme that leads annual global commemoration respectively. This year’s theme is; Safety and Health and the future of work.
In an effort to connect between annual global commemoration theme with subjects of contextual reality and our ambitious industrialized and mid-sized economy policy, a theme has been revisited and shaped into;“Safety and Health and the future of work towards industrial economy”.
The theme goes in line with ILO’s 100th Centenary on improving safety and health at workplace globally.
Furthermore, an existence of ILO challenges key players specifically on how to unceasingly carrying out these crusades in the near future through technology together with other current issues of Sustainable Development and Climate change.
A national commemoration is organized by Government through Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA).
Every year, Government works closely with Trade Union Congress of Tanzania (TUCTA), Association of Tanzania Employers (ATE) under its renown tripartism, in organizing celebration through undertaking range of activities including mass awareness on safety and health at work issues by using media and convene common forums integrating employees, employers and general public.
Other activities are organized include occupational safety and health training programs for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) who are always subjects of exclusion within a formal system, conducting occupational safety and health demonstration and accreditation of excellence in improving occupational safety and health at workplaces.
A statement issued by OSHA Acting Managing Director, Khadija Mwenda clarifies how the organization has prepared to observe Safety and Health at Work particularly this year.
Mbeya is expected to host this year’s national commemoration under the theme;Safety and Health and the future of work towards industrial economy.
Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) has prepared to do various of activities ahead of this day:-
Occupational Safety and Health Awards
OSHA introduced Occupational Safety and Health awards in the honor of organizations’ excellence in adhering to The Occupational Safety and Health Act no.5 of 2003.
Details of the contest and participation qualifications were announced publicly across different media outlets and published on official websites of OSHA and its core partners.
Interested and qualified candidates submitted their applications. Luckily around 30 candidates participated at the award.
Awards of this particular contest to be honored at the climax of World Day for Safety and Health at Work annual commemoration dated on 28 April, 2019 and Chief Guest is expected to be Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled), Hon.Jenista Mhagama.
Occupational Safety and Health Exhibition
In line with this day’s celebration, OSHA prepares Occupational Safety and Health exhibition at workplace with focus of bringing together key players in showcasing varieties of occupational safety systems applied at their workplace that is likely to promote safety and health of workers.
More than 40 candidates have confirmed their participation on the event.
Exhibition that is hosted by Mbeya City’s garden grounds near Sokoine Stadium, will guarantee experience sharing among sector’s key players and find the best possible means to protect workers’ safety and health at work.
Occupational Safety and Health training programs to SME’s
The training programs targeted the Regions of Iringa, Mbeya, Njombe, Songwe and Katavi.
Training expects to engage great deal of small-scale miners, farmers, forest and timber practitioners and a group of technical persons across all facets who will be equipped with vast knowledge and necessary facilities on how to protect themselves at work.
Occupational Safety and Health Symtosium
The other initiative, is host of Occupational Safety and Health forum. The symtosium is based on employers or workplace owners with an intent of bringing them together discussing about promoting safety and health at work.
This particular symtosium goes hand in hand with a launch of Injuries and Disease Preventive Campaign at work dubbed Vision Zero with an objective of encouraging owners to entrench a self-regulating system to improve safety and health at work. Almost 100 owners are expected to attend to the forum.
Government has taken advantage of this year commemoration to remind employers, employees and general public of the significance and best approaches of promoting safety and health at work. Government has been providing incentives to law-abiding employers (The Occupational Safety and Health Act no.5 of 2003) of special award. The accolade is given in honor of their valuable contribution in compliance to laws and act as an idol to others.
Government has also been using the event to increase awareness of people towards safety and health through series of educative campaigns aired across media outlets, forums and training programs provided to diverse Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) groups.
The milestone reached has been dynamics to the steady adoption of quality systems, policies, strategies and occupational safety and health of workers promoting programs. A manifestation of reduced occupational injuries and disease.
With an increased impetus at commemoration, number of organizations have established safety and health basic services to their workers, for instance; screening of workers, diagnosing risk factors at workplace together with safety and health training programs.
OSHA promotes safety and health at work
OSHA is an abbreviation to Occupational Safety and Health Authority, a Government Agency established under Prime Minister’s Office (Policy, Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment, Youth and Disabled) on 31st August, 2001 under Government Executive Agencies Act No.30 of 1997 as improvement part of public services.
The agency has mandate to reinforce implementation ofOccupational Safety and Health Act no.5 of 2003.
Before the establishment of this agency, occupational safety and health regulation was under the Factory Inspectorate Unit which for its well-known limited legal scope, couldn’t meet occupational safety and health regulation needs. The unit discharged its duties according to Factory Ordinance Act, of 1950 which focused only on occupational safety and deserted health issues.
The regulation couldn’t even comply to international standards set by ILO demanding member countries to introduce a National Occupational Safety and Health Regulatory Authority.
Primary objective of OSHA, was to establish a government agency with mandate to maintain and regulate safety and health at workplaces in mainland, from which regulation would add value and productivity, hence growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In consonance with explanation of OSHA Public Relation Officer, Eleuter Mbilinyi the agency is discharging its duties according to the Occupational Safety and Health Act no.5 of 2003.
Provide for protection of persons other than persons at work against hazards to health and safety arising out of or in connection with activities of persons at work and to provide for connected matters, agency created its Safety and Health Directorate in the workplace which is divided into two parts; Safety and Health.
The work done by these areas is aimed at improving working conditions for workers especially in the workplace security inspection and screening services.
Safety services at work
This service deals with the management of all systems set in the workplace for the protection of workers against accidents and work-related diseases. The systems described here are viewed as national standards based on the Labor Organization (WHO-OSH 2001) standards.
In addition, the Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 2003 emphasizes the employer's and employee's responsibility to ensure that the workplace is safe in the sense of having a system that prevents accidents or occupational diseases.
Here OSHA has been performing number of inspection activities as following: -
General inspection, plant inspection, Inspection of work environment standards (Industrial Hygine Survey), Ergonomics inspection, accident inspection, medical inspection and occupational safety and health training programs.
In conclusion, OSHA would like to invite all stakeholders and all Tanzanians to participate fully in this year's national event in Mbeya. It also invites them to reflect on the theme that calls for the assessment of the state of Safety and Health as we try to create a picture of what will be in the next period based on the technological changes that the world is experiencing.