Posted on: May 13, 2009 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

South Africa. The attitude of South African employers towards Health and Safety in the workplace is worrying, Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana said on Friday.

While attending a national commemorative event for Health and Safety in the workplace in Bloemfontein, Mdladlana said he was getting tired of always talking about worker safety.

“I am one of those who [is] getting tired of talking and talking and talking to people… who do not want to listen, who do not want to prioritise the safety of workers.”

Mdladlana said that he can not understand why South African employers, in particular, did not ensure their workers were safe.

“South Africans are taking Health and Safety quiet easily.”

He said something “dramatic and extraordinary” had to happen to address the situation.

The chief inspector of Occupational Health and Safety, for example, should be more visible and do more inspections, he said. Mdladlana also suggested the Department of Justice should play a role. “We must just prosecute, prosecute and prosecute,” he said.

Mdladlana said last year more than 300 workers had died at their workplaces.

Friday’s event in Bloemfontein was a joint initiative by the Department of Labour, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), organised labour and business.

The ILO estimates that each year two million people die from workplace accidents globally.