South Africa. KwaZulu-Natal Acting Provincial Executive Manager Edward Khambula has urged workers to be more vigilant and report any unsafe working conditions to their nearest Labour centre in order to help prevent future incidents.
He said workers had the right to raise their Health and Safety concerns with Labour inspectors, adding that Labour inspectors relied on the co-operation between employees and employers in the fight to reduce the high rate of workplace accidents and fatalities.
Speaking at the KwaZulu-Natal Workers Parliament in Vryheid on Tuesday, Mr Khambula urged delegates to elect Health and Safety representatives and to form committees to analyse, monitor and report their concerns about Safety conditions at work with their employers.
Inspectors will not hesitate to recommend prosecution, should an employer be found to blatantly disregard the obligation of providing a Healthy and safe working environment to all its employees, he said.
Employers were warned of the Department of Labour’s intension to conduct focused inspections in the high risk sectors which will continue to intensify throughout the year.
According to the Department, the iron and steel, construction, agriculture, food, drink and beverage sectors were identified as sectors with the highest risks when it comes to workplace Health and Safety accidents country-wide.
The department says about 47 percent of reported workplace injuries and fatalities received by the inspectorate of the department are from those sectors.
The Workers Parliament were attended by delegates from both labour union federations COSATU and SACOTU.
The Department emphasised importance of adherence to the Occupational Health and Safety Act which requires employers to bring about and maintain a reasonable practicable work environment that is safe and without possible harm to the health of employees.
Employers found not adhering to Labour laws are fined or given written warnings.
By: Edwin Tshivhidzo