“Zambia Launches Workplace Safety Plan”

… Chibwa says the umvailed 2022-2026 Occupational Health and Safety Institute Strategic Plan will Reduce Occupational Injuries and Diseases, Foster a More Productive Workforce

By Francis Maingaila

Lusaka, Zambia24 – (11-07-2024) – The Zambia has officially launched the Occupational Health and Safety Institute’s Strategic Plan for 2022-2026, marking a significant step towards enhancing workplace safety and promoting sustainable economic growth.

Grace Kasese Chibwa, Board Chairperson of the Occupational Health and Safety Institute (OHSI), who unveiled the 2022-2026 Strategic Plan today said initiative aligns with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security’s functions, National Vision 2030, and the 8th National Development Plan.

Chibwa noted that the new plan succeeds the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and its 2021 extension, with a primary goal to reduce occupational injuries and diseases, thereby fostering a more productive workforce.

“The launch of this Strategic Plan marks a significant milestone in our journey towards creating a safe and healthy work environment for all,” Chibwa stated.

“We are committed to providing strategic leadership and collaborating with management for the effective implementation of this plan.”

She said the strategic plan’s development was a collaborative effort, involving extensive stakeholder consultations.

“It was guided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Management Development Division from Cabinet Office ” she stated.

According to Chibwa the document outlines the vision, mission, core values, and seven strategic objectives, all emphasizing the importance of a healthy workforce for productivity across various sectors.

“A healthy workforce is crucial for productivity across sectors, and we are committed to ensuring that our workforce is safe and healthy,” Chibwa emphasized.

Despite these commitments, Chibwa acknowledged several challenges, including the lack of comprehensive OHS regulations, inadequate transport, and limited resources.

She urged for the amendment of the Occupational Health and Safety Act No. 36 of 2010 and the enactment of robust OHS regulations to address these issues.

The board pledged to provide oversight and guidance to elevate OHSI as a regional Center of Excellence in occupational health and safety.

“We are dedicated to providing the necessary oversight and guidance to ensure that this Institute becomes a regional Center of Excellence in OHS,” Chibwa concluded.

“This strategic plan aims to set a new standard in occupational health and safety, fostering a safer and more productive working environment in Zambia,” she suggested.

Brenda Mwika Tambatamba, Minister of Labour and Social Security, who presided over the launch, highlighted the plan’s focus on innovation, collaboration, and inclusivity.

“The Strategic Plan aims to position the Occupational Health and Safety Institute as a leader in workplace safety across Southern Africa, ensuring every Zambian worker operates in environments that prioritize their health and well-being.

According to Tambatamba, Key components include empowering workers with tailored occupational health and safety services to mitigate risks and enhance workplace efficiency, ensuring compliance with international labor standards, and strengthening Zambia’s position as a regional leader in safety practices.

She said the plan addresses the specific needs of key economic sectors such as mining, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, and construction through sector-specific strategies designed to tackle unique challenges and opportunities, fostering job creation and sustainable economic development.

“Efforts to enhance Zambia’s legislative and regulatory framework for occupational health and safety are also underway,” she indicated.

She disclosed that planned amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Act aim to align protections for workers with global standards and ensure comprehensive coverage across all industries.

Tambatamba expressed gratitude to international partners, including the World Bank, Global Fund, and International Labour Organization, for their support in strengthening institutional capacity and infrastructure, thereby expanding the impact of occupational health and safety initiatives nationwide.

As Zambia embarks on this transformative journey, Tambatamba called on all stakeholders—government entities, private sector players, civil society organizations, and workers—to actively participate in implementing the Strategic Plan.

“This collective commitment is essential to fostering a culture of safety, preserving dignity in the workplace, and securing a prosperous future for all Zambians,” she emphasized.

Peneyambeko Alina Munkawa, ILO OSH Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa, has reaffirmed the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) support for Zambia’s efforts to advance decent work and social justice through international labor standards.

Munkawa stated, “Fostering collaboration is key to setting new benchmarks in workplace safety, paving the way for a prosperous and secure future.”

“Zambia has made significant strides in bolstering occupational safety and health (OSH) standards,” explained Munkwa.

She said the Occupational Health and Safety Institute (OHSI) enforces compliance mechanisms and facilitates critical conventions like the Convention on Occupational Health Services (No. 161 of 1985).

Additionally, Munkwa said Zambia has adopted a comprehensive national OSH policy and strategic roadmap, swiftly integrating international best practices.

“This includes ILO’s Convention (C190) on violence and harassment elimination and intensified social dialogue to enhance preventive OSH measures,” she stated

Munkawa emphasized that Zambia has designated OSH conventions (C155 and C187) as fundamental rights.

According to Munkwa, the OHSI strategy aims to strengthen national policies, improve regulatory coordination, and expand access to occupational health services and training.

“These initiatives particularly support SMEs and informal sectors, ensuring higher OSH standards for sustainable economic growth,” ahead indicated.

“By strategically positioning itself in Southern Africa, Zambia aligns with the Global OSH Strategy and prepares for future challenges, including emerging biological hazards,” Munkawa added.

“These efforts not only safeguard worker well-being but also support economic development goals by improving workplace conditions.”

She said Zambia’s commitment to advancing decent work and social justice through international labor standards marks a significant step forward in creating a safe and healthy work environment.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has thrown its weight behind the newly implemented safety measures as a step towards ensuring the welfare of workers across the nation.

Joseph Chewe, representing the ZCTU, acknowledged the initial skepticism surrounding the new measures but noted a significant shift in public opinion.

“It was initially negative, but people started listening. Indeed, it has led to progress,” he said.

Chewe emphasized the importance of building key resources as a foundation for success, particularly in the working environment where testing and safety are vital.

“Understanding the importance of the institute and scrolling through the ministers’ history is essential. These ministries are significant. Without them, progress halts. Without health, potential is stifled,” he added.

Chewe pointed out that Zambia produced three million tons of produce, aligning with President Hakainde Hichilema’s ambitious program for the country.

“We appreciate the president’s principle and support through this journey. We aim to pass these principles through the personnel to ensure their effectiveness.”

Chewe also noted the role of Domingo, who oversees the championship for the Institute, in advocating for funding to support businesses.

He assured that Dr. Grace Kasese Chibwa, Board Chairperson of the Occupational Health and Safety Institute (OHSI), has affirmed her commitment to effectively care for the workers.

Chewe stressed the need for consistent and collaborative efforts to protect everyone in the country.

“We are ready to collaborate with the Institute to give workers a voice and support their needs. This support will reinforce the importance of the protein initiative.”

Chewe concluded with a call for ongoing dialogue and efforts to enhance the nation’s productivity.

“Supporting these efforts will help achieve financial and social goals. We will continue to discuss and improve the country’s productivity.

“Ministers, thank you. Our doors remain open. We are committed to engaging in property management and starting functions that protect workers in this country.”

He said the ZCTU remains dedicated to advancing the interests and welfare of workers, ensuring that safety and health remain top priorities in the nation’s development agenda.

Add a Comment

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com