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Workers’ safety comes first

IT is very alarming to learn that the world is recording 2.7 million deaths every year despite the International Labour Organisation(ILO) setting the principle that workers must be protected from sickness, disease and injury arising from their employment.
There is, therefore, need to put in measures that protect workers in their various work places because every human deserves a safe working environment.
Getting up everyday to go for work should not be a risky undertaking if everything was done to ensure the safety of workers.
That is why it is gratifying to hear Vice-President Mutale Nalumango say the government will always side with workers as human capital is critical.
Speaking yesterday during the 2023 International Vision Zero conference in Livingstone, Ms Nalumango said the Government had enacted various pieces of legislation to provide for the safety and health of workers in all sectors.
It could not have been said in a better way when she called for a new mindset that accepted no fatalities, injuries and disease at workplaces to protect the poorest and least informed workers who continued to face the highest risks in terms of employment related accidents.
She said Zambia had demonstrated, through cooperation and dialogue, that it was possible to create safe and healthy workplaces by embracing the Vision Zero campaign.
It is good to note that the government is committed to delivering a vibrant social security system that protects citizens against poverty and destitution arising from employment-related injuries, diseases and deaths.
Mrs Nalumango said the global community had made significant strides in finding solutions to vulnerabilities on issues of occupational, safety and health.
In this vein, Zambia has done well by being among several other countries across the world that have committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for citizens in employment through development of policies and enactment of legislation that encourage protection of workers.
Like Mrs Nalumango put it, Zambia’s commitment to the protection of workers is founded on the Constitution where, in Part Three, protection of fundamental rights and freedoms.
Governments worldwide must continue ensuring that they have a purpose in the support of employers to continuously improve the safety and health conditions in their enterprises in line with the Vision Zero campaign
This is what International Social Security Association(ISSA) president Karl Heinz is calling for as it is essential to ensure that workers continue to conduct their work in a safe environment.
Indeed, as Professor Heinz rightly emphasised, improving safety and health at workplaces not only has a positive impact on working conditions but also on productivity, economic and social development.
To quote Minister of Labour and Social Security Brenda Tambatamba, every worker must have an aspiration and rewarding life during the course of work and a happy life in retirement.
The Zambian government should, therefore, keep its commitment of ensuring that all the workers in the country work in a safe environment because.