‘Safe working environment coming’

THE Ministry of Labour and Social Security has partnered with the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) to ensure that employers in the country adhered to provision of safety working conditions for their employees.

And Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda has called for the development of a national Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) system in the country that would counter emerging risks arising from a changing world of working environment.

On Tuesday, Mr Shamenda officiated at Zesco Limited’s launch of the Safety, Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ) management system as the company joined the rest of the world in commemorating the World day for safety and Health at work yesterday.

In a speech read on his behalf by his deputy Alfredah Kansembe, Mr Shamenda said that his Ministry was committed to raising awareness among workers for the betterment of their conditions.

Mr Shamenda, who made a surprise stop over at the launch at Zesco’s Malambo road but still allowed his deputy to read his speech urged other companies to emulate Zesco by providing their employees with proper safety measures.

‘’It is for this reason that Government through my ministry  has partnered with the ZABS to see to it that workers are provided with safety equipment at all times at their work places. We want other companies to emulate Zesco and ensure that they adhere to provision of safe working conditions for employees,’’ he said.

Mr Shamenda called on employers in the country to adopt a safety measure for their employees and not wait for compliance rules all the time because that had the effect of endangering the lives of workers.

He said it was unfortunate to lose lives as a result of lacking safety measures at any place of work.

‘’Families should not lose breadwinners due to a death caused by lack of safety kits and be left stranded when something can be done to avert that,’’ Mr Shamenda said.

Speaking at the same launch Zesco acting managing director Victor Mundende reassured the company’s commitment to provision of a safety environment at their places of work.

He said this in a speech read on his behalf by director of distribution Muntungwa Mungala.

The SHEQ management system hopes to achieve zero harm to employees, customers and environment as well as ensuring a reliable and safe supply of electricity.

Meanwhile, Mr Shamenda said the increasing use of information technology, radioactive particles, chemicals coupled with the changing relationship patterns had necessitated the need for the development of the occupational hazards and safety by companies.

He said Government was deeply concerned with the increasing risks associated with the modern working environment and would like employers to come up with tools that would promote the reduction of risks and hazards in a working environment.

Mr Shamenda said a well-developed Occupational Hazards and Safety system had the potential to increase production in any enterprise and it was therefore for the benefit of both the worker and the employer to ensure that a conducive working environment was created.

He said this yesterday when he announced the collaboration between Government and the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) at the Zambian Breweries to mark the International World of Safety and Health at Work day.

Mr Shamenda said building and maintaining a prevantive safety and health culture demanded the use of all available means to increase general awareness, knowledge and understanding.

Mr Shamenda said there was need to build cooperation among stakeholders in order for workers to secure a safe and healthy working environment.

And Zambian Breweries Group human resources director Nyangu Kayamba said her company was dedicated to improving the working environment for its employees so as to increase production.

Ms Kayamba said Zambian Breweries had invested in training and awareness programmes particularly that the beer brewing company had ploughed a lot of resources in its plant infrastructure with the aim of reducing minor injuries occurrences.

She said Zambian Breweries was committed to fairness, equality and the promotion of human rights at the place of work adding that the company had placed a lot of emphasis on gender equality with the numbers of female executives increasing at each level.

“With renewed vigour, the Zambian Breweries continued to prove itself as a long-term partner of the Government with the rolling out of its massive capital investment such as the US$100 million newly opened state-of-the-art plant in Ndola. The Chibuku plant is currently under construction at the National Breweries in Lusaka at the cost of US$29 million as well as the Malting plant in the Lusaka South-Multi-Facility Economic Zone at US$32 million,” Ms Kayamba said.