Central Province Minister Sydney Mushanga says financial stress remains a major contributor to occupational health challenges and work-related deaths.

Speaking when he officially launched the “Agriculture Sector Vision Zero” global campaign, an initiative aimed at preventing and reducing workplace accidents and promoting health among employees, Mushanga bemoaned the worryingly high number of deaths during work-related activities.

“Government attaches great importance to this launch, as observed that human and financial stress remain major contributors to occupational health, with figures showing that about 2.8 million deaths and 394 accidents take place during employment-related activities,” Mushanga said in Mkushi, Thursday.

He said government was committed to providing better provisions for workers as exemplified by the enactment of the Occupational Health Act Number 36 of 2010, which sought to ensure that workers operated within safe and healthy standards.

Mushanga also called on farm owners to ensure that no life was lost on the job and to embrace a belief that all occupational accidents and diseases were preventable.

And Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFB) chief executive officer Elizabeth Nkumbula said the agricultural sector had not been spared by occupational accidents and diseases owing to its large involvement in mechanical and technical developments that could cause fatalities and diseases among workers.

Dr Nkumbula, therefore, called on farmers across the country to embrace the “Vision Zero campaign.”

“At Workers’ Compensation, we believe that all forms of accidents and diseases at work places could be prevented if we created the right environment and set a good working culture,” Dr Nkumbula noted.

She further added that the launch of the “Agricultural Sector Vision Zero” campaign marked a milestone for the WCFB as it hoped to attract farming enterprises to come on board and embrace better working conditions for employees.

Among the farmers represented was Agri Options human resources manager Boniface Mwanakombo, who called on the WCFB to consider embarking on periodic inspections on farms.

He further urged the Board to increase sensitisation of its customers on the benefits of promoting safety and healthy working environments.

In December, 2018, the WCFB joined the rest of the world in launching the “Vision Zero Campaign” whose objectives are to prevent or reduce cases of occupational accidents and diseases by 2030.

The campaign was launched with plans to incorporate a sectoral approach, starting with agriculture under the theme: Safe Agriculture.

Sectors like mining, tourism and manufacturing are also expected to follow suit.

– Courtesy of SUMA SYSTEMS.